Are you planning to visit Nepal this holiday to experience the beautiful greenery, mountains, and mesmerizing temples? Then we recommend you first go through all the national Nepali holidays so you don’t miss out on exciting things due to holiday closures.
It would be such a bummer if you take out so much time only to visit Nepal when its shutters are closed. Hence, today’s blog post will take you through all the important holidays in Nepal. Once you learn when public holidays are gazetted, you can plan accordingly. Moreover, learning about the holidays will give you a quick insight into the Hindu festival and cultural events of Nepal. Such knowledge will help you understand the Nepalese people and their culture from the roots and help develop your awareness towards the country.
In fact, there are some holidays that you might want to be a part of. So, let’s not waste any more time and get started with the national holidays in Nepal.
Popular Public Nepali Holidays
Although knowing about the holidays will help you avoid shut doors and markets during your vacation, there are also festival holidays in Nepal that you might want to join in with the locals. Especially when we talk about the Hindu festival of Holi, it is indeed a day to be a part of instead of avoiding it.
So, once you go through all the holidays below, mark the popular festivals you want to witness and the holidays you want to skip. Since most holidays are entitled to goddesses and deities with big functions and parades, I am sure you will find holidays in Nepal exciting. If you are ready, let’s jump right into them.
Fagu Purnima- Festival Of Colors/ Holi (March 7-8, 2023)
One of the most popular festivals in Nepal that the locals most excitingly wait for all year round is the festival of colors, Holi. Holi is a Hindu festival celebrated based on the victory of a Hindu goddess over Holika, a female demon in Hindu mythology. The festival is celebrated by throwing powdered colors at each other, drinking, eating, and dancing across the streets, at home, and in fields with groups of people. It usually occurs in March and welcomes the beginning of the spring season.
While the festival is mainly a two-day thing, it lasts for around a week, and people rejoice in the streets throughout as they enjoy the warm weather of spring. One of the most amusing things is that people throw colors at their friends and passers-by as a friendly gesture. So, if you are visiting Nepal during Holi, be ready to be splashed with colors from head to toe and dance to their songs with random people on the streets.
Bisket Jatra- Nepali New Year (April 14, 2023)
Another important Holiday in Nepal is the Bisket Jatra, the Nepali new year in the Nepali Bikram Sambat Calendar. It is usually observed in the ancient Newar city of Bhaktapur, located in the eastern parts of Kathmandu Valley, but people from all corners of the country acknowledge the importance of the day. It is a day when the locals celebrate together by playing different games, joining processions, giving gifts, participating in tongue-piercing rituals, and offering things to dead mothers in the Maa tirtha.
It is a religious as well as a national holiday where people located in Bhaktapur Durbar, 15 kilometers away from the main capital start their rituals and celebrations and even include chariots wars between effigies of female and male gods. Even a huge tug-of-war game between the upper and lower areas of the city marks a typical celebration of the essential day.
Buddha Jayanti (May 5, 2023)
Buddha Jayanti marks the birthday of Buddha. It is a very special day for the Buddhist population and is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar. It is believed that on this day, Buddha reached enlightenment and achieved Nirvana, death. It is usually celebrated during the full moon day in May. Especially at Lumbini, Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with great enthusiasm, where a procession is held in the morning and a formal program follows during the day. Many cultural events and performances take place during the day, and people get together to cherish the life and death of Buddha.
At night, the Mayadevi temple gets decorated and lit up with thousands of lamps, which makes it mesmerizing to look at. So, if you want to see true bliss with your naked eye, do not miss out on this day and book your tickets accordingly.
Teej- Women’s Festival (August 19, 2023)
If you want to look at women’s empowerment and prosperity at its best, Teej, the festival dedicated entirely to the women of Nepal is a must-see for you. It is one of the most famous Nepali public holidays, very important for women, as it celebrates happy marriages, family values, and women’s lives. The streets of Kathmandu Valley gets filled with women who wear red national costumes. Women come together and visit the temples to pray for the prosperity of their lives and family members and to purify their souls.
