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key dates in nepali calendar

Discover the vibrancy of the Nepali calendar through seven essential dates. Celebrate Dashain, Tihar, Buddha Jayanti, Ghode Jatra, Constitution Day, Indra Jatra, and Gai Jatra, each symbolizing unique cultural richness and traditions. Uncover the significance behind these important dates and the colorful festivities they bring!

Key Takeaways

  • Dashain Festival: Symbolizes victory of good over evil with tika and jamara ceremonies.
  • Tihar Festival: Five-day celebration honoring animals and relationships with rituals.
  • Buddha Jayanti: Commemorates birth, enlightenment, and passing of Lord Buddha.
  • Ghode Jatra: Traditional festival showcasing equestrian skills like horse racing.
  • Indra Jatra: Eight-day festival in Kathmandu honoring the god of rain, Lord Indra.

Dashain Festival

Celebrate Dashain, the grandest festival in Nepal, with vibrant colors and joyful gatherings. This auspicious festival, also known as Vijaya Dashami, symbolizes the victory of good over evil. As you prepare for Dashain, homes across Nepal are cleaned and decorated with intricate mandalas called rangoli, made from colorful powders and flowers. The air is filled with the sounds of laughter and happiness as families come together to celebrate.

During Dashain, you'll witness the majestic display of tika and jamara. Elders bless the younger members of the family by applying tika - a mixture of yogurt, rice, and vermillion - on their foreheads, while placing jamara (barley sprouts) as a symbol of prosperity. The exchange of blessings and gifts among relatives strengthens bonds and fosters a sense of unity and love.

As you indulge in the festive feasts, your taste buds will be delighted by a variety of traditional dishes like sel roti, khasi ko masu, and sweets like malpuas. The atmosphere is filled with the aroma of spices and the sizzle of delicacies being prepared with love and devotion.

In the midst of all the celebrations, remember to embrace the spirit of Dashain by forgiving past grievances and starting anew. Let the joy of the festival fill your heart with warmth and compassion towards all beings.

Tihar Festival

As the joyous celebrations of Dashain come to an end, the vibrant festivities of the Tihar Festival await you in Nepal. Tihar, also known as Deepawali or the festival of lights, is a five-day Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm across the country. Each day of Tihar holds special significance and rituals that honor different animals and relationships.

The first day of Tihar is Kag Tihar, where crows are worshipped by offering them food as a way of thanking them for being the messengers. On the second day, Kukur Tihar, dogs are adorned with garlands, tika (vermilion), and worshipped for their loyalty and honesty. The third day is Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja, where cows are decorated and worshipped for their sacred status in Hinduism. Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day.

The fourth day is Govardhan Puja or Goru Tihar, where oxen are worshipped for their role in agriculture. The final day is Bhai Tika, a day dedicated to the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters perform a special puja for their brothers, wishing them long life and prosperity. The Tihar Festival is a time of joy, gratitude, and strengthening relationships with loved ones.

Buddha Jayanti

celebrating buddha s birth

On the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti, devotees around the world commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of Lord Buddha. This day falls on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Baisakh (April-May) and is celebrated with great reverence and enthusiasm. Buddhists participate in various religious activities such as visiting temples, offering prayers, lighting lamps, and chanting hymns to honor the life and teachings of Buddha.

During Buddha Jayanti, devotees often engage in acts of generosity by donating food, clothes, and other necessities to the less fortunate. It's a time for reflection, meditation, and spreading compassion and kindness to all beings. Many people also decorate their homes and temples with colorful prayer flags and flowers to create a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere.

One of the significant rituals performed on Buddha Jayanti is the ceremonial bathing of the baby Prince Siddhartha, symbolizing his birth. This ritual signifies purity, renewal, and the beginning of a new life dedicated to the path of enlightenment. Devotees also listen to discourses on Buddha's teachings and endeavor to incorporate his wisdom into their daily lives.

Ghode Jatra

Indulge in the vibrant festivities of Ghode Jatra, a traditional Nepali festival that showcases a unique blend of culture and equestrian skills. Taking place in Kathmandu, this event is a spectacle of horse racing, acrobatics, and cultural performances. As you join the crowds lining the streets, be prepared to witness the exhilarating sight of skilled riders demonstrating their prowess on horseback.

The origins of Ghode Jatra date back to ancient times when horses were believed to ward off evil spirits. Today, the festival not only celebrates this cultural belief but also serves as a platform for showcasing the equestrian talents of Nepali riders. The event typically falls in March or April and is a significant occasion in the Nepali calendar.

