Discover the Vibrant Celebration of Nepal Holidays: Exploring the Major Festivals of Nepal

  • Upendra Dawadi
  • Last Updated on Apr 28, 2023

Nepal is a country of diversity, and its festivals reflect the same. The festivals in Nepal are a mix of Hindu and Buddhist traditions and are celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour. The Nepalese calendar is filled with a wide range of festivals, from the grandest to the simplest, all of which have their own significance and uniqueness. The festivals in Nepal are celebrated with great zeal and are a time for families to come together and celebrate. Major Festivals that you would might want to mark your calendar for are:

Table of Contents

Maghe Sankranti (15th January 2023)

The Nepalese system has its own calendar which precedes the Gregorian calendar by almost 57 years and is called the Bikram Sambat (B.S) Calender. As per the B.S calendar, the month of Magh falls on the second half of winter during Mid-January. The starting of the month Magh is what we call Maghe Sankranti.

This festival, particularly the 1st day of Magh marks the end of Winter in Nepal. Scientifically, it marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to nights. It is celebrated with home made delicacies and other dishes like laddoo, ghee and sweet potatoes.

Shiva Ratri ( 18th Feb 2023)

Shiva Ratri also known as the “Great Night of Lord Shiva” and “ Mahashivaratri” is devoted to a prominent Hindu god, Lord Shiva. On this particular day, it is believed by devotees that the stars in the Northern Hemisphere are perfectly aligned to boost their spiritual energy. People from all over India and Nepal come together in Shiva temples to celebrate this festival. The day is marked by fasting, meditating and reciting Lord Shiva's prayers to pay homage to him.There is a huge crowd of devotees that gather at Pashupatinath Temple on the night of Mahashivaratri.

Lhosar ( 21st February 2023)

The festival of Lhosar is the day that marks Tibetan New Year celebrated in and around mid-February in Nepal. Celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan Calender, which corresponds to a date in February or March in the Gregorian Calendar. The Nepalese ethnic communities of Tamang, Gurung and Sherpa celebrate Losar as a vital festival. The term 'Lo' signifies 'age' or 'year,' while 'Sar' represents 'fresh' or ‘new.'

Holi (Fagu Purnima): (8th March 2023)

The festival of Holi in Nepal is known as Fagu Purnima. It falls on the full moon day of the Falgun month, which is the 11th month of the Nepali calendar and usually occurs in February or March. Fagu is named after the Falgun month and Purnima means full moon. Fagu Purnima is a Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of spring and is filled with colors, love, joy, and excitement.

Tiji Festival (16th - 18th May 2023)

TIji Festival is one of the most popular known festival celebrated in the Himalayan kingdom of Mustang. It has been celebrated in the upper section of Mustang district called Lo-Manthang near the Tibetan Border. This festival marks the victory of righteousness over evil. Myth states that, This festival commemorates the victory of Lord Buddha's incarnation Dorjee Sonnu over a demon called Man Tam Ru a vicious creature feeding on human beings and causing storms and droughts. Tiji festival is celebrated for 3 straight days during the month of May annually.

Rice Plantation Festival (30th June 2023)

On the 15th of Asadh according to the Bikram Sambat Calendar, which falls at the end of June, Nepalese people celebrate the Rice Harvesting season. It is a significant day for the farmers as well as others. The traditional dish of 'Dahi Chiura' (Curd and flattened rice) is consumed by many Nepalese, as it is believed to bring good fortune, energy and strength. The day is enjoyed by planting rice seeds, playing with soil, and engaging in jubilant celebrations. Various events are organized where tourists are encouraged to participate and share the joy. Overall, the 15th of Asar is celebrated with immense enthusiasm and passion in Nepal.

Indra Jatra (September 28, 2023)

Indrajatra is considered to be the biggest street festival to be celebrated in Kathmandu Valley. It is a eight-day long festival celebrated with chariot processions, masked dances, lights, colors and living goddess Kumari as the centre of celebration.

