It marks the birthday of Lord Krishna, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The best place to watch the celebrations of Krishna 's birthday is at the Krishna temple at Patan and Changu Narayan. Sacred devotional music is played all night. Go early in the evening.
Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan (August)
All high caste hindus wear a sacred thread over their left shoulder and tied under their right armpit. On this day, each year the sacred thread is replaced after a day long fast. And also the priest put sacred janai or holy thread around the wrist of Hindu people. On this day, specially newar people prepare special dish on their homes. That dish is known as 'Kwati'. Kwati is prepared with nine different types of beans. Kumbheswore temple in Patan and holy Lake of Gosaikunda are important places for this festival where people take holy dips.
Naag Panchami (August)
Images of the serpent 'Naga' are stuck over the doors of house during the festivals of snakes.Since snakes are to believed to have power over the monsoon rainfall,it is important that they are appeased. Their image also keeps evil from entering the home.
Gai Jatra (August)
Satire, jokes, fancy costumes, and colorful processions are the order of the day as people recall how an eighteenth century king rallied his people to cheer his queen upon the death of their son. Those who have experienced the death of close ones during the past year share their sorrow and fake comfort in the fact that the Gai (Cow) has safely transported the departed souls on their afterlife journey.
Young men wearing women's saris, children`dressed up as cows, and whimsical characters of all sorts fill the streets. Special issues of local magazines poke fun at everyone and everything - even the most important people aren't spared.
This is a special festival for women and all married women are supposed to fast all day bathe in the holy waters of the rivers. The entrance to Pashupatinath is a good place to watch as crowds of women, dressed in brightly coloured saris with red marks on their foreheads, come down to river. This unique women's festival is marked by fasting, folk songs, and dancing as the women recall Parbati's devotion to her husband Shiva. Married women visit their fathers' homes. All daughters and sisters receive gifts from their male kin, and an elaborate feast is prepared for them. It's a loud and cheerful celebration until late at night, when strict fasting discontinues. It is believed that their married life will be long and happy and they will not lose their husbands if they celebrate this festival. Unmarried women who fast on this day will have good luck in finding suitable husband. Married women who fast will find their husbands faithful and will see the bond of love grow. The blessings of Shiva and Parbati ensure that family life will be joyous for all.
Indra Jatra (September)
The Indra festival is celebrated in honour of the ancient Aryan God Indra, King of .Heaven and controller of the rains. The living goddess Kumari is taken in procession through the streets of Kathmandu and the king receives blessings from her. For eight days, Kathmandu 's Durbar Square is the focus of a great celebration fit to "flatter the King of Heaven". Indra's dhwaj or flag, is erected on the first day. It is said that many centuries ago, Indra's mother needed specially scented flowers but could not find them in heaven's gardens. Indra discovered parijat flowers in the Kathmandu Valley and tried to steal them for his mother. He was caught and imprisoned by the Valley people. When Indra's mother came searching for him the people were appalled by what they had done. They released Indra and dedicated one of the most colorful festivals of Nepal to him to appease his anger. Masks and statues representing Vishnu, Bhairab, and Shiva are shown to the public, and the Goddess Kumari witnesses the special occasion from her chariot. Indra is thanked for the rains and assured once again that he is respected in the Kathmandu Valley . On this same day, in 1768, King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered Kathmandu and took the major step in the process of unifying Nepal .
This is the biggest and the longest festival in Nepal and lasts 15 days in all although the main festivities are concentrated in nine days during which all schools and government offices are closed. The skies of Kathmandu are filled with kites and the marketplaces are filled with farmers bringing their buffaloes, goats and chicken to sell. The first day is Ghatasthapana. On the seventh day called "Fullpati" you can see ,around noon or afternoon, a procession for government officials in national dress preceded by a band from Royal Palace in durbar square. On the ninth day, goats and buffaloes are sacrificed around noon in the courtyard called 'Kot' behind Durbar Square and a stream of blood flows. Similar sacrifices are made in the temples of goddesses through the country to celebrate her victory over evil and on this day every household in Nepal eats meat. The tenth day, Bijaya Dashami is the highlight of the festival and all Hindus and many Buddhists go to the relatives and elders in order to receive a ‘Tika', which is rice immersed in a curd with red pigment color placed on their forehead. In the following days of Dasain, families and friends unite, feasts are consumed, blessings are imparted and gifts are exchanged. Nepal 's most beloved festival ends with the full moon. Dashain is not only the biggest festival but a happy one because the weather is perfect.
The third and fifth days are the most important of this five-day festival. In western India it is the biggest Hindu festival and in Nepal it is second only to Dasain. On the first day crows, the messengers of death, are honoured and fed. The second day is in honour of dogs, the guardians of the dead and the mount of Bhairab. The third day is set aside for cows as the incarnation of Laxmi.The goddess of wealth. This day is called Deepavali, the festival of lights, and all the households of Kathmandu are illuminated by lamps to the Goddess of Wealth. This festival always falls on a new moon so the effect is particularly delightful. It is said that the Goddess Laxmi will shun any household not illuminated on this day, which is also an occasion for gambling. The fourth day is also a new year for Newars. In this day people worship their own body or soul. And families get together to celebrate this occasion. The fifth day of the festival is Bhai Tika and is meant especially for brothers and sisters who are supposed to get together on this day. On this day sisters place tikas on their brothers forehead to protect them from evil.And sisters also bless them for longer life. In return ,brothers make generous gifts to their sisters.
Bala Chaturdasi (December)
This simple, festive day takes place in the ancient forest surrounding the temple of Pashupatinath . It is one of the oldest traditions of the 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. Following 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 kinsmen and to cleanse the sins of a mythological man called Bala who had been transformed into a demon.
Bibah Panchami (December)
AIl the people of the Hindu world know the story of the marriage of their hero Ram and the 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 string the great bow of Lord Shiva. Warriors, kings and chieftains came from afar, but no man could even lift the bow. Ram 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 southern Nepal , and their marriage is celebrated to this day.
Each year, idols of Ram and Sita are brought out in procession and their Hindu wedding ceremony is re-enacted during a week-long religious fair. Bibah Panchami reflects the devotion of Hindus to Ram, perhaps the most popular among the incarnations of Vishnu, and to Sita, the model of the ideal Hindu woman.
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