Nepal, a country with varying landscapes, rich bio-diversity has a diverse range of cultures. Each cultural community holds their own unique features and traditions. These unique culture and traditions have been followed through centuries. Moreover, each of them bears their own set of belief along with their own festivals to celebrate. Nepal has festivals an almost full year in one or other communities. There inhabit communities in Nepal who have festivals and Jatra most their days. Each day is full of amusement and cultural events.
No wonder Nepal popularizes as the ‘land of festivals’. Not to mention, every day is a celebration for one or other communities. Moreover, the best part of all is one’s pride for one’s own culture along with the respect for the others. Consequently, for this reason, these numerous cultures and festivals harmoniously co-exist in Nepal.
The longest and auspicious festival of Nepal, Dashain marks during the month of late September and early October. About 80% of the people follow Hinduism, for which it acknowledges as a major festival in Nepal. Dashain commemorates a great victory of good over evil. The festival lasts for 15 long days. Ghathasthapana, the first day of the festival marks the beginning of the festival. People worship the Ashta-Matrikas (the 8 Tantrik goddesses) along with the nine avatars of Goddess Durga for the remaining 9 days. On the tenth day, people receive Tika and Jamara along with blessings from their elders and this continues for the remaining five days. The last day of the festival lies on the full moon day, known as ‘Kojagrata’ Purnima. People fly kites and play swings enjoying the festival to its fullest.
Tihar celebrates a week after Dashain. Furthermore, this festival lasts for 5 days long. People celebrate this festival by worshipping crows and dogs on the first two days respectively. On the third day of this festival, people worship cows during the day and observes Dipawali in the evening by worshipping the goddess of wealth-Laxmi. The fourth day, Govardhan Puja celebrates by worshipping oxen. Whereas, the Newar community celebrates this day as ‘Mha: Puja’, known as Newari New Year. Forthwith, Bhai Tika remains as the last day of this festival. This day rejoices the pleasant relationship of the siblings. On this special day, sisters put tika on their brother’s forehead wishing them a long and healthy life. It is also known as the festival of lights. People decorate their houses with colorful lights, oil lamps making the entire place shine brightly.
Lhosar or Losar refers to Tibetan New year. Various Buddhist communities of Nepal celebrate this festival. Different communities celebrate Lhosar at different times of the year. For this reason, there are three Lhosar festivals- Tamu Lhosar, Sonam Lhosar, Gyalbo Lhosar. The Gurung community celebrates Tamu Lhosar; the Tamang and Yolmo community celebrates Sonam Lhosar, whereas Tibetan and Sherpa community celebrates Gyalbo Lhosar. People celebrate by feasting, dancing and warm family gatherings. Also, different traditions are followed that includes reading prayers, cleaning and decorating homes and monasteries, and offering foods to different deities. Hundreds of Tibetans are dressed in a wide variety of beautiful traditional costumes.
Festival of colors, Holi or Fagu Purnima falls between the months of February/March. Hindus celebrate this festival every year on the day of Purnima, the full moon day in the month of Falgun. Moreover, the day supposes to be a celebration of the death of ‘Holika’, someone who tried to kill Vishnu devotee Prahlad. The festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. It revolves around smearing color on each other’s face, splashing waters by throwing water balloons. Hilly region and Terai region celebrates this festival on two different days. On the day of full moon, Hilly region celebrates this festival, whereas Terai region celebrates in on the other day.