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
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.
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.
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)
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
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 receive alms.
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)
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 knowledgeable.
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.
This 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
/ Maha Shivaratri (Feb - March)
Shivaratri 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)
his 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.)
The 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 planting
Jatra (Festival of Horses, March - April)
This 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.
Also 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
Ram 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)
Nepal 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.
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.
Jayanti (April - May)
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
Machhendranath Rath Jatra (April - May)
This 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)
The 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 soul here.
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 at Gokarna.
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.
The 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 droughts.
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)
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.
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 Rimpoche.
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
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.
This 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)
Following 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)
n 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 Gosaikunda.
On 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)
This 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 life.
This 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 Patan area.
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 Shiva.
Jatra (Sept - Oct)
This 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
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
(Vijaya Dashami, Sept - Oct)
During 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.
This 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 or water.
(Deepawali, Oct - Nov)
This 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)
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
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 singing songs.
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.
As 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 generosity
Day (Mata Tirtha Puja)
The 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 undying support.
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
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
Panchami (Bhadropad Shukl Panchami)
The 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.
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.