Nepal is rich in festivals most Nepalese people celebrate many festivals throughout a year. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity are some names of major religions adopted and practiced by most Nepali people. But almost 80% of Nepali practice Hinduism and there are more than fifty festivals in existence in Nepal in a year. Most of these festivals are mainly set by lunar calendar. Nayavasha , Loshar, Teej, Dashain, Tihar, Christmas, Id, Holi, Buddha Jayanti, Gai Jatra, Shiva Ratri, Swaraswati Puja are few examples of festivals celebrated by Neplease in correspondence to their religion.
It is the new year according to Neplease Calender, Baishak 1st of each year's annual calendar of Nepal – Bikram Shamvat. It falls in about the 2nd week of April. All Nepalese people celebrate this day as national holiday with many programs like street festivals, carnivals, cultural shows and parties. Some people organize tour or picnic too to celebrate it.
It is the Tibetan new year especially celebrated by Nepali Sherpas of Nepal. It falls in February of English calendar. It is also registered as national holiday. Many cultural groups especially from Himalayan tribe of Nepal organize many cultural shows and carnivals around the country to celebrate this festival. Contemporary changing social situation has promoted direct involvement and support of almost all Nepali people in this festival as they too enjoy and celebrate it as the national festival of Nepal and all Nepali.
3. Swaraswati Puja:
It is also known as Shree Panchami. This festival is celebrated to worship goddess of learning, Swaraswati. In this day, people mostly students, worship pens and books to please goddess for her blessing. They wake up early on the day, take bath and pray in-front of the image or idioms of the Goddess. People also worship their skills for earning and worship goddess, Swaraswati with honour. It generally falls on month of Magra as Nepali calendar which is some day of January or February of English calendar. Especially students take this day as an auspicious day for them to please the Goddess. Many undergo feast on this day.
It is also known as Maha Shivaratri. Nepali celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and even hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from other neighboring countries visit different holy shrine of Lord Shiva of Nepal. It is believed to be the sacred night of Lord Shiva which generally comes after Swaraswati Puja, around February or March of English calendar. Flocks of Nepali and other Indian shadu come to Nepal especially Pashupati Nath to celebrate this holy night. This day Nepali government has allowed pilgrims to take different intoxicating substances like marijuana, hashish etc freely in the college of Shiva shrine.
This festival is famous around the world as a festival of color. Except Nepal it is celebrated in India, Srilanka, Bhutan too. It falls in Falgun month of Nepali calendar which happens to be some day of February or March of English calendar. It is also known as Phagu in Nepal. It is a holy day which marks as per hindu culture extermination of female demon Holika by child Prahlad, one great devotee of Bishnu. Kathmandu celebrates this festival with Lola and color. This day is also registered as a national holiday.
6. Ghode Jatra:
It is a festival of horses which falls on some day of March or April of English calendar. Nepali government has managed this day as another national holiday. Nepali Arm Force organize horse parade on this day at Tundikhel and performs other different exciting activities in the presence of senior officers of nepali government.
7. Buddha Jayanit (Buddha Purnima):
This day is celebrated as a birth anniversary of Lord Gautama Buddha. It falls in some day of May month of English calendar. Thousands of Buddhists pilgrims visit different holy Buddhist shrine on this day to pay their homage to Lord Gautama Buddha and lit butter lamps and chant different sacred lines with best wishes of restoration of peace and love throughout the world. Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, Lumbini face hundreds of thousands visitors this day. It is also a national holiday.
8. Gai Jatra:
It falls in between August or September of English calendar. This festival is also taken as a national forum for one to prick satire, humor, mockery on the contemporary socio-political scenarios. Originally it is celebrated by Newar Community of Kathmandu Valley in memoir of their bygone family members in that year. They in this day send their young sons and daughters in cow like attire and walk through roads with cultural music. Thousands of commoners on this day parade in the roads of Kathmandu valley especially on this day.
This day is another national holiday of Nepal and in this day nepali girls especially married undergo strict feast and worship Lord Shiva and wish for their happy married life. Unmarried girls too wish for good husband like that of Lord Shiva. Women in red costumes visit holy shrine of Lord Shiva on this day to prey. It falls in some day of August or September of English calendar which is some day of Bhadra month of Nepali calendar.
This festival is also known as Bijaya Dashami as it is believed to be the auspicious day of victory of Goddess Durga over Demon. This is the longest and most auspicious festival of Nepali as it goes for 15 days in total. It falls on some days of Aswin and or Kartik months of Nepali calendar which happens to be some days of September and or October of English calendar. During lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon people worship Goddess Durga, sacrifice animals to please Her, take holy bath and receives tika and blessings from the elders of the family and relatives.
It is a festive of light which comes after 15 days of end of Dashain. It is some days of October or November of English calendar. It is also the 2nd biggest festival of Nepal after Dashain. This festival goes for 5 days in which people worship crow, dog, cow, ox and brothers/sisters on each day separately with delicious food and garland. They worship Goddess Laxmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, lit candles, oil lamps and illuminate their home and its premises. Newar communities on the fifth day of Tihar celebrate "Ma Puja" which means worship of one's self. It is peculiar cultural practice of this community. It would be nice and really exciting for foreigners to visit Nepal on this period.