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.
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.
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.
of Festivals & Tourism Events in Nepal
(Click on festival name to
have detail informations of it)
The Swasthani Festival takes
place between January and February. The Goddess
Swasthani's three eyes burn like the sun. She
is the ultimate giver of gifts although if insulted,
she can make life miserable.
By worshipping Swasthani, Parbati attained Lord
Shiva as her husband. In the worship rites of
Swasthani (as set out by Parbati) the Swasthani
Scripture is read every evening for one month.
Worshipping Swasthani is believed to remove
curses, unite parted relatives and could result
in limitless gifts.
Sankranti (Jan - Feb)
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.
This day is said to be the most significant
day for holy bathing despite the weather. This
ritual usually takes place at the union of sacred
rivers and streams. Sankhamole, on the banks
of the holy Bagmati River, below Patan, is thought
to be amongst the most sacred sites for this
purpose, though there has been a decline in
the fulfillment of this ritual in the recent
years due to water pollution in the river. But
people still go in the wee hours of dawn just
to sprinkle themselves with the water. They
pay homage to various deities specially the
temple of Red Machhendranath and Agnimata.
addition to holy bathing and worship of shrines,
certain auspicious foods like till laddoos (sea
same seeds ball cakes), chaku (molasys), ghee
(clarified butter), sweet potatoes, khichari
(mixture of rice and lentils) and green leaf
spinach are taken on this day. Families come
together and share these delights. Married daughters
and families are invited to parental homes for
festivities and blessings. Yet another occasion
to renew family ties. Many homes have pujas
(religious ceremonies) conducted by priests
with chanting from holy books, for which they
any other holy celebration Maghi Sankranti also
has a legend of its own. It recalls that once
a merchant from the town of Bhadgoan despite
of his thriving business noticed that his supply
of sea same seeds hadn't diminished. When looking
into the matter he found an idol of the Lord
Vishnu hidden deep beneath the seeds. Since,
then on this day the Til Mahadev idol is worshipped
with the belief that god will continue to be
generous in the supply of food and wealth on
the Bhadgoan community. It's also the day commemorating
the death of Viswapitamaha, the elderly grandfather
of two families of Pandavas and Kauravas, between
whom the famous battle of Mahabharata took place.
He was determined not to die until the way to
the region of gods opened. While lying on the
bed of arrows he discovered words of wisdom
on life and death. Eventually, through his free
will he succumbed to death. Hence it's believed
that those who die on this day go to heaven,
released from the burden of rebirth. Maghi Sankranti
is yet another occasion which renews the faith
of Nepalese people in the heavenly powers.
Puja (Jan - Feb)
Puja or Shree Panchami is a day to celebrate
the birthday of Saraswati – the Goddess
of Learning. This is a day when people from
school students to scholars worship their pens
and books to please the Goddess and expect her
favor in their studies so they become wise and
People also throng around the idol of Goddess
Saraswati, especially in Swayambhunath and offer
flowers, sweets, fruits, etc. On this day, small
children are taught to read and write and people
write on the stones and slabs with chalks and
pencils. This day falls between January/February
which is regarded as a very auspicious day for
marriages too as it is believed that Goddess
Saraswati herself blesses the couples. Normally
it is the astrologers who fix the marriage date
and time in Nepal.
is the New Year of the Tibetans and Sherpa of
Nepal which falls in the month of January, February.
The Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu like Boudhanath
and Swayambhunath are decorated with eye catching
colorful prayer flags pulling the crowd. The
people perform their traditional dances and
welcome their New Year with feasts and family
gatherings wearing all the new clothes and finest
jewelries and exchanging gifts. These dances
can also be seen in Khumbu, Helambu and other
northern regions on Nepal.
/ Maha Shivaratri (Feb - March)
or the night of Lord Shiva that falls sometime
between February/March is one of the major festivals
of Nepal. This day is dedicated to the Lord
of the Lords – Lord Shiva or Mahadev ho
lived in Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas. Lord
Shiva is the most worshipped God in the Hindu
religion. More than 100,000 of Hindu devotees
from India and Southeast Asia throng weeks ahead
of the festival and gather in and around Pashupatinath
temple – one of the holiest shrines of
the Hindus in Kathmandu to pay their homage
to Lord Shiva on his birthday. “Pashupatinath”
literally means “the Lord of animals”
as Lord Shiva is considered as the guardian
and protector of everything that exists in the
Nepal. On this holy day, worshippers take dip
and bath in the holy river at early dawn and
fast for the whole day and stay around fire
to keep them warm as it is still winter in Nepal.
