Nepal is diverse in cultural and religious practices. A variety of ethnic groups living in Nepal makes it a country full of festivals throughout the year. Here we have listed different festivals that are celebrated in Nepal during the year from January to December
January to February
Swasthani Puja (Katha): In the Hindu religion there is a book named swasthani brata Katha which was narrated by Kumar (the older son of Lord Shiva and Parvati) about the formation of the Universe. Nepalese start reciting the same swasthani brata Katha on a full moon day of January (Nepali month of Poush) for the whole month till another full moon day. The book is worshiped every day during this period. Some keep fast for the whole month and since the fast is not compulsory some don’t.
February to March
Shiva Ratri is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva. On this day the devotees of Lord Shiva fast for the whole night and day. Hindus perform Shiva Linga puja at the night by washing the Linga, offering Beal leaf, and chanting mantras. In order to give warmth to lord Shiva, the fireplace is placed here and there and also in Temples.
Pashupatinath in Kathmandu has a big significance on Shiva Ratri as Hindu devotees from all over Nepal and India come here. Different types of Sadhus are seen in Pashupatinath during the Shiva Ratri.
Lhosar is celebrated as the start of a new year according to the Tamu calendar. This is the time when family members get together and exchange love and greetings. Gurungs get together in a common place and celebrate Lhosar by rejoicing in various cultural programs. In Kathmandu, Lhosar is celebrated in Tudikhel.
Fagu Purnima also called Holi is celebrated in most of South Asian Countries. It is celebrated for welcoming spring and is a festival of love, color, and friendship. It is celebrated with colors, water, sweets, and music.
People put color in each other, splash water, dance, and roam around in this day. Holi is an interesting festival for foreigners as well. Lots of foreigners are seen enjoying the festival like Nepalis.
March to April
Chaitra Dasain is almost the last festival in Nepali Calendar. It is celebrated for two days. On the first day, it is Ramnawami, and the next day the Dasami. People visit the Temple of Lord Ram and keep fasting on the day of Ram Navami. And on the next day, Lord Durga is worshipped by giving the animal sacrifice. We can see a number of buffalos, goats, chickens,s, and ducks sacrificed in Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Durbar square.
Ghode Jatra is organized on no-moon days. The Nepal Army and Nepal Police perform this parade together in mid-March or early April and it takes place in Tudikhel.
April to May
New Year Day
The New Year in Nepal is on Baisakh 1st according to the Bikram Sambat Calendar. This day is regarded as the national New Year and the official calendar of Nepal starts on this day. People plan fun activities because there is a belief that if this day goes well then the whole year would go well. Nepalese make their New Year resolution on this day and exchange greetings cards and gifts.
July to August
Janai Purnima is a day when a Hindu man changes his Janai. A Hindu man wears a cotton thread along his bare chest the thread is called a Janai and it is worn by him after his “Bratamanda,” all his life. Bratamandha is a ritual carried out for a boy above 7 years of age, born in a Hindu family, for making him devoted to the religion, by teaching him a mantra.
He wears the Janai for the first time in his Bratamandha and he is supposed to wear the Janai throughout his entire life. This day is celebrated by having the Dora around the hand and having Kwati soup.
August to September
Gai Jatra is the festival of Cow. This is mainly celebrated by Newars. Families having a death in the preceding year participates in this Jatra. Gai Jatra is celebrated with humorous acts, comedy, and parody.
Krishnaasthami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. People keep fasting on this day and worship Lord Krishna.
Teej is an important festival for a Hindu woman. On this day a Hindu woman keeps fasting and worships Lord Shiva for the well-being of their husband. They wear red sari, pote, Chura and visit temple and dance for the whole day.
September to October
In Indra Jatra, a thirty-six feet long wooden pole (The Linga (Yasingh)) chosen with great care from the Nala forest in Kavre district east of Kathmandu is displayed. This Jatra is mainly celebrated by Newars. Masked dancers representing deities and demons are the main attraction of Indra Jatra.
Dasain is the main festival of Hindu people. It is celebrated for 15 days. Lord Durga is worshipped throughout the period. New clothes are brought, and delicious foods are prepared. People have Tika, blessings, and some money (Dakshina) from elders. Dasin is also known for family gatherings.
October to November
Tihar is celebrated for 5 days. It is the second main festival of Hindu people after Dasain. In Tihar animals like Crow, cows and dogs are worshipped. And on the final day sisters worship their brothers. The main attraction of Tihar is the Deusi and Bhailo.