Festivals in Nepal for 2024

WhatsApp Image 2024 02 21 at 12.56.17 1Nepal is not only a place that is famous for its high Himalayas & mountains. It is also well known for the land of fares and festivals as well. Nepal is home to a diverse community (we have 125 different tribal groups who speak 123 different languages), in terms of ethnicity, religion, dialect, and culture. Because of the variation in language, culture, and ethnicity of people living in Nepal, people in Nepal have their traditions and festivals. In Nepal, more than 65 festivals are celebrated every year. In such a culturally diverse country, where the festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm, making a holiday plan at this festival will make your trip the most remarkable.

Festival tours in Nepal are very interesting for understanding the diverse culture and customs of Nepalese community. There are hundreds of diverse festivals in Nepal. That’s why Nepal has been called as “city of temples”, “City of Gods”“the land of festivals” that are a living part of cultural heritage. The religious festivals of Nepal follow the lunar calendar but the national festivals have fixed dates like ‘Eid and others.

Nepal is also very popular for its different cultures, traditions, and religious festivals. Also, it is well-known for its Himalayas. More than 65 festivals are celebrated in Nepal each year with great enthusiasm & participation. In Nepal, all the events are celebrated with the same happy faces and with large numbers of people – the way it used to be hundreds of years ago when people had no other means of entertainment. Even today festivals are not only yearly wonders but also are living part of the amusing cultural heritage. Celebrating festivals effectually bonds those having diverse cultural backgrounds together. This is also one of the opportunities to share their social lives, sharing one another happiness. Even though most of these festivals or these ceremonies are religious some have historical importance too. Most Nepalese festivals are related to different Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. They are celebrated on such days heavenly for them by these festivals.

Nepal Festival Tour gives us a vision of the rich cultural spirit that is celebrated full of life, colors, and interest in a sparkling environment. These festivals also remind you of the regional, cultural, and traditional diversity of Nepal which grasps the great position of local Nepalese people.

Festivals involve all your sanities, with their noise, colors, smells, and tastes the variety, the fun, and the naturalness are part of the whole experience. Our Festival Tours is not only partial to having fun and entertainment, but it is also a great opportunity to learn the cultural importance of Nepalese. It would be something new, something different, fun, and learning chances for you making the Nepal festival tour with Nepal Tours a great visiting experience.

Note: festival in Nepal depends on the lunar calendar so every year date of the festivals & celebrations will be changed

Maghe Sankranti 15th of January 2024

Maghe Sankranti is a significant festival in Nepal, occurring in mid-January. It marks the beginning of the holy month of Magh in the Nepali calendar and the end of the winter harvest season. People take holy baths, offer prayers to the Sun God, and make offerings to ancestors. Families gather to enjoy special dishes, fly kites, and engage in social gatherings. The festival symbolizes renewal, gratitude, and community bonding, making it an integral part of Nepali culture

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Sonam Lhosar 10th February 2024

Sonam Lhosar is a vibrant festival celebrated by the Tamang community in Nepal. It marks the beginning of the Tamang New Year, usually occurring in February. The festival is characterized by colorful rituals, traditional dances, and feasting. People wear traditional attire, exchange gifts, and visit monasteries to offer prayers and seek blessings for the coming year. Sonam Lhosar is a time of joy, unity, and cultural preservation for the Tamang community, reflecting their rich heritage and traditions.

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Basanta Panchami/ Saraswati Puja 14th February 2024

Basanta Panchami, also known as Shree(Rishi) Panchami, is a festival celebrated in Nepal to mark the arrival of spring. It usually falls in late January or early February. The festival is dedicated to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, and learning. People, especially students, worship Saraswati to seek her blessings for wisdom, knowledge, and success in education and the arts. Schools, colleges, and universities organize special events, prayers, and Saraswati Puja ceremonies. Yellow is the predominant color of Basanta Panchami, symbolizing the vibrancy of spring and the auspiciousness of the occasion. It’s a time of cultural enrichment, as people celebrate the onset of spring with music, dance, and educational activities.

Saraswati Puja, which coincides with Basanta Panchami, is specifically dedicated to the worship of Saraswati. Devotees set up elaborate altars adorned with books, musical instruments, and images of the goddess. They offer flowers, fruits, sweets, and incense to Saraswati and seek her blessings for academic success and creativity. Saraswati Puja is particularly significant for students and artists, who regard the goddess as the source of inspiration and knowledge. It’s a time of reverence, learning, and celebration, reflecting the cultural and spiritual significance of Saraswati in Nepali society.