In the afternoon an official function is held
to celebrate this festival at Tundikhel. The
Nepal Army organises a show in which series
of gun fire are sounded. The devotees also freely
indulge in using marijuana and other intoxicating
substances as these things are believed to please
Lord Shiva and marijuana use is legal only on
this sacred day.
Purnima / Holi (Feb - March)
festival of water and colors that falls between
February/March is also known as “Fagu”
in Nepal. This day is observed to rejoice the
extermination of female demon Holika who together
with her King Brother conspired to kill his
son Pralhad, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.
This day, playful people especially the young
ones wander through the streets in groups on
foot or vehicles with various colors smeared
all over them and the people in houses make
merry throwing colors and water balloons at
each other and also to these people on the streets.
Machhendranath Snan (Jan.)
Sweta (or white) Machhendranath festival takes
place during a week each January. The image
of Sweta Machhendranath is bathed, oiled, perfumed
and painted. The living goddess Kumari visits
him at his elaborate temple near Ason Tol.
If Sweta Machhendranath is pleased by the music,
offerings and attentions paid by his devotees,
the people of the Kathmandu Valley can look
forward to satisfactory rainfall during the
Jatra (Festival of Horses, March - April)
horse racing festival takes place between March/April
and a grand horse parade takes place at Tundikhel.
Although this festival does not have much of
religious aspects, a large number of people,
even from outside Kathmandu flock around Kathmandu
to witness the horse race and other exciting
sports activities performed by the Army.
relate that this horse festival was begun after
the Kathmandu people buried a demon under the
soil of Tudikhel show grounds. They say that
he may rise again and cause worry to the world
if horses do not trample him on each year. So,
every spring, this victory over evil is celebrated
in the valley by organizing palanquin process
and a fantastic display of show jumping, motorcycling
feats and gymnastics.
known as small Dasain, in contrast with big
Dasain in the month of Kartik, this Festival
is celebrated on the eighth day of the lunar
month of Chaitra and takes place exactly six
month prior to the main Dasain. Goddess Durga
is worshipped on this day.
Chaitie Dasain festival also is the time to
start Seto (White) Machhendra Nath Chariot festival.
The festival starts with removing the image
from the Temple at Kel tole and placing it on
a towering wooden chariot or Rath. For the next
four evenings the chariot proceeds from one
historic location to another location, eventually
arriving at Lagan tole in the south of Kathmandu-
the place of mother of Machhendra Nath.
the image is taken down from chariot and carried
back to its starting point in palanquin.
Nawami is celebrated as Lord Ram's Birthday
and festival to worship Lord Ram. It is celebrated
with much pomp at Janaki temple in Janakpur
city, which lies in southern Nepal. Huge processions
of elephants, bullock carts and sometimes up
to 100,000 pilgrims go through the city, dancing
and singing the lord's praises. In Kathmandu
many people go to the temples to pay homage
to Ram, while symposiums are held to exalt the
ideal life he lived. In Bhaktapur, the neighboring
town of Kathmandu, the people go to the banks
of the river Hanumante, where a temple bearing
the idols of Ram and his loyal servant Hanuman
is situated. Thus, Ram Nawami is celebrated
throughout the great fanfare.
(Nepali New Year, April - May)
has its official calendar that begins from the
first day of the first month Baishak. It is
known as "Navavarsha" in Nepal. This
very first day is observed as Nepali New Year
which usually falls in the first/second week
of April. People go for picnics, have get-togethers
and celebrate the day socializing in various
ways as this day is also a national holiday.
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
Jayanti (April - May)
birth anniversary is celebrated every year during
full moon day of May in Nepal. On this day people
swarm in Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Patan
to pay homage to Lord Buddha and also visit
Buddha's birth place in Lumbini and chant prayers
and burn butter lamps. Lord Buddha was born
as Prince Siddhartha Gautam but he abandoned
his luxurious life when he realized the misery
of mankind and went in search of enlightenment.
Machhendranath Rath Jatra (April - May)
festival is the biggest socio - cultural event
of Patan. The wheeled chariot of deity known
as Bungdyo or Red Machhendranath is made at
Pulchowk and dragged through the city of Patan
is several stages till in reaches the appointed
destination. The grand finale of the festival
is called the Bhoto Dekhaune or the showing
of a vest” A similar kind of chariot festival
to Machhendranath is also held in Kathmandu
city in the month of March April.
