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Festivals of Nepal

Nepal is one of the few countries in the world that has the most number of festivals throughout the year. Counting the festivals of Nepal and the number of holidays, it almost always comes out on top. In this article, we’ll present to you the list of festivals in Nepal that are the most popular and widely celebrated. Read on and decide for yourself when would be the best time to visit Nepal.

One thing to note would be on the dates of these festivals. As the festivals are based on Nepal’s lunar calendar, the exact dates on our modern-day Gregorian calendar would differ every year. We advise you to check the exact dates nearer to the date of your arrival. Nepalese celebrate the local festivals over a few days, hence you should schedule your trip according to the festival dates.

If you’re wondering which city is best for experiencing festivals of Nepal, Kathmandu is the best city for most of them.

 

Biska Jatra Nepal Festival

Biska Jatra Nepal Festival – Credit: @festivals.nepal

 

List of Festivals in Nepal & Most Popular Festivals of Nepal

 

January / February: Losar Tibetan Buddhism New Year

Boudhanath in Kathmandu is the place to be if you want to experience this festival at its height. You’ll experience music, dance, prayers and Tibetan cultural immersion. As it’s a new-year-like celebrations, crowds will be much bigger than the other festivals

Festivals in Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal Boudhanath Stupa

Credit: @madn.gupta

 

February: Maha Shivaratri

Pashupatinath is where the action will be. Hindu believers from all over the country and even India would come to for this Shiva celebration. This is the best time to catch the Sadhu holy men.

Although not as crowded as the Losar Festival, the crowds are still substantial at the Maha Shivaratri.

Tip: This is the one and only day in Nepal when the consumption of hashish is legal.

 

March: Holi (Festival of Colours)

Perhaps one of the more well-known Hindu festival all over the world, Holi is the festival where bags of coloured dye are thrown around. At times, water and coloured water are also used to liven up the celebrations.

The two best locations to experience one of the most popular festivals of Nepal are Kathmandu city and Pokhara Lakeside.

Festivals in Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal. Holi Nepal kathmandu

Credit: @sanjogm

 

April: Bisket Jatra

Bisket Jatra is celebrated at the start of the new year and most enthusiastically in Bhaktapur. Besides Bhaktapur, you can witness the festival in Dhapasi, Thimi and Tokha.

 

May: Buddha’s Birthday (Buddha Jayanti / Purnima)

The main place to be for Buddha’s Birthday is definitely Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha himself. If you can’t make it to Lumbini, other places that provide good experience for this festival are Patan and Bhaktapur.

 

May – June: Bunga Dyah Jatra

Bunga Dyah Jatra is a ‘chariot’ festival where 60-foot chariot is dragged through Lalitpur town for up to a month.

 

August – September: Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra (Gai means cow and jatra means festivals in Nepali) is usually revelled in Kathmandu Valley. Also known as the Festival of Cows, this is one of the festivals that tops the list of festivals in Nepal.

Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal Gaijatra festival

Credit: @everythingaboutnepal

 

September: Indra Jatra (Yenya)

Indra Jatra is the largest street festival (that’s also religious) in Kathmandu. The main procession and celebrations are conducted in Kathmandu Durbar Square for eight days.

Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal Indra Jatra festival

Credit: @distantfrontiers

 

September – October: Dashain (Bijaya Dasami)

Dashain is the longest and one of the most auspicious festivals in Nepal, as well as Bhutan, Myanmar and North India. This highly anticipated festival, last for 15 days, during which thousands of buffalos and rams are slaughtered and sacrificed to the goddesses. However, in recent years, animal rights activist have expressed criticism for animal sacrifice during Dashain.

Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal Dashain Nepal Festival

Credit: @tobiashugo

 

October – November: Deepawali (Dewali / Tihar)

Probably the most popular festival of all time in the Indian subcontinent is the festival of lights. In Nepal, Deepawali or Diwali is a celebrated over 5 days and is the second largest Nepalese festival after Dashain.  Glimmering lamps are displayed in every household during this season. To top it off, you will be able to see beautiful fireworks lighting up the city of Kathmandu in the night.

Festivals in Nepal. List of Festivals in Nepal. Nepal Tihar Dipawali

Credit: @santosh_basyal

 

December – January: Christmas / New Year

The local Nepalese do not widely celebrate Christmas and modern-day New Year in Nepal. Nevertheless, you can still find small parties at contemporary establishments. Hotels, bars, clubs and restaurants that accommodate tourists do join in the celebration with decorations, special meals and music.

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