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Nepal Festivals and Jatra

Nepal Festivals and  Jatra's

     Nepal Festivals and Jtra's There are more than 50 major festivals and lots of events in a year celebrated in Nepal. Festivals in Nepal begin with religion, ending as social event. Although most of these festivals are religious some have historical significance, while others are seasonal and legendary celebrations. The dates of most festivals are fixed by famous astrologers after consulting the lunar calendar. The biggest and most popular festivals are: Dashain, a celebration of Goddess Durga victory over evil Mahisashur; and Tihar, a celebration of lights dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.
It is not hard to catch colorful processions in different streets of the Valley almost every other day of the week. Cultural acts of dances and songs are integral parts of some celebrations while some celebrations are just quiet family gatherings. Grand celebrations like Ghode Jatra and Gai Jatra entertain participants and spectators every year.(Such as below.)

New year of Nepal 1st Day of Baishakh (March/April)

Bisket Jatra (April - May)

"Bisyau" jatra meaning the festival celebrated in the memory of slaying of serpents. In the passage of time the term changed from ‘Bisyau’ to Bisket jatra. The festival is celebrated at Bhaktapur, a medieval town from 12th century, still maintained in the same manner and only 13km East of Kathmandu.Since the Bisket begins in the last days of the Nepalese year and ends in the beginning days of the New Year it is regarded as the New year festival as well. During the seven days of the festival chariots of God. Bhairava and Goddess Bhadrakali are pulled with lot of merriment within the town limits. At a place called Lyasinkhel a lyasin or a tall pole is erected with two long embroidered cloths hanging from it. These cloths represent two evil serpents who in the past had troubled the royal family by mysteriouly killing every suitor to the princess at night. Ultimately a brave prince with the blessings of Goddess Bhadrakali came along and killed them even as they appeared from the nostrils of the sleeping princess and began to enlarge themselves. Thus, to show the townspeople the cause of previuos suitors’ death they were hung from the pole and at present the cloths represent them.
Mata Tirtha Snan (Mother's Day) Baisakh (April/May):

