The best festivals to see in Nepal
Nepal is not only about the breathtaking mountains, serpentine roads, and gorgeous meadows, but also about some vibrant and fun festivals.
The country has people from different parts of India, which makes the festivals of Nepal even more diverse. If you travel to experience the heritage and culture of a country, then you must explore Nepal during one of these grand festivals.
Tihar is one of major festivals in Nepal which is celebrated by Hindu people of the entire country. Tihar occurs just after 21 days of Dashain. You can observe lights everywhere in the country. It is the festival of lights and you can see lights, candles, lanterns lit up everywhere. Tihar is also known as Deepawali or Diwali in the Terai belt of Nepal. Tihar is celebrated for 5 days and every single day has its own religious and cultural importance.
Fagun Purnima or Holi
Holi, Hori or Faguwa is among the most vibrant festivals of Nepal. This festival of colours is celebrated by each year in Nepali community. This is celebrated for two days in Nepal, Fagu Purnima on the first day and holi on the second day in the Terai region. Locals also put ‘Chir’, a bamboo pole, decorated with strips of colourful cloth representing good luck prosperity, indicating the onset of the Holi festival. During Fagu Purnima, people also collect firewood and light bonfire to celebrate the death of Holika, the demon who tried to kill Vishnu. Just like the people of India, Nepalese also celebrate holi in Nepal with dry colours, water sprays, water guns and balloons.
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated as a national festival of Nepal. It was the day when Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini. This day is celebrated with great magnificence, and Buddhists from all around the world come to Nepal to celebrate this day. Buddha Jayanti falls during the last of May or early June and is celebrated with a huge enthusiast at monasteries and Buddhist cultural sites. During Buddha Jayanti, the famous stupas like Boudhanath, Swayambhunath and Lumbini are decorated nicely for celebration and attracting more tourists during this festival which looks stunning.
The Shivaratri Festival honours the Hindu Lord Shiva and is normally held in February or March. Devout Hindus worship at Shiva temples, but around the country (especially in predominantly Hindu areas) an ‘air’ of festivity can be found, as it is the one day of the year when cannabis is not illegal in Nepal. Thousands of sadhus (Hindu holy men) converge at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu to celebrate Shivaratri.
Observed for 15 days, Dashain festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of Nepal. The victory of Goddess Durga over the devil Mahishasura is celebrated during Dashain through worships, feast, fairs and family gatherings. Nepalis also celebrate Dashain festival for the fertility of the land and good harvest. Ghatasthapana is the first day of the festival and the last day is known as Kojagrat Purnima. Seventh day is celebrated with phulpati or sacred flowers and Brahmins carry kalasha with jamara and bamboo stalk from Gorkha to Kathmandu. Animal sacrifices are common on the 8th and 9th day of Dashain, in Nepal. Vijayadashami is celebrated on the 10th day when friends and families meet to exchange greetings and blessings.
Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF)
This annual film festival has been running since 2000 and is always held in Kathmandu in early December. It showcases Nepali and foreign filmmakers whose work focuses on the natural or cultural aspects of mountain communities. It runs for several days, so if you are in the capital during the festival, do not miss out on catching a film or two at KIMFF.