Festivals of Nepal

The lifestyle of Nepalese people are as varied as the landscape they live in. Modern consumerism flourishes in the upper middle class while traditional hard manual labour is widespread in rural areas. Religion and deep-seated traditions continues to influence everyday life heavily. But everybody seems to enjoy lingering in the sunshine of the chilly winter mornings with a hot cup of tea.

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Nepal’s rich culture comes alive on the occasions of it’s numerous festivals. Most of the festivals are derived from Hinduism, Buddhism, Indigenous traditions or even a conglomeration of all three. Calendar is fairly packed with colourful events all year round. Every celebration has it’s own rituals and ceremonies, ranging from serious sacrifices and mysterious mask dances to days of splashing water and coloured powder on each other. But underneath all the fun and games, there’s usually deep religious and mythological symbolism buried. Their dates are fixed by the position of moon and stars, and so they may come in different months on different years.

Nepal Festival Calendar

Here is a quick list of the main annual festivals of Nepal.

Baishak (April – May)

Nepali calendar new year
Bisket Jatra – Only held in Bhaktapur
Balkumari Jatra – Held in Thimi
Buddha jayanti – this is the day when Buddha was born
Rato Machhendranath – Held in Patan

Jestha (May – June)

Sithinakha – Newari festival held in Newari places

Asadh (June – July)

Shrawan (July – August)

Gathemangal

Bhadra (August – September)

Nag Panchami
Janai Purniam
Gai Jatra
Krishna janmastami – Lord Krishna’s birthday
Teej – Festival celebrated by ladies only

Ashoj (September – October)

Indra Jatra
Eid ul-Fitr – celebrated by muslim community
Dashain – The main festival, it’s on countrywide and lasts for 10 days

Kartik (October – November)

Tihar – Lasts 5 days
Chat puja – Tarai festival

Mangshir (November- December)

Tulsi puja
Balachaturdashi / Sarvicharne – Pashupati, evening. People throw rice on the street to lure out Shiva reincarnated as a deer
Hajj – The Muslim “feast of sacrifice”, held 70 days after Ei

Poush (December – January)

Gurung Losar
Christmas – celebrated by christian community of Nepal.

Magh (January – February)

Magh Sankranti
Tamang Losar
Sri Panchami

Falgun (February – March)

Shivaratri – Pashupati
Sherpa & Tibetan Losar

Chaitra (March – April)

Chaitra Dashain
Seto Machhendranath jatra
Holi

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