The most popular temple visited on this day is the Pashupatinath, the temple that is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Women wear red sarees, as Nepali brides usually wear red sarees, and hold fasting for that day as Parvati, wife of Shiva, fasted through 108 incarnations before she was Shiva’s wife again. So, to wish for longer lives and better health for their husbands and children, the women happily fast for the entire day, meet in groups, visit the temple, and pray as they drape their national dress code.
Tihar- Festival Of Lights (November 13-15, 2023)
If there is one holiday you might want to be a part of in Nepal, it is the Tihar festival. Similar to the light festival celebrated in India, the locals dedicate this day to the goddess of wealth, Maa Lakshmi and pray for prosperity and wealth in their lives. It usually continues for five days somewhere between October and November and is one of the most exciting times in Nepal. Locals decorate their houses with lighted oil lamps and keep them lit throughout the celebration.
On the second day, the celebration is given the name of “Dog’s Day,” where every canine is adorned with garlands and given food and worship in return for the protection of the family and their home. The third day is considered “Cow’s Day,” where cows are given the treatment of a god as a cow is a representation of wealth in Nepali Hinduism.
This time is one of the most pleasant times to visit Nepal as the weather acts up well, and the streets look full of colorful lights and lamps. So, if you want to explore Nepali culture and beauty, this holiday will give you the best glimpse.
Bhai Tika (November 15, 2023)
Bhai tika is one of the most important Hindu festivals in Nepal dedicated to the brothers and sisters of a family. It falls on the last of the Tihar festival, the festival of lights, and is also commonly known as Bhai Duhj. This festival is celebrated on account of recognizing the special bond between siblings. During this festival, the sister worships and prays to Lord Yama, the Lord of Death and asks for a long and prosperous life for their younger and elder brothers.
It is said that when a girl named Yamuna’s brother fell ill, she prayed for his wellbeing. When Yama came to take his soul, she pleaded with the Lord of Death to give her some time to worship her brother. She then performed a long ritual which made the Yama offer that until the turf grass and flowers get wilted, he will not take her brother’s soul. As the flowers and turf grass remained fresh till the next Bhai Tika, her brother was granted a long life. Since then, the tradition has been followed in every corner of the country.
Dashain/ Bijaya Dashami (October 24, 2023)
Dashain is another very crucial Hindu festival in Nepal. It is the final day of Navratri. The festival is celebrated for around two weeks from Maha Ashtami to Maha Navami and finally to Bijaya Dashami. The entire festival is dedicated towards the victory of gods over demons based on the tales of Ramayana. People visit the temples of the mother goddess Durga, whose powers were invoked in defeating the host of demons, to make offerings and perform rituals.
These weeks are celebrated as days of the triumph of good over evil, and people come together to witness many cultural and religious events. In most places, families come to the streets, visit different temples, and spend time outside and praise the goddess Durga for her eternal love and fight.
Other Important Public Holidays In Nepal
Although I mentioned some of the most popular holidays in detail, here is a list of more public holidays that you should be aware of.
|Maghe Sankratnti||Jan 15|
|Sonam Lohar||Jan 22|
|Maha Shivratri||Feb 18|
(International Women’s Day)
|Ghode Jatra||Mar 21|
|Edul Aajha||Jun 29|
|Gaura festival||Sep 6|
|Nepali Constitution Day||Sep 19|
|Laxmi Puja||Nov 14|
|Chaath Puja||Nov 17|
|Christmas Day||Dec 25|
Over To You!
Now that you know all the festival holidays in Nepal and how they are celebrated, you can easily plan your trip. If you don’t want to miss out on some unique experiences, make sure you visit during the major festive time, such as Bijaya Dashami and Holi. Moreover, it is on you, and besides the holidays, you are sure to have a lifetime experience in Nepal throughout.
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The best part of the app is the AI chatbot that offers interactive exercises. It helps enhance your communication skills and vocabulary. So, even before you land, you will start speaking Nepali fluently. If you are interested, download the app now and start learning Nepali with Ling!