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Festivals in Nepal

Sweta Machhindranath Snan
January : Sweta Machhindranath enjoys a week-long festival in which he is bathed, oiled, perfumed and painted. The Goddess Kumari visits him at his elaborate temple near Ason Tol. If he is pleased by the music, offerings, and attentions of his devotes, the people of Kathmande can look forward to satisfactory rainfall in the planting season.

January-February : Goddess Swastani's three eyes burn like the sun. She is the ultimate gift grantory; if insulated, she can make life miserable. By worshipping Swastani,Parbati attained Lord shiva as her husband. In theworship rites of Goddess Swastani, outlined by Parbati, the Swastani scripture is read every evening for a month. Worshipping Swastani will bring together parted relations, remove curses, and result in limitless gifts.

Maghe sakranti
January- In the holy month of Magh the sun enters the southern hemisphere, and the days being to grow longer and warmer. Lord Vishnu, the Preserver is thanked for his efforts. On Maghe Sakranti ( the first day of magh) people take an early morning bath in a holy river, visit the shrines os Vishnu, and present flowers, incense an food to him. Reading the Bhagwat Gita, also known as the song of the gods, rub mustard oil over their bodies,and enjoy feasts of rice cooked with lentils, yams or tutuls- a must- and laddu, sweets made of sesame and a sugarcane paste.

Basanta Panchami (Swarasti Puja)
Basanta, or spring, ushers in the loveliest time of the year. Crowds gather in Kathmandu's Durbar Squire while His majesty the king and other dignitaries welcome the season as a band plays the traditional song of spring. A different celebration occures at Swayambhu and at the Nil Barahi shrine near Lazimpat. Saraswoti, the Goddess of learning, arts and craft is worshipped at her temples. Artists, musicisns, teachers and students being flowers, unbroken rice, and other fifts to please her.

Maha Shivaratri
February- Lord shiva is one of Nepal ,s most popular gods .During Maha Shivaratri ,His "Great Night",followers throughout the Indian sub-continent crowed the Pasupatinath temple to worship him. On this occasion there is no space even to sesame seed. Colorful sadhus ,the wondering sages who emulate shiva ,rub ashes over their bodies ,give lectures to disciplines,meditate or practic yoga.Devotees pray to shiva;s image inside the temple at midnight and queue for six hours to look at the Image.Bonfires are lit.neighbors and frinds share foods,and devotees enjoy two daysand neight music, song and dance throughout the pasupatinath complex and in the streets.

Sherpa's and Tibetean welcome
February- their New year with Feasts, family visits and dancing. Families don their finest clothes and jewelary and exchange gifts. Buddhist monks offer prayer for good health and prosperity, and perform dances at the monasteries. Colourful flags decorate streets and rooftops; the colour seems specially brilliant at the Buddha and Swayambhe stupas. Crowds of celeberants at Bussha bring in the new year by throwing tsampa into the air.

Holi or fagu Purnima
March- Holy is one of the most colourful and playful festivals of Nepal. The chir pole, decorated with colourful flags and erected the first day of fagu at Kathmandu's Durbar Square, is a formal announcement to all hide their good cloths, for throughout the week you may be splashed with coloured powder and water balloons. The last day is the widest: youths youths covered with red vermilion powder roam the street as inviting target.

Chaitra Dashain
March-April- Red vermilion powder, family blessings, and goat and ducksacrifices are essential to praise the victory of Ram , hero of the epic Ramayan, over the evil king Rawan. Mother Goddess Durga, the source of all power must be supplicatedtoo, for the powers helped Ram achieve his victory.

Ghode Jatra
April-Visitors are often amased by the fine horses of Nepalese army, and the Ghode Jatra is the time for the most graceful of these animals to perform before the public eye. Legend relates that this horse festival was begun after Kathmandu people buried a demon under the soil of Tundikhel showground's. The say that may raise again and cause worry to the world if he is not trampled by the horse each year. So, very spring, this victory over evil is celebrated in the valley br organised palanquin processions and a great display of show jumping, motorcycling feats, and gymnastics. Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the living Goddess Kumari, and thousands of people from all over the country are part of the jatra audience.

Biskate Jatra
April During this Important festival,The oid kingdom Bhaktapur and it is neighboring areas replay a drama passed on over the centuries. Image of warthful and some what demonic deties are placed on tottering chariots. they are offered blood sacrifices,Flowers and coins.Men brimming withful viogerand rice beer drag the chariots across brick-paved streets of the town, and wherever raths stop,too,are put on palanquies and carried arouund. So that they may see sights. At bode village ,there is a tounge -boring ceremony in which the dedicated may reserve a place in heaven. Red Machhindranath Jatra May - Until a few decades ago, before the Kathmandu valley become a purely hub, was an agricultue land which depended upon the rainy monsoon for its important rice crop. Today, through traditional farming practices have reduced, the pre-monsoon season still sees grest worship made to Red Machhindranath, a rain God. Patan's streets and palaces complex are made even more evocative by wavering lamp and candle lights, woman busily cooking feasts, and men gathering strength to pull the chariot of their red deity. As Lord Machhendranath views his followers from the high seat of his chariot, its four wheels, reprsenting the powerful Bhairab,receive and vermilion powder, the king of serpants is asked for blessing, and hos jeweled vest is shown in public. Buddha Jayanti May- The ever benevolent Buddha was burn in Nepal, and the religion he preached is the second most popular in the kingdom. On may 6, a full moon day, The Lord's birth, and salvation are prepared for the oncoming festivalities several days in advance. Monasteries are cleaned, status are polished, bright prayer flags waft in the breeze, monk prepared to dance. On the Jayanti day, people reach the stupa before down, go around them and give offerings to the many Buddha image there Gunla July- August - The monsoon has arrived, and the field have been planted. It is the time for Kathmandu valley Buddhist to observe Gunla. The month-long festivities celebrate a quot;rains retreat" initiated twenty-five centuries ago by buddha. It time for prayer, fasting, medition and religious music. Worshippers climb past junfles, stone animals, great, statues of the Buddha, begging monkeys to Swayambhu's hilltop, where daily prayers begin before down. Oil lamps, prayer flags, religious statues, and scroll paintings adorn the monasteries as temple bells chime and powerful scents fill the air. Important Buddhist statues and monasteries and the teachings of lord Buddha are remembered as the rains nature the rice, Nepal's most important crops.

Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan
August - On Janai Purnima, a full moon day, high-caste Hindus chant the powerful Gayatri Mantra and change their sacred Thread (Janai), while a raksha bandhan, a red or yellow protection cord, is tied around the wrists of other Hindu and Buddhist. Pilgrims journey to the mountain north of Kathmadu. Here they emulate Lord Shiva by bathing in the sacred lake of Gosainkunda. Those unable to make the trek celebrate at Shiva's Kumbheswer temple. Here, a pool with an image of shiva at its centre is filled with water believed to have come from Gosainkunda. Gai JatraAugust-The gai jatra ,or cow , Holy to Hindus.She represents laxmi, the goddes of wealth,and guides the souls of the departed to the gates of the Netherworld.But Gai jatra is not a somber Occasion.satire ,jokes ,fancy costomes ,and colorful processiona are the order of the day as people recall how an eighteenth-century king rallied his people to cheer his queen upon the death of their son. Those who have experienced the death of close ones during the past year share their sorrow and take the gai has safely transported the departed souls on their afterlife journey. Young man wearing women's saries , children dressed up as cows, and whimsical characters of all sorts fill the streets. Special issue of local magagines poke fun at everyone and everything's-even the most important people are not spread September- Pashupati, the temple of Lord Shiva, is drnched in crimson during Teej as women in their fine red wedding saris crowd the temple grounds. Thisunique woman's festival is marking by fasting, folk songs and dancing as the woman recall Parbati's devotion to her husband Shiva. Married woman visit their father's homes. All daughters and sisters receive gifts from their male kin, and an elabourate feast is prepared for them. It's loud and cheerful celabration until late late at night, when strict fasting begins. Unmarried women who fast an this day will have good luck in finding husbands. Married woman who fast their husbands faithful and see the bond of their love grow. The bleesings of Shiva and Parvati ensure that family life will be joyous for all.

Indra Jatra
September- Indra, King of Heaven and controller of the rains, has once again blesses the Valley. As the end ogf monsoon near, farmers look forward to a rich harvest; everyone is greatful to deva for hos help. For eight days, Kathmandu's Durbar Square is the focus of the great celebration fit to flatter " The King of Heaven."Indra's dhowj, or flag, iserected on the first day. It is said that many centuries ago, Indra's mother needed specially-scented flowers but could not them in heaven's garden. Indra discovered parijat flower in the Kathmandu valley and tried to steal them for his mother. He was caught and imprisoned by the valley people. When Indra's mother came searching him the people were appalled by what they had done. They released Indra and dedicated one of the most colourful festivals in Nepal to him to appease his anger. Masks and statues representing Vishnu, Bhairav and Shiva were shown in the public, and the Goddess Kumari witnessed the special occasion from her chariot. Indra is thanked for the rains and assured once again that he is respected in the Kathmandu valley.

October- Dashain is the longest and most favorite festival of Nepal. Everyone stays on their home with their families, offices close and Radio Nepal plays Dashain music. The sky of Kathmanduis filled with kites and the marketplaces are filled with farmers bringing their buffaloes, goats and chickens to sell. The animals are to be sacrificed on the night of Kal Ratri to the Goddess Durga to celebrate her victory over evil. On the day of Dashami, everyone puts on new clothes and goes to honor their family elders, where ther receive large red tika of vermilion paste on their foreheads. On the following day of Dashain,families and friends unite, feasts are consumed, blessing are imparted and gifts are exchanged. Nepal's most beloved festival end with the full moon.

November- Tihar, known as the festivals of lights, is the time of candlelight, tinsel decorations and fastive coloured sweets. On different days, there are offerings and small celebrations for crows, dogs, cows, and oxen. On the night of Laksmi Puja garlands are hunged and laps are lighted to invite Laksmi, Goddess of wealth into the home. Mha puja, the New Year's dayaccording to the Nepal Era, is the day of self, when people give themselves blessings to remain healthy and happy for the rest of the year. Bhai Tika, the last day of Tihar, is the day when sisters make offerings to their brothers. The ritual of breaking a walunt, putting on garlands of maklhmali flowers and encircling brothers in rings of mustard oil protects them from Yama, the Lord of the Netherw.

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