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Mahashivaratri 8th March 2024

Maha Shivaratri is one of the most significant Hindu festivals celebrated in Nepal and other parts of the world. It falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which usually occurs in February or March.

During Mahashivaratri, devotees honor Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. The festival holds immense spiritual significance as it symbolizes the overcoming of darkness and ignorance by the divine light of Shiva’s consciousness.

In Nepal, devotees flock to Shiva temples, particularly the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, which is considered one of the holiest shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. They observe fasting, perform rituals, and offer prayers to Shiva throughout the night. The temple complex comes alive with the sound of bells, chanting of prayers, and the fragrance of incense.

Mahashivaratri is also a time for spiritual introspection and seeking blessings for inner peace, prosperity, and liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Devotees believe that observing Mahashivaratri with sincerity and devotion can bring blessings and fulfillment of wishes.

The festival is not only a religious event but also a cultural celebration where people come together to celebrate their faith, share joyous moments, and strengthen community bonds. It transcends barriers of caste, creed, and nationality, uniting people in devotion and reverence towards Lord Shiva

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Gyalpo Lhosar 11th March 2024

Gyalpo Lhosar is a prominent festival celebrated by the Tibetan community in Nepal, particularly by the Sherpa and Tamang ethnic groups. It marks the beginning of the Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, which usually falls in February or March. Gyalpo Lhosar is a time of vibrant cultural festivities, traditional rituals, and community gatherings. People wear colorful traditional attire, offer prayers at monasteries, and perform special dances and music to usher in the new year. The festival symbolizes the renewal of life, the triumph of good over evil, and the strengthening of community bonds. Gyalpo Lhosar is characterized by rituals that involve purification, offerings to deities, and blessings for prosperity, health, and happiness in the coming year. It’s a cherished occasion for the Tibetan community in Nepal, reflecting their rich cultural heritage and spiritual traditions.

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Holi festival (Fagu Poornima) 24th March 2024

 Holi, known as the “Festival of Colors,” is celebrated with much enthusiasm and joy in Nepal. It usually falls in March, marking the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. The festival is characterized by vibrant colors, music, dance, and a spirit of camaraderie.

During Holi, people gather to play with colors, smearing each other with brightly colored powders and water. It’s a time when social barriers are temporarily forgotten, and people from all walks of life come together to celebrate. The festival also involves singing traditional songs, dancing, and indulging in festive foods and drinks.

In addition to the playful aspect, Holi carries cultural and religious significance. It symbolizes the triumph of righteousness over evil, as depicted in the legend of Holika and Prahlad from Hindu mythology. Many communities also perform rituals and prayers, seeking blessings for prosperity, happiness, and the well-being of loved ones.

Holi in Nepal is a time for merriment, forgiveness, and renewal of relationships. It fosters a sense of unity and harmony among people of diverse backgrounds, making it one of the most beloved festivals in the country.

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Ghode Jatra (Horse Riding Festival) 8Th of April 2024

Traditionally on the 15th of Chait, all horses and ponies belonging to government servants were assembled at the grand parade ground and entered into a race in front of the king and top officials who are stationed around a central monument. The monument bore Sir Jung Bahadur’s statue. After the event, gambling is allowed for two days and nights and the festival ends with an illumination of the monument. In 1875, Bahadur’s statue and four dragon monuments were moved into a newly built temple in his honor, hence the location of the festival was moved.

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Nepali New Year 13th April 2024

Nepal New Year, celebrated in mid-April, marks the beginning of the Nepali lunar calendar. It’s a time for cultural traditions, family gatherings, and community festivities. People clean and decorate homes, offer prayers at temples, and engage in cultural events. Families come together for festive meals, music, and dance, strengthening bonds. Street processions and parades showcase Nepal’s rich cultural heritage. Food plays a central role, with traditional delicacies shared among loved ones. Nepal New Year embodies renewal, hope, and cultural pride, uniting people in celebration of a fresh start.