Aunsi (Father's day)
Nepali religion, tradition and culture hold
a lot of reverence for a father. He is considered
the pillar of strength, respect and support
of a family. The most auspicious day to honor
one's father is Gokarna Aunsi. It falls on the
dark fortnight in August or in early September.
A day when children show their gratitude and
appreciation for his guidance and teachings
in life. Sons and daughters, near or far, come
with presents and confections to spend the day
with their fathers. Children spend their hoarded
coins on presents, which expresses honor and
love in their own special ways. The streets
are a happy scene with married daughters scene
of married daughters on their way to their parents'
home with delicacies. After the offering of
gifts, they touch their father's feet with their
foreheads, this act of veneration is done by
the sons only , the daughters touch the hand.
The ceremony is also known as "looking
upon father's face".
People with or without fathers worship the Gokarneswor
Mahadev on this day. It is a sacred shrine of
lord Shiva, renowned for his singularly close
communion with the souls of dead. The shrine
lies in Gokarna village, five miles east of
Kathmandu. The fatherless people honor the memory
of their fathers and promote welfare of his
Mythology has placed the Gokarna shrine in prehistoric
times when Lord Shiva hid himself in the Pashupatinath
forest, disguised as a one-horned golden deer,
from the gods and mankind. While he spent his
days frolicking, the world suffered so Lord
Vishnu, the preserver, Lord Brahma, the creator
and Lord Indra, the king of Gods, took matters
into their hands and searched for him. Finally
a goddess revealed Shiva's disguise. So when
they finally caught the deer by the horn, it
burst into fragments and Shiva revealed himself.
He asked the other three gods to establish his
horn in their three worlds. So, Vishnu installed
his section in his abode in Vaikuntha, Indra
in his realm in heaven and Brahma enshrined
it at the sacred site of Gokarneshwor. The following
day the gods and goddesses descended and bathed
in Bagmati River, paid homage to Shiva and established
the present day tradition of ancestor worship
Gokarna Aunsi is yet another festival in the
continuous procession of holy days, wherein
homage is paid deities and the bonds of family
and kinship is renewed and strengthened.
Teechi (also pronounced “Teeji”)
festival is an annual event indigenous to Lo-Manthang
(Upper Mustang). The name is an abbreviation
of the word “Tempa Chirim” which
translates as “Prayer for World Peace”.
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
Teeji festival usually takes place during the
last week of May and last for 3 days. Dances
performed by the monks of Lo Manthang’s
“choedhe” monastery during the celebration
display. The harassment of Ma Tam Ru Ta (in
a dance called “Tsa Chham” on the
first day), the birth of Dorjee Sonnu s the
demon’s son (on the second day called
“Nga Chham”), theattempt to return
the demon to lord Buddha’s realm (on the
third and final day). The Teeji festival dances
are all organized by the Choedhe Monastery,
which is that of the Shakya sect of Lo Manthang.
Purnima (June - July)
Teachers come second (after the gods) in the
Hindu hierarchy of respect. The full moon day
of the month June/July is set aside for students
to pay homage to their teachers and receive
blessings from them in return. Worshipping a
guru is like worshipping truth, knowledge and
invaluable experiences. Gu means darkness and
Ru means the remover of that darkness. A true
Guru removes darkness (Maya or worldly desires)
and shows the way to peace and sanctity of the
conscious mind. On this day students and disciples
visit their elders, teachers and guides in order
to show respect to them with gifts of coconuts,
flowers and sweets. These gifts are called 'Gurudakshina'.
This day is also commemorated in the name of
the famous sage Ved Vyas. The occasion is also
known as Vyas Purnima. The sage Ved Vyas is
considered the original Guru of the Hindu Dharma.
At a place called Vyas on the Kathmandu-Pokhara
highway, special worship is performed to Maharishi
Vyas, the saint who wrote the great Hindu epic,
Mahabharat. For Buddhists, the occasion (Dilla
Punhi) is sacred as the day when the Buddha-to-be
entered the womb of Queen Mayadevi. Religious
functions are held at monasteries and temples
to commemorate the event.
is a very special festival in the Khumbu area
celebrated in the month of May or June every
year. There is much dancing, drinking and merry
making in addition to the more serious rituals
and dances performed by the monks.
