20 Festivals in Nepal, Diverse and Ancient Traditions

Nepal, with its rich cultural diversity and ancient traditions, hosts a myriad of festivals throughout the year. These festivals, whether big or small, reflect the country’s vibrant spirit and its reverence for natural and divine powers. Here are some of the well-known as well as lesser-known festivals of Nepal:

Well-Known Festivals

  1. Dashain: Dashain is the most significant and longest festival celebrated by Nepalese people. It celebrates the victory of good over evil and lasts for fifteen days, during which the goddess Durga is worshipped, and many people return to their hometowns to spend time with their families.
  2. Tihar (Diwali): Also known as the festival of lights, Tihar is the second most important festival in Nepal. During the five-day festival, people honor crows, dogs, cows, and oxen, with the final day dedicated to the celebration of siblings.
  3. Holi: Known as the festival of colors, Holi is a joyous occasion when people smear each other with color powders, throw water balloons, and celebrate with music, dance, and feasts.
  4. Indra Jatra: This eight-day festival is marked by processions, masked dances, and the raising of a giant wooden pole in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square. The festival is dedicated to Indra, the god of rain.

Lesser-Known Festivals

  1. Gai Jatra: Translating to “Cow Festival”, this festival is dedicated to remembering those who have passed away during the year. The family members of the deceased parade decorated cows or boys dressed as cows through the city, believing that the cows help guide the departed souls in their afterlife journey.
  2. Mha Puja: Celebrated by the Newar community, Mha Puja is the worship of the self. It signifies the purifying, empowering, and honoring of the self and one’s role in society.
  3. Ghode (Horse) Jatra: Held in Tundikhel in Kathmandu, this festival involves a grand horse parade. It was traditionally believed that the clamor of horses’ hooves would keep away the demons that were believed to be living below Tundikhel.
  4. Mani Rimdu: A Sherpa festival in the Everest region, Mani Rimdu is a 19-day sequence of sacred ceremonies and empowerments culminating in a public festival lasting for three days. It’s marked by masked dances and music.

Please remember to verify the dates and current status of these festivals as they may vary year by year and could be affected by current world events or local circumstances.