A wooden pine pole is erected at Basantapur right in front of Hanuman Dhoka palace on the first which signifies the festival to have begun. Followingly a chariot is taken out from Kumari Ghar in with

Goddess Kumari in it from Basantapur. This procession is accompanied by thousands of spectators at Kathmandu Durbar Square which turns truly vibrant during the occasion.

Dashain: The biggest festival in Nepal( 15th October - 24th October 2023)

Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is the biggest and most important festival in Nepal. It is a 15-day-long festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. The festival is celebrated in the months of September and October and is a time for families to come together and celebrate. The festival starts with Ghatasthapana, where a pot is filled with soil and seeds, and a lamp is lit. This pot is kept in the centre of the house and worshipped for nine days. On the tenth day, which is called Vijaya Dashami, the pot is opened, and the seeds are distributed as prasad.

Dashain is also a time for new clothes, delicious food, and lots of fun and laughter. People fly kites, play cards, and visit their relatives during this time. The festival is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, and people seek forgiveness from their elders and bless the younger ones.

Tihar: The festival of lights( Nov 12 2023)

Tihar, also known as Diwali, is a five-day-long festival that celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. The festival is celebrated in the months of October and November and is a time for families to come together and celebrate. The first day of the festival is Kag Tihar, where crows are worshipped as messengers of the gods. The second day is Kukur Tihar, where dogs are worshipped for their loyalty and friendship.

The third day is Laxmi Puja, where the goddess of wealth is worshipped. On this day, people decorate their houses with lights and flower garlands and prepare delicious food. The fourth day is Govardhan Puja, where cows are worshipped for their importance in Hindu mythology. The fifth and final day is Bhai Tika, where sisters put tika on their brothers' foreheads and bless them with long life and prosperity.

Why you should experience Nepal holidays and festivals

Nepal holidays and festivals are a great way to experience the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. The festivals are a time for families to come together and celebrate, and it is a great way to interact with the locals and understand their customs and traditions. The festivals are a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors, delicious food, and lots of fun and laughter. Tour in Nepal during festivals is one of the best times for your visit.

Nepal is a country of stunning natural beauty, and the festivals provide a great opportunity to explore the country's diverse landscape. The festivals are celebrated all over the country, and each region has its own unique way of celebrating. From the bustling streets of Kathmandu to the serene hills of Pokhara, the festivals provide a great way to explore the country and its people.

Planning your trip to Nepal during festival season

If you are planning a trip to Nepal during the festival season, it is important to plan your trip well in advance. The festival season usually falls between September and November, and it is a peak tourist season. It is advisable to book your flights and accommodation well in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.

During the festival season, the streets are crowded, and transportation can be difficult, so it is important to plan your itinerary accordingly. It is also advisable to hire a local guide who can help you navigate through the streets and understand the customs and traditions.

Cultural Dos and Don'ts during Nepali Festivals

When visiting Nepal during the festival season, it is important to respect the local customs and traditions. Here are some cultural dos and don'ts that you should keep in mind:

  • Do dress modestly and cover your shoulders and legs.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering temples and houses.
  • Do ask for permission before taking photographs of people.
  • Don't eat beef, as cows are considered sacred in Hinduism.
  • Don't touch or step over offerings that are placed on the ground.

Conclusion: Embrace the vibrancy of Nepal holidays

Nepal holidays and festivals are a great way to experience the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. The festivals are a time for families to come together and celebrate, and it is a great way to interact with the locals and understand their customs and traditions. With its stunning natural beauty and colourful festivals, Nepal is a country that should be on every traveller's bucket list. So, pack your bags and head to Nepal to experience the vibrant celebration of Nepal holidays.


Upendra Dawadi

Upendra Dawadi

Mr. Dawadi is in the field of Nepalese Tourism for more than a decade. He is an expert travel planner and a good listener. Also, he is considered as a best suggestion provider amongst various routes in the destination and many more other visiting.

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