The Dumji festival celebrates and honors the
anniversary of Guru Rinpoche’s birth on
the lotus flower. Lama Sangwa Dorgje is the
founder of the earliest monasteries of Khumbu
and he was the first to start the Dumji festival
in Pangboche about 360 years ago in order to
coincide with the birth anniversary of Guru
The festival serves as a religious and community
duty to help bring the villagers together. Every
twenty years it falls upon one family to provide
food and drink for the entire village for the
duration of the celebrations, which last for
4 days. Each family has its turn to provide
the festival for the village, which is quite
costly for that family. On a rotation basis,
four laws are chosen to undertake the responsibility
of conducting Dumji and sometimes it leads a
family to bankruptcy.
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.
festival falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight
of Shrawan. Ghanta Karna, which means “Bell
Ears”, was a horrible demon who was so
named because he wore bell earrings to drown
out the name of Vishnu, his sworn enemy. The
festival celebrates his destruction when a god,
disguised as a frog, lured him in to a deep
well where the people stoned him to death. Ghanta
Karna is burnt in effigy on this night and evil
is cleansed from the land for another year.
Festival Nepal (July-Aug)
the arrival of the monsoons and the planting
season in the fields, Buddhists in the Kathmandu
Valley observe the Gunla festival. The month
long event celebrates a 'rains retreat' initiated
25 centuries ago by the Buddha.
Gunla is a time for prayer, fasting, meditation
and religious music. Worshippers climb past
jungles, stone animals, great statues of Buddha
and begging monkeys to the hilltop at Swayambhu
where daily prayers begin before dawn. Oil lamps,
prayer flags, religious statues and paintings
adorn the monasteries whilst temple bells chime
and powerful incense fills the air. Important
statues are put on display and the teachings
of Lord Buddha are remembered as the rains feed
the rice crop.
Purnima & Raksha Bandhan (July - Aug)
Janai Purnima, when the moon is full in August,
high caste Hindus chant the powerful Gayatri
mantra and change their Sacred Thread (or janai)
while a red or yellow protection chord (a rakshya
bandhan) is tied around the wrists of other
Hindus and Buddhists. Many pilgrims journey
to the mountains north of Kathmandu to emulate
Lord Shiva by bathing in the sacred lake of
Gosaikunda. Those unable to make the trek north,
celebrate at Shiva's Kumbheshwor Mahadev temple.
Here a pool with an image of Shiva at its centre
is filled with water believed to have come from
this day Snakes (Nagas) are honored, since it
is believed that they possess all sorts of magical
power, especially power over monsoon rain. Pictures
of the Nagas are hung over the doorways of houses
and this not only propitiates the snakes but
also keeps harm away from the household.
Jatra (Cow festival, Aug-Sep)
festival of cow is celebrated every year in
August/September. This is one of the most popular
festivals in Nepal as it is full of humor, satire,
comedy, mockery and shades of sadness too at
the same time. And on this day satires and jokes
on anybody is legal. As per the tradition, the
family who has lost a relative during the past
one year must take part in a procession by sending
young boys in cow like attire and walk through
the streets of Kathmandu lead by a cow. Cow
is regarded as a Goddess and it is also the
national animal of Nepal. This festival also
purges many who have lost their loved ones as
they get to console themselves as to they are
not the only ones who have been bereaved and
it also teaches to accept death as a part of
is the birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna is
an incarnation of Vishnu and his daring exploits;
good nature and general of a good time endear
him to many people. The famous Krishna temple
in Patan is the centre of the celebration and
vigil is kept at the temple on the night before
his birthday. Oil lamps light the temple and
signing continues through out the night in the
is a Hindu married woman’s day for her
man. This festival is celebrated in August/September.
Women clad in beautiful red saris with shining
potes (glass beads), singing and dancing is
the sight almost everywhere in Nepal during
the festival of Teej. On this day women observe
a fast and pray Lord Shiva for the long, healthy
and prosperous life of their husbands and their
families. The unmarried women also observe this
festival with unabated zeal with the hope that
they will get to marry good husbands. From early
dawn, women queue up in the multiple lines in
Pashupatinath to offer their prayers to Lord
Jatra (Sept - Oct)
festival named after Lord Indra- the God of
Rain and also the King of Heaven is celebrated
by both the Buddhists and Hindus in Nepal in
August/September. This festival lasts for eight
days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing.
The chariot of Kumari – the Living Goddess
is taken through the main streets of Kathmandu
with much fanfare.
On the first day, the King of Nepal also pays
homage to Goddess Kumari. The crowd of excited
people from performers to spectators engulfs
the streets of Kathmandu during this festival.