This is one of the widely celebrated festivals that falls on the first month, Baisakh (April/May), of the Nepali Year.It is also called Mata Tirtha Aunsi as it falls on a new moon night.
Buddha Jayanti  (May/June):
This day is celebrated to mark the birthday of the Lord Buddha which dates back in about 543 BC.It falls on Jestha Purnima (Full moon night-May/June).
Ghanta Karna Chaturdasi(July/Auguest):
This festival celebrates the exorcism of the mythical demon Ghantakarna.It is also called Gathemangal festival which falls on trayodashi of the month Shrawan (July/August).
Dumji (July):
Dumji Festival is performed by the Tengboche Monks in Tengboche, Namche Bazaar, Khumjung and Pangboche of Khumbu and Junbesi of Solu. The Festival in Namche is the most interesting and popular one among them all. These dates may vary by one or more days as the Tengboche Rinpoche, Abbot of Tengboche Monastery, may alter the schedule depending on local events.
Janai Purnima,Rakshya Bandhan,(July/August)
Janai Purnima is the festival of Sacred Thread.On this day every Hindu ties a sacred thread on the wrist.It is also called Rakshya Bandhan.On this day, there are a big Mela (fair) at Khumbeshwor, Lalitpur,Ridi Bazar,Devghat in Chitwan,Haleshi,Gosiakund etc .It is again on a full moon night.
TansenJatra (August):
The hilltop town of Tansen in central Nepal exults in a week-long festive spree beginning with Janai Purnima, when Hindus change their sacred threads. The next day, Gai Jatra is marked by parading figures of cows made of bamboo and cloth. Ropai Jatra is the rice planting ceremony and participants perform plowing and planting acts on the streets.During Bagh Jatra, actors dressed up like tigers and hunters march through town. Then there are the parades. Images of Ganesh, Bhimsen and Narayan are placed on palanquins and carried around Tansen. The celebrations climax on August 12 with Bhagawati Jatra, the procession of the town's protective goddess.
Bhairav Kumari Jatra(August)
This is one of the major religious celebrations in Dolkha, an historic town in north-eastern Nepal (133 km from Kathmandu off the highway to Tibet). The festival falls on early August; and consists of masked dances that go on non-stop for five days. Escorted by musical bands, dancers representing the deities Bhairav and Kumari and other gods and goddesses swirl and sway through Dolkha, visiting its many temples. On the occasion, devotees also undergo fasting and worship Bhairav and Kumari. The ceremony has a history going back more than five centuries.
Gaijatra Bhadra (August-September.:
The festival of "Gai Jatra" (the procession of cows) which is one of the most popular festivals, is generally celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September).This festival has its roots in the belief that the god of death, Yamaraj, must be feared and hence worshipped.
Taya Macha Bhadra (August-September):
The Taya Macha dance is shown in different parts of Pokhara as part of the Gai Jatra observances. The five dancers, four dressed up as angels and one as a clown, are accompanied by a group of traditional musicians. It is believed that the performance will bring peace to the souls of those who have passed away during the previous year. The festival has its roots in the Kathmandu Valley. It was brought to Pokhara by Newars who migrated here centuries ago.
Tamu Dhee Bhadra (August-September):
Tamu Dhee (also known as Trahonte) is a Gurung holiday (august). Ceremonies are performed to purge the neighborhood of evil spirits and to safeguard one's farm and farm animals from hostile elements. The festival can be observed in Pokhara. Groups of people beating on different kinds of drums form a colorful procession and make house-to-house visits. Participants with their faces smeared with soot and wearing feather headdresses parade through the town to drive away negative influences and ensure peace and security.
Bagh Jatra Bhadra (August-September):
The Bagh Jatra of Pokhara is another cultural baggage brought by Newars from Kathmandu, celebrated in early august. The festival has been celebrated in Pokhara for about 150 years. It expresses the people's joy at their deliverance from a marauding tiger. On the first day, people dress up like hunters and make an appearance accompanied by musical bands. The next day is an interlude devoted to the showing of comic programs. For three days,the hunting party parades through different parts of the town before "slaying" the beast to end the festivities.
Shree Krishna Janmastami Bhadra (August-September):
Sri Krishna Janmastami marks the celebration of the birth of Lord Sri Krishna. This festival is also known as Krishna Jayanti or Janmashtami. Lord Krishna is regarded as the 8th avatar or 'incarnation' of Lord Vishnu.It falls on Saptami of Bhadra (August/September).
Gaura Parva Bhadra (August-September):
Gaura Parva is another celebration honoring Lord Krishna's birthday. It is celebrated in far western Nepal with much gusto for two days (August/September). Apart from the many ceremonies that happen during this festival, it is the occasion for married women to put on the sacred thread. The deuda dance is a major part of the festivities in which participants hold hands and form a circle as they step to traditional music.
Gokarna Aunsi (Father's Day) Bhadra (August-September):
The most auspicious day to honour one's father is Gokarna Aunsi . It falls on the dark fortnight of Bhadra or in August or in early September.It is also known as Kuse Aunsi.
Teej Ko Darkhane Din Bhadra (August-September):
"Teej" is the fasting festival for women. Through this religious fasting, hindu women pray for marital bliss, wellbeing of their spouse and children and purification of their own body and soul. It takes place on Tritiya of Bhadra (August/September).
Indra jatra(Holiday Only in Kathmandu) Bhadra (August-September):
This festival falls in the end of Bhadra (August/September). Both Hindus and Buddhists unite to celebrate the festival of Indra Jatra with great enthusiasm.
Rath YatraBhadra (August-September):
Biratnagar in south-eastern Nepal brings out a spectacular chariot procession to mark Lord Krishna's birthday (August/September). The parade sets out from the Radha Krishna temple and goes around the town. The six-meter tall chariot carries the images of Krishna and his consort Radha and is drawn by hordes of devotees. The annual chariot festival was started in 1932 to commemorate the building of a temple dedicated to Krishna.
Sita Vivaha Panchami:
This festival,commemorating the marriage of Sita to Ram, is particularly celebrated in Janakpur. Each year in Janakpur, idols of Ram and sita are brought out in bright processions and their Hindu wedding ceremony is enacted.
Dashain HolidaysKartik(September-Octber):
During the month of Kartik in the Bikram Sambat calendar (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon.
Tihar Holidays Kartik (octber-November):
Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. In this festival we worship Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth.It heralds the month of Kartik (October/November) starting with Kukur Puja-Narak Chaturdashi.
Maghe Sankranti Magh(January):
Maghe Sankranti is the beginning of the holy month of Magh, usually the mid of January. It brings an end to the ill-omened month of Poush (mid-december) when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. Even if it is considered the coldest day of the year, it marks the coming of warmer weather and better days of health and fortune.
Shree Panchami Magh(January/February):
This festival falls in mid Magh (January/February).It is celebrated as the birthday of Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning. She is the lily-white daughter of Shiva and Durga in spotless white robe and seated in a full-blown lotus.This day is also dedicated to the martyrs of Nepal and hence celebrated as Martyr's Day.
Losar Fagun(February)
Sherpas and Tibetans welcome their New Year with feasts, family visits and dancing. Families don their finest clothes and jewellery and exchange gifts.
Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity, and perform dances at the monasteries. Colorful prayer flags decorate streets and rooftops; the colors seem especially brilliant at the Bouddha and Swayambhu stupas. Crowds of celebrants at Bouddha bring in the New Year by throwing tsampa (roasted barley flour) into the air.
Maha Shiva Ratri  Fagun(February/March):
This day is the celebration dedicated to the Lord Shiva which falls on the Trayodashi of the month Fagun (February/March).
Fagun Purnima (Holi)Fagun(February/March) :
The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated. The festival is of a week. However, it's only the last day that is observed by all with colours.
Ghode Jatra Chaitra (March/April)
Ghode Jatra, the Horse Racing Day falls on Darhsa Shrad Aunsi of the month Chaitra (March/April). A grand horse parade takes place at Tundikhel, the central point of the city reputed to have been in the former days the largest parade ground in Asia.
Shree Ram NawamiChaitra (March/April):
Ram Nawami is celebrated in the mid of Chaitra (March/April) as Lord Ram's Birthday. It is celebrated with much pomp at Janaki temple in Janakpur city, which lies in southern Nepal.
Chaite DasainChaitra (March/April):
Chaite Dasain used to be the original day of the grand Dasain festival (which takes place exactly six months later now), but because people got their stomachs upset after feasting on spicy food during the warm month of Chaitra, the grand celebration was shifted to the cooler season. But the religious fervor is still evident in the celebrations of the day.

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