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Bisket Jatra 13th April 2024

Bisket Jatra, the biggest festival of Bhaktapur, begins with the pulling of the chariot of Lord Bhairavnath on the premises of the five-storied Nyatapola temple. The festival commences at the start of the Nepali New Year. Hundreds of locals from either side of the Taumadi begin the Jatra by pulling the three-storied pagoda-style chariot. Thousands of people, including foreigners, enjoy the Jatra. The Bisket Jatra festival is celebrated for eight nights and nine days.

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Rato Machindranath (Chariot festival in Patan) 18th April 2024

The Rato Machindra Nath Festival is a significant religious and cultural event celebrated in Nepal, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley. It is dedicated to the deity Rato Machindranath, also known as Bunga Dyah, who is believed to be the god of rain and prosperity.

The festival typically occurs during April and May and lasts for several weeks. It begins with the erection of a towering wooden chariot, adorned with colorful decorations, at the Pulchowk area in Lalitpur. The chariot is then pulled through the streets of Lalitpur and Kathmandu by devotees using ropes.

The main highlight of the festival is the chariot procession, during which devotees gather to pull the chariot through narrow alleys and bustling streets. The procession is accompanied by traditional music, dances, and rituals performed by priests and devotees.

The Rato Machindranath Festival is a time of great excitement and community bonding, as people from various backgrounds come together to participate in the celebrations. It is believed that the festival brings blessings of rain, fertility, and prosperity to the region.

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Buddha Jayanti  (Ubhauli) 23rd May 2024

In Nepal, the birthday of Buddha (Buddha Jayanti) is of special significance to many because Nepal is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. Buddhists in Nepal celebrate Buddha Jayanti on the full moon day in the Buddhist month of Baishakh (May). Buddha Jayanti is a special day for both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal. On this occasion, people celebrate the life of Lord Buddha

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Janai Purnima(Rakshya Bandhan) 19th August 2024

Janai Purnima is a significant festival in Nepal, celebrated in July or August. It involves the sacred thread ceremony, where Hindu men change their Janai threads for protection and purity. The day following Janai Purnima is Rishi Panchami, dedicated to honoring the Seven Sages and seeking forgiveness for past sins. Families perform rituals, visit temples, and exchange Rakhi threads to strengthen bonds. Pilgrimages to sacred sites are common during this time. Janai Purnima/Raksha Bandhan/Rishi Panchami embodies values of protection, purity, forgiveness, and familial love in Nepali Hindu culture.

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People in Pashupatinath Area gather to get Raksha Bandhan tied around their wrists on the occasion of Janai Purnima on Thursday, August 18, 2016. Photo Rajesh Gurung

Gai Jatra (cow festival) 20th August 2024

Gai means a cow and Jatra is a procession. Gai Jatra falls in the Nepali month of Bhadra (between July and August). This festival is celebrated with dancing, singing, and comedy that cause mirth and laughter. Gai Jatra festival is most popular among Newar people throughout the country. Newar people who had died in their families in the last year organized the Gai Jatra procession led by a cow. In the cities where there were no cows, young boys dressed up and decorated themselves as cow used to substitute the cows. Nowadays leading a Gai Jatra procession by young kids dressed up funnily has begun a tradition. Families, relatives, and friends of the host family participate in the Gai Jatra celebration.

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Krishna Janmasthami 26th September 2024

Krishna Janmashtami, celebrated in Nepal and worldwide, marks the birth of Lord Krishna, a revered deity in Hinduism. It falls in August or September, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. In Nepal, devotees observe fasting, perform prayers, sing bhajans (devotional songs), and engage in lively celebrations. Temples, especially those dedicated to Lord Krishna, host special events and elaborate rituals. The festival symbolizes devotion, spirituality, and the victory of good over evil. It is a time of joyous festivities, cultural performances, and religious fervor, bringing communities together to honor Lord Krishna’s divine presence and teachings.

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Teej (Hariyali/ Haritalika) 6th September 2024

Teej is a joyous festival celebrated primarily by Hindu women in Nepal, usually falling in August or September. It’s dedicated to the goddess Parvati, symbolizing devotion, marital bliss, and the union of Shiva and Parvati.

During Teej, women observe a day-long fast, praying for the well-being and longevity of their husbands or for the ideal husband if unmarried. The festival is marked by vibrant gatherings where women dress in red sarees, sing traditional songs, and dance to folk tunes. They visit temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati to offer prayers and seek blessings.