People get to enjoy various classical dances
like elephant dance, lakhe – a very popular
dance of a man with a mask.
(Vijaya Dashami, Sept - Oct)
the month of Kartik (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. It is truly the national festival
of Nepal. The change of mood is also induced
psychologically by the turn of autumn season
after a long spell of monsoon, introducing clear
and brilliant days, an azure blue sky and a
green carpet of fields, the climate is also
just ideal at this time, it is neither too cold
nor too warm. The Nepalese cherish their Dashain
as time for eating well and dressing well.
The fifteen days of celebration occurs during
the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day
of the full moon. Thorough out the kingdom of
Nepal the goddess Durga in all her manifestations
are worshiped with innumerable pujas, abundant
offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices
for the ritual holy bathing, thus drenching
the goddess for days in blood. Buffaloes, goats,
chickens and ducks are killed by the thousands
at the temples at military posts and in every
household. One of the main centers that witnesses
the animal sacrifice in a large scale at this
time is the Hanuman Dhoka palace on the ninth.
On the concluding day of the festival called
the Tika, the elders of the family give Tika
to their junior members and to other relatives
who may also come to seek their blessings. The
fresh shoots of the barley's are also given.
Family feasting and feting of guests is a common
practice at this time.
Ekadashi is the 11th day of the new moon, and
it is a common practice to fast on this day.
Therefore, once a fortnight, in principle, Hindus
observe a fast. Of all the Ekadashi, the Harishyani
and Haribodhini Ekadashi have special significance,
and are called the Thuli (Greater) Ekadeshi.
On Ekadashi, the seedlings are transplanted
to pots or lands being accompanied by religious
rites. Traditionally, it is done by men only,
not by women.
For four months, beginning with Harishyani Ekadashi,
the bright moon of Ashad (June/July), the plant
is worshipped with special prayers, arati (butter
lamps), circumambulations, and other rituals.
During the month of Kartik (October/ November),
on the eleventh day of the bright moon (called
Haribodhani Ekadashi), the basil plant is married
to the Shaligram, a fossil found in the Kali
Gandaki river. Three days later, devotees offer
one thousand basil's leaves to a sacred river
(Deepawali, Oct - Nov)
festival of lights that falls between October/November
is the second biggest festival after Dashain.
This festival lasts for five days and people
worship Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth.
All the houses are cleaned and decorated with
the belief that Goddess Lakshmi will enter the
house that is the cleanest and people lit candles,
oil lamps and other lights and the whole place
looks illuminating. During the five days, crows,
dogs and cows are worshipped and honored with
vermilion, garland and delicious food for what
they have done in the lives of humans.
Crows are regarded as the messenger that brought
news even during the times when there were no
postmen and no postal services. Dogs are the
most obedient animals and they guard our house
as true guardians. Cow is also a symbol of wealth
in Hinduism and she is also the national animal
of Nepal. During Tihar, the Newari community
in Nepal also observes Mha puja – a ritual
of worshipping one’s own body and life.
On this very day, the Newari New Year which
is also known as Nepal Sambat begins. The festival
ends with Bhai Tika – brothers’
day when his sisters worship him for his long
and healthy life to safeguard the lives of his
sisters. This is also a gambling time in Nepal
as gambling is not illegal during this festival.
Rimdu is a Sherpa festival celebrated during
the autumn at the Tengboche Monastery in the
Everest region. Lamas and Sherpa gather at the
monastery for five days - 'for the good of the
world'. There are plays, masked dances, prayers
and feasts. Demons are quelled and the pious
are rewarded. The festival is very colorful
and ideal to combine with a trekking expedition
in the Everest region.
Panchami (Nov - Dec)
December, during vibhaha Panchami, the Hindu
world re-enacts and celebrates the marriage
of Ram to princess Sita, as told in the epic,
Ramayana. King Janak (Sita's father) proposed
a test of strength for the suitors of his daughter.
To prove their worth, suitors had to string
the great bow of Lord Shiva.
Chieftains and warriors visited from a far but
no man could even lift the bow. Ram, however,
lifted the bow with ease and when he tried to
string it, the bow shattered into pieces. Ram
and Sita were married in Janakpur (now in eastern
Nepal) and their marriage is celebrated to this
day. Each year, idols of Ram and Sita are taken
on procession and their marriage re-enacted
during a week long religious fair. Vibhaha Panchami
reflects the devotion of Hindus to Ram, perhaps
the most popular of the incarnations of Vishnu,
and to Sita - model of the ideal Hindu woman.
