Festivals

Dashain

Celebrated caste-wide as Nepal’s most auspicious occasion, the 15-day Dashai celebration, falling within the months of September and October, commemorates the epic victories of Hindu gods and goddesses over malicious demons. The goddess Durga is revered during this time through acts of puja and animal sacrifice – businesses across the country close their doors and families unite to rejoice and perform puja.

Tihar

Known as the festival of lights, this occasion is marked by the thousands of lamps and candles that illuminate its five festive nights. Each day revolves around worship and offerings made to the goddess Laksmi, the dog, cow, crow, and a final day called Bhai Tika, during which sisters place tikas on the foreheads of their brothers and wish them long lives and prosperity. The streets of Kathmandu are ablaze with lamps and sparklers during the five days of Tihar.

Maha Shiva Ratri

Hundreds of Saddhus make the pilgrimage to Pashupatinath, Kathmandu’s holiest of Hindu landmarks, to celebrate the birthday of Lord Shiva each year between February and March. The famous temple complex is alive during this time with puja ceremonies and the ritual smoking of ganja by masses of holy men who smear their bodies with ash and adorn themselves elaborately for this reverent occasion.

Holi

Nepal’s most colorful festival, Holi celebrates the coming of spring and the bountiful harvest that will hopefully accompany it. Revelers are known for unabashedly dousing each other with water and colored powder. The festival falls between February and March.

Teej

Falling between the months of August and September, Teej is a time for ritual fasting and purification for women. Thousands of women can be seen during this time visiting temples to pray for the wellbeing of their families and purity of their bodies and souls.

Indra Jatra

Celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists, Indra Jatra takes its name from Indra, the god of rain. Thousands flock to Hanuman Durbar in Kathmandu to participate in traditional dance and song, including a wild array of costumes and cultural styles. On the festival’s third day, the Kumari, or “living goddess” is paraded around the city in a huge chariot. The five day celebration falls between the months of August and September.