During Ghode Jatra, you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere filled with music, dance, and traditional rituals. The air is filled with excitement as locals and visitors gather to cheer on the participants. Whether you're a horse enthusiast or simply looking to experience a unique cultural event, Ghode Jatra offers a memorable and enthralling experience.

As the thundering hooves of the horses echo through the streets, you can feel the pulse of Nepali tradition and heritage coming alive. So, mark your calendar for Ghode Jatra and witness the thrilling display of equestrian skills intertwined with rich cultural heritage.

Constitution Day

celebrating the u s constitution

Immerse yourself in the commemoration of Constitution Day, a significant event in the Nepali calendar that honors the country's governance framework. Celebrated on September 20th, Constitution Day, also known as 'Sambidhan Diwas,' marks the promulgation of Nepal's new constitution in 2015. This constitution holds immense importance as it represents the culmination of years of struggle and political negotiations.

On this day, various ceremonies, events, and discussions take place nationwide to commemorate the significance of the constitution. It serves as a reminder of Nepal's shift to a federal democratic republic, emphasizing the principles of inclusivity, equality, and democracy enshrined in the document.

Constitution Day isn't only a celebration of the legal document itself but also a reflection of Nepal's dedication to upholding the rule of law and democratic values. It symbolizes the unity and diversity of the Nepali people and their collective aspirations for a just and prosperous nation.

As you participate in the festivities surrounding Constitution Day, take a moment to appreciate the journey that Nepal has undertaken to establish a modern governance framework. Reflect on the challenges overcome and the progress made towards building a more inclusive and democratic society for all Nepalis.

Indra Jatra

Celebrate the vibrant festival of Indra Jatra with fervor and joy in Nepal's rich cultural calendar. This annual event is held in Kathmandu to honor Lord Indra, the god of rain and harvest. The festival usually takes place in September, lasting for eight days. During Indra Jatra, you can witness various religious rituals, cultural performances, and vibrant processions in the streets of the capital.

One of the main highlights of Indra Jatra is the Kumari Jatra, where a young girl representing the living goddess Kumari is paraded through the city. The chariot procession of Kumari, along with other deities, adds a mystical and traditional touch to the festival. As a spectator, you can marvel at the beautifully adorned chariots, traditional music, and masked dances that are performed throughout the celebration.

As the festival progresses, you'll notice masked dancers known as 'Lakhe' entertaining the crowds with their energetic performances. These dancers wearing colorful costumes and impressive masks add a playful and dynamic element to the festivities. Additionally, Indra Jatra provides an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and witness age-old traditions being upheld with zeal and enthusiasm. So, don't miss the chance to be a part of this vibrant and culturally significant festival when you find yourself in Nepal in September.

Gai Jatra

nepalese festival honoring deceased

In Nepal's cultural calendar, Gai Jatra, also known as the Festival of Cows, holds a special significance. This festival, celebrated mainly by the Newar community, takes place in the month of Bhadra (August/September) and lasts for eight days. Gai Jatra is a blend of humor, satire, and traditional beliefs, making it a unique and vibrant celebration.

During Gai Jatra, families who have lost a loved one in the past year participate in a procession with a cow, or a young boy dressed as a cow, to commemorate the deceased and help them find their way to heaven. This procession is believed to ease the journey of the departed souls and bring comfort to the grieving families.

Here is a table highlighting key aspects of the Gai Jatra festival:

AspectDescriptionImportance
DateMonth of Bhadra (August/September)Marks the beginning of the festival
ParticipantsFamilies who have lost a member in the past yearIntegral part of the procession
Cultural SignificanceBlending of humor, satire, and traditional beliefsReflects the diversity of Nepali culture
SymbolismCow or a young boy dressed as a cow representing the deceasedSymbolizes the journey to heaven for the departed souls
DurationEight daysLength of the festival

Conclusion

So next time you're in Nepal, make sure to mark your calendar for these important dates:

Dashain Festival, Tihar Festival, Buddha Jayanti, Ghode Jatra, Constitution Day, Indra Jatra, and Gai Jatra.

From celebrating the triumph of good over evil to honoring the Constitution and paying tribute to loved ones, these events are filled with culture, tradition, and joy.

Don't miss out on experiencing the vibrant spirit of Nepal during these special occasions!

Written by

Sumit Pradhan
Sumit is a Nepaliprenuer, providing the vision and leadership behind Lalmon.com. He is responsible for developing strategies to increase blog readership and engagement.

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