Chaturdarsi (Nov - Dec)
This simple festival day takes place in December
at Pashupatinath Temple and in the forested
hillside behind. It is one of the oldest traditions
in the Kathmandu Valley. Families who have lost
a loved one in the last year keep an all-night
vigil in the forest, lighting oil lamps and
a ritual morning bath, people walk through the
forest scattering seven types of grain along
the paths and over the linga of Lord Shiva to
give merit to their late kinsfolk and to cleanse
the sins of a mythological man called Bala who
had been transformed into a demon.
the rice crop is gathered in December, farmers
in the Kathmandu Valley prepare to give thanks
for the harvest during Yomari Punhi. The Yomari
is a special cake make from the flour of new
rice. A shell of dough is filled with melted
raw sugar and sealed. After the cake is steamed,
it is presented to the gods as an offering.
Later, the Yomari is eaten as blessed food.
So it is that each year when the storerooms
are full and the farmers' toil has been rewarded,
the gods are thanked for their benevolence and
Day (Mata Tirtha Puja)
Nepalese people have always been family oriented.
They take great pride in their ancient tradition
of closely-knit family unit. This sort of kinship
is not only the result of religious teachings,
but also due to various festivals and ceremonies,
which brings the family together and strengthens
the family ties in the Nepalese society.
Such is the festival of "Mata Tritha Puja"
which in English is "Mother's day”.
This festival falls on the last day of the dark
fortnight of April or early May. It is a day
when one shows appreciation and gratitude to
his/her mother for her unconditional love and
On this day, each house bustles with activities
and everyone, regardless of age, participates.
There aren't much religious ceremonies but the
fact that it is a day for mothers, calls for
celebrations for she is the one who keeps the
family together through ups and downs in life.
Even the small children dig into their savings
to buy gifts for their mothers. Sons and daughters
living separately, come with presents and delicacies
to spend time with their mother. It is a day
of reunion for married daughters with their
mothers. The entire day is filled with festivities
and merry making.
Those who don't have a mother pay obeisance
to Mata Tirtha, which is a sacred site of pilgrimage
and holy bathing. It lies six miles south -
west of central Katmandu, consisting of two
pools-the larger for bathing and the smaller
is famous as the place where one "looks
upon one's mother's face".
Legends reveal that in the ancient times the
region was ruled by a cowherd king. One of his
cowherds was so depressed by his mother's death
that he went to pray and make offerings at a
water storage pond in the forest on this day.
Miraculously his mother's face appeared and
her hand accepted the offerings. Thus it’s
called Mata Tirtha, where many hope to see their
mother's face. A lot of folklores are attached
to this site, some of which are tragic. But
whatever it maybe, people still believe that
paying homage to this site will bring peace
to their mother's departed soul. So for this
reason people come from distant places, on this
day, to show their reverence. Thus, Mata Tirtha
holds a very profound meaning in each person's
life. For a mother, is a figure present in everyone's
life. This day gives each child a chance to
show the depth of his/her feelings for her.
Panchami (Bhadropad Shukl Panchami)
fast on this day is undertaken by man and women
alike. Its effect is to wash away sin done voluntarily
or involuntarily. After a bath in the sacred
water, clean your hands 108 times, wash your
mouth 108 times and listen to the story of Ganesa,
Navagreh, Saptarishi and worship Arundati. Eat
only fruit one time in the day. Give oblation
to the Brahmin. A certain king Sitasale asked
Brahma to tell him the fast, which is of utmost
bliss and bestows quick result. Brahma replied
that Rishi Panchami fast was the one such by
virtue of which all sins are washed away. He
narrated the story of a virtuous Brahmin Utank
of Vidharba region. His wife was a devoted wife
Shusila. They had two children, a son and daughter.
The daughter was married to a young capable
boy, but unfortunately became a widow soon.
The parents made a cottage on the bank of Ganges
and lived there with their widow daughter. One
day while asleep the ants covered the body of
the daughter. The parents were perplexed. The
Brahmin through meditation found out that in
previous birth, she had entered the kitchen
on the day of menstruation. The routine is that
on the first day of menstruation, the woman
is Chandalini (demon), on second day Brahmdhatini
(wizard), on third day a washer woman, and on
fourth day after bath, she becomes purified.
Women undertaking Rishi Panchami fast do not
suffer from attack of worms and in all future
births remain happy.