The fasting day concludes with grand feasts where women break their fasts by consuming delicious traditional dishes like “dar” (rice pudding) and “kakro” (a sweet dish made from flour and sugar). Teej is also a time for socializing, strengthening bonds among women, and sharing experiences.

The festival reflects the cultural richness of Nepal, emphasizing love, devotion, and the importance of marital harmony. Teej celebrations are filled with energy, color, and spiritual fervor, making it one of the most cherished festivals in Nepali society.

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Indra Jatra 17th September 2024

The eight-day-long Indra Jatra festival falls in September and is one of the most exciting and revered festivals of the Newari community of the Kathmandu Valley.  This also marks the beginning of a month-long festival season of autumn. It begins with the erection of a wooden pole made of pine at Basantapur Square in front of the old Hanuman Dhoka Palace.

For the pole-raising ceremony, hundreds of spectators gather at the Palace Square and in the surrounding temples. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in a procession through the main streets of Kathmandu. Masked dancers known as Lakhay take to the streets almost every evening accompanied by loud drums. The festival commemorates the time when Indra came down from heaven in human form to look for an herb.

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Jitiya Parva 25th September 2024

Jitiya, also known as Jivitputrika, is a traditional festival celebrated by Hindu women in Nepal, particularly in the Mithila region, which usually falls in September or October. The festival is dedicated to the well-being and longevity of their children, especially sons.

During Jitiya, mothers observe a day-long fast without water, known as “Nirjala Vrata,” for the prosperity and good health of their children. The fast is broken only after the sighting of the moon. Women perform various rituals, including bathing in holy rivers, offering prayers to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Parvati, and seeking their blessings for their children’s welfare.

Jitiya is marked by cultural rituals and customs passed down through generations. Families come together to celebrate, offering traditional foods and sweets to honor the occasion. The festival reflects the deep-rooted beliefs and traditions surrounding maternal love and the well-being of children in Nepali society.

Overall, Jitiya is a significant festival that highlights the maternal bond and the importance of family values in Nepali culture.

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Tharu people come together at the Nepal Tourism Board in Kathmandu to celebrate Jitiya Pawain.

Dashain 10th 11th 12th October 2024

Dashain is the most celebrated and longest Hindu festival in Nepal, spanning 15 days, usually occurring in September or October. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is dedicated to Goddess Durga, the slayer of demons.

During Dashain, families reunite, and homes are cleaned and decorated. People visit temples, offer prayers, and receive blessings from elders. The festival is marked by the flying of kites, playing traditional games, and feasting on delicious meals.

One of the highlights of Dashain is the tika ceremony, where elders apply vermilion paste and rice grains to the foreheads of younger family members as a blessing for prosperity and success.

Dashain is a time of joy, reunion, and cultural richness, where communities come together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life. It holds deep significance in Nepali culture and fosters a sense of unity and harmony among people of all backgrounds.

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Fulpati, Maha Nahami, Dashami

Dashain Festival is one of the most important and longest Hindu festivals which is celebrated all over Nepal delightfully. This festival usually falls in September or October and is celebrated for 15 days. It starts from the bright lunar fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and ends on the day of the full moon (Poornima) according to the Nepalese annual calendar. Hindus’ greatest festival, Dashain honors a great conquest of the gods over the evil demons. The symbol of power, Goddess Durga is worshiped during this festival.

Gorakhkali Puja 24th October 2024

Gorakh Kali Puja is a significant religious observance celebrated primarily in Nepal, particularly among the Newar community, who follow a unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism. The festival venerates Gorakhnath, a revered saint of the Nath tradition, and Kali, the Hindu goddess of power and destruction.

During Gorakh Kali Puja, devotees pay homage to Gorakhnath and Kali through rituals, prayers, and offerings. The festival typically involves colorful processions, traditional music, and dance performances, creating a vibrant atmosphere in Nepali towns and cities.

Devotees believe that participating in Gorakh Kali Puja brings blessings, protection, and spiritual fulfillment. The festival serves as a cultural expression of faith, unity, and reverence for the divine, reflecting the religious diversity and richness of Nepali society.

