Govt. Regd. No: 62248/065/066
SM

Festivals by month

February

Losar

Tibetan peoples from Dolpo to the Khumbu celebrate their New Year with parades, pujas (religious offerings or prayers) and prayer flags. Find celebrations in the Kathmandu Valley at Bouddhanath, Swayabhunath and Jawalakhel, near Patan
Mahashivaratri
Shiva’s birthday heralds festivities at all Shiva temples, but particularly at Pashupatinath, and hundreds of sadhus flock here from all over Nepal and India. The crowds bathing in the Baghmati’s holy waters are a colorful and wonderful sight.

March

Holi

Known as the Festival of Colors, when colored powder and water are riotously dispensed as a reminder of the cooling monsoon days to come. Foreigners get special attention, so keep your camera protected and wear old clothes. It can be in February too.
Seto Macchendranath
Kicking off in the wake of the sacrificial festival of Chaitra Dashain, crowds drag an image of Seto Macchendranath from its temple at Kel Tole in Kathmandu on a towering, tottering rath(chariot), through the backstreets of the old town, for four days.

April

Bisket Jatra

Nepalis celebrate their New Year as a huge crowds drag tottering chariots through the winding backsreets, pausing for a quick tug-of-war.
Balkumari Jatra
Thimi celebrates New Year by hosting palanquins from 32 nearby villages at the town’s Balkumari Temple, for three days of festivities. Nearby Bode holds a grisly tongue-boring ceremony at the same time.

Balaju Jatra  
Thousands of pilgrims keep an all-night vigil at the Swayambhunath temple during the full moon of Baisakh. The following day they trek to the Baise Dhara(22 watersprouts) at Balaju in the northern Kathmandu for the ritual bath.

May

Rato Macchendranath

Patan’s biggest festival involves the spectacular month-long procession of a temple chariot, culminating in the showing of the sacred vest of the god Macchendranath.
Buddha Jayanti
A great full-moon fair at Lumbini (the birthplace of Lord Buddha) marks Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing into nirvana, and there are celebrations in Bouddhanath, Swayambhunath and Patan. Swayambhunath displays a collection of rare Thangkas(Tibetan religious paintings for one day only)

August

Ghanta Karna

This festival celebrates the destruction of the demon ‘bell ears’ when a god, disguised as a frog, lured him into a deep well. Ghanta Karna is burnt in effigy on this night throughout Newari villages to cleanse evil from the land for another year.
Naga Panchami
On this day, nagas(serpent deities) are honored all over the country for their magical powers over the monsoon rains. Protective pictures of the nagas hung over doorways of houses, and food is put out for snakes, including a bowl of rice.

Janai Purnima

On the full moon, all high-caste men (Chettri and Brahmin) change the janai (sacred thread) loped over their left shoulder. Janai Purnima also brings crowds of Hindu pilgrims to sacred Gosainkunda lakes and the Kunbeswar Temple in Patan.

Gai Jatra

Newars believe that, after death, cows will guide them to Yama, the God of the underworld, and this ‘Cow Festival’ is dedicated to those who died during the preceding year. Cows are led through the towns and small boys dress up as cows(especially in Bhaktapur)
Krishna Jayanta( Krishna’s Birthday)
The birthday (also known as Krishnasthami) of the popular Hindu god Krishna is celebrated with an all-night vigil at the Krishna Mandir in Patan: oil lamps light the temple and singing continues through the night.

Teej

The Festival of Women starts with a sumptuous meal and party; at midnight, women commence a 24-hour fast. On the second day, women dress in their red wedding saris and head to Shiva temples across the country to pray for a happy marriage.

September

Indra Jatra

This colorful autumn festival combines homage to Indra with an annual appearance by Kathmandu’s Kumari (living goddess), who parades through the packed streets of the old town in a palanquin. It also marks the end of the monsoon.

October

Pachali Bhairab

The fearsome form of Bhairab, Pachali Bhairab, is revered to on the fourth day of the bright fortnight in early October or September. Bhairab’s bloodthirsty nature means that there are numerous animal sacrifices.

Dashain

Nepal’s biggest festival lasts for 15 days. It celebrates the victory of the Goddess Durga over the forces of the evil (personified by the buffalo demon Mahisasura): across the country, hundreds of thousands of animals are sacrificed and swings are erected at the entrances to the villages.

Fulpati

Fulpati(sacred flowers) is the first really important day of Dashain. A jar of flowers symbolizing the Goddess Taleju is carried from Gorkha to Kathmandu and presented to President at the Tudikhel parade ground before being transported on a palanquin to Durbar Square.

Maha Astami

The ‘Great Eight Day’ and Kala Ratri, the ‘Black Night’, mark the start of the sacrifices and offerings to Durga. At midnight, in a temple courtyard near Durbar Square, eight buffaloes and 108 goats are beheaded, each with a single stroke of a sword or knife.

Navami

The sacrifices continue on Kathmandu’s Kot Square the next day: visitors can witness the bloodshed but you’ll need to arrive early to secure a place. Blood is sprinkled on the wheels of cars (and Nepal Airline’s aircrafts) and goat meat is on almost everyone’s menu.

Vijaya Dashami

The 10th day of the Dashain festival is a family affair: cards and greetings are exchanged and parents place a tika (sandalwood paste spot) on theor children’s foreheads, while evening processions and masked dances celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over the evil demon-king Ravana in the Ramayana.

Kartika Purnima

The full-moon day in Septembet/October marks the end of Dashain. It is celebrated with gambling in many households: you will see even small children avidly putting a few coins down on various local games for chance.

Tihar

Tihar (also called Diwali or Deepawali) is the second most important Hindu festival in Nepal. The festival honors certain animals, starting with offerings of rice to the crows (‘messengers of death’, sent by God Yama), followed by dogs (who guide departed souls across the river of the dead), cows and bullocks on consecutive days.

Deepawali(Festival of Lights)

The third day of Tihar is when Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, comes to visit every home that has been suitably lit for her presence. No one likes to turn down a visit from the goddess of wealth and so homes throughout the country are brightly lit with candles and lamps.

Newari New Year

The fourth day of Tihar is also the start of the New Year for the Newari people of the Kathmandu Valley. The following day marks Bhai Tika, when brothers and sisters meet to offer gifts of sweets and money and place tikas on each other’s foreheads.

Haribodhini Ekadashi

On the 11th day after the new moon the god Vishnu awakens from his four month monsoonal slumber. The best place to see the festivities is at the temple of the Sleeping Vishnu in Budhanilkantha, north of Kathmandu.

November

Kartik Dances

Patan’s Durbar Square fills with music and dancers for this festival that traces its origins back to choreographed human sacrifices ordered during the seventeenth century rule of King Siddhinarsingh Malla. Dancers wear mask to represent the god Narsinga and demon Hiranyakashipu. Dates can fall in late October as well.

Mani Rimdu

This popular Sherpa festival takes place at Tengboche Monastery in the Solu Khumbu region and features masked dances and dramas. Another Mani Rimdu festival takes place six months later at nearby Thame Gompa.

December

Bala Chaturdashi

On the new-moon day in late November or early December, pilgrims flock to Pashupatinath, burning oil lamps at night, scattering grain for the dead and bathing in the holy Bagmati River.

Sita Bibaha Panchami

Tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the sub-continent flock to Janakpur( the birthplace of Sita) to celebrate the marriage of Sita to Rama. The wedding is re-enacted with a procession carrying Rama’s image to Sita’s temple by elephant.