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Tihar (Deepawali) 31st October, 2nd November & 3rd November 2024

Tihar festival is a time of lights and glitter decorations, fancy sweets, and juicy fruits. The celebrations begin with the adoration of crows and dogs. Leaf dishes of rice, incense, and light are set out for the dark messenger, while dogs are worshiped and offered goodies. In the period of Tihar Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth is worshipped. Rows of lamps are placed on windows and doors, with the strong hope that Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, is worshipped. Rows of lamps are placed on windows and doors, with the strong hope that Laxmi pleased to reside in the light. The following day belongs to the cow, representative of Laxmi. Laxmi Puja, Gobardhan Puja, and Bhai Tika are the series of an event under Tihar. On the day of Bhai Tika sisters and brothers get together and accept Tika from each other. This day is called Brothers’ Day. Brothers and sisters honor each other on this day and sisters pray to Yama, the God of Death, for their brothers’ progress, prosperity, and longevity.

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Chhat 7th November 2024

Chhath Puja is a significant festival observed primarily in the Terai region of Southern Nepal, particularly by the Maithili-speaking community. It usually falls in October or November, six days after Diwali, the festival of lights.

Chhath Puja is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, Surya, and his consort Usha, seeking blessings for prosperity, well-being, and longevity. Devotees observe rigorous rituals that include fasting, taking holy dips in rivers, offering prayers, and making offerings of fruits, sweets, and other traditional delicacies.

The festival spans four days and is marked by elaborate preparations, including the cleaning and decoration of homes and ghats (riverbanks). Women, known as “Vratis,” observe strict fasting and perform rituals, often accompanied by family members and relatives.

Chhath Puja holds deep cultural and spiritual significance, reflecting reverence for nature and the Sun as the source of life and energy. It fosters community bonds and strengthens familial ties as devotees come together to celebrate and seek divine blessings.

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Nepali women hold coconuts and offer prayers to the setting sun on the banks of the Bagmati River during the Chhath Puja festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017.

Guru Nayak Jyanti(sikh festival) 15th November 2024

Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab, is a significant Sikh festival celebrated in Nepal and worldwide to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. It falls in November and is marked by prayers, hymn recitals, processions, and community service. Devotees visit gurdwaras, offer prayers, and engage in langar, the community kitchen where free meals are served to all, regardless of caste, creed, or religion. Guru Nanak Jayanti embodies the values of equality, compassion, and unity, reflecting the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

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Dattarys Jayanti 14th December 2024

Dattatreya Jayanti is a significant Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal, honoring Lord Dattatreya, who is considered an incarnation of the divine trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. It typically falls in December or January and is marked by special prayers, rituals, and devotional offerings to Lord Dattatreya. Devotees visit temples dedicated to Lord Dattatreya, seeking blessings for spiritual enlightenment, wisdom, and fulfillment. The festival underscores the belief in the divine presence and teachings of Lord Dattatreya, emphasizing the path of righteousness and spiritual growth in Nepali Hindu culture.

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Udhauli, Yomari Punhi, Gadhimai mela 15th December 2024

Udhauli:

Udhauli is a traditional festival celebrated by the Kirati communities, particularly the Rai and Limbu ethnic groups in Nepal. It typically falls in November or December, marking the migration of the indigenous communities from high-altitude regions to warmer areas for the winter. The festival is characterized by cultural rituals, dances, and feasts, symbolizing the preservation of traditional practices and the connection to nature.

 

Yomari Punhi:

Yomari Punhi is a Newar festival celebrated in Nepal, particularly in the Kathmandu Valley, during the full moon day of December. The festival revolves around the consumption of “yomari,” a sweet delicacy made of rice flour dough filled with molasses or sesame seeds. It symbolizes the offering of the first harvest of the season to the gods and is accompanied by cultural performances, rituals, and community gatherings.

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Gadhimai Mela:

Gadhimai Mela is a large-scale Hindu festival held every five years at the Gadhimai Temple in Bara District, Nepal. It is known for the controversial Gadhimai animal sacrifice, where thousands of animals, including water buffaloes, goats, and chickens, are ritually slaughtered as offerings to the goddess Gadhimai. The festival attracts devotees from Nepal and India who believe that sacrifices bring blessings and fulfillment of wishes. However, in recent years, there has been widespread criticism and efforts to discourage the ritualistic slaughter of animals, leading to significant changes in the festival’s practices.

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