The popular festivals in Nepal are profuse and varied; its multiculturalism makes it one of the broadest holiday calendars in the world. For this reason, you can find events in Nepal during practically the whole year.
The traditions and culture of the Nepali population, mainly Hindu and Buddhist, mark the celebration of holidays in Nepal. On the other hand, travellers must bear in mind that the Nepalese calendar is a solar calendar which is totally different from our Gregorian calendar.
Be that as it may, the popular festivals in Nepal are spread throughout its geography. Let's see what the most traditional festivities of this multi-ethnic people are.
January - Prithvi Jayanti
On 15 January, the Nepalese celebrate the Prithvi Jayanti, which is the day on which homage is paid to the late King Prithvi Narayan, the founder of the current state of Nepal. This celebration gathers the population in front of the Singha Durbar temple, dressed in garlands with which to decorate the king's statue.
February - Sonam Losar
In February, specifically on the fifth, Sonam Losar takes place, one of the most traditional popular festivals in Nepal. This holiday commemorates the New Year for the Tamang ethnic group, who follow the Chinese-Tibetan calendar. Prior to the festivities, the Nepalese are thoroughly employed in cleaning their homes and decorating them, as well as placing offerings on family altars.
March - Maha Shivaratri
March is a particularly festive month, as it hosts different events in Nepal to celebrate various festivities. We start on 4 March with the Maha Shivaratri, or pilgrimage to the Hindu temple Pashupatinath. The faithful go to the temple to ask Shiva for their wishes by performing prayers and offerings.
On March 7, groups of Nepalese belonging to the Sherpa, Yolmo, Yuppie or Tibetan ethnic groups celebrate their new year, the Gyalpo Losar. This holiday is related to the Buddhist religion.
We arrive on 17 March to celebrate one of the most striking festivities in Nepal, the Ghode Jatra or Festival of Horses. This massive popular festival is especially celebrated in Kathmandu.
And the month ends with the celebration of Holi, on 20 March, a festival which is deeply rooted in the Hindu population of Nepal. The streets are filled with bright colours, dances and songs.
April - Ram Navami
We continue with the popular festivals in Nepal, this time on 14 April, when Ram Navami takes place, a religious celebration which consists of a procession of the statues of the gods Rama and Sita through the streets of Nepal.
Also in April, on the same day, the Nepalese New Year is celebrated throughout the country according to the official calendar, so you will find numerous events, processions, picnics, food and traditional music.
May - Buddha Jayanti
In May, you will be able to attend one of the most sacred festivals in Nepal in relation to the Buddhist religion: Buddha Jayanti or the birth of Buddha. Cities of Buddhist tradition, such as Bodnath, are filled with flowers, lights and flags. The birds, which have remained in cages until that moment, are released and prayers are recited in the temples.
On 28 May, on the other hand, the country celebrates the Day of the Republic of Nepal, a day to honour and celebrate democracy.
June - Ramjan Edul Fikra
On 5 June, the Muslim population of Hindu origin in Nepal celebrates the end of Ramadan with large banquets, drinks and music in the company of family and friends. This festival is known as Ramjan Edul Fikra, and it is an optional holiday which Nepalese may or may not include in their holiday calendar.
July and August - Feast of the Fraternity
During the warmer months, the Raksha Bandhan or the Feast of the Fraternity takes place in different regions of Nepal. This celebration is a way for Nepalese people to gather families to celebrate their blood ties together.
September - Hartalika Teej
September is once again one of the months with the most popular parties in Nepal. The month begins on the 1st with the festival in honour of the goddess Parvati, the Hartalika Teej, a celebration during which the women dress in red and celebrate the festivities in honour of their goddess for three days.
Once the celebration of Parvati is over, the Rishi Panchami begins on the 3rd; during this festivity, the Nepalese Hindus recite the oldest Vedic texts in honour of the seven rishis or sages of the ancient Hindu tradition.
October - Dashain Festival
October is a perfect month to visit Nepal, not only because of the weather but because it hosts the most famous popular festivals in Nepal. First, on the 8th, the Dashain Festival, the most important party in the country, is celebrated. There are kite competitions, the streets are decorated and there is abundant typical gastronomy.
The month ends with the celebration of Diwali on the 27th, carpets of flowers and lights flood the streets and houses of Nepal. It is one of the most beautiful and lively parties in the country.
November and December - Guru Nanak Jayanti
During the month of November, Guru Nanak Jayanti takes place, one of the most important events in Nepal for the Sikh community. The followers of this religion organise nocturnal meetings to leave offerings in the temples, to share gifts and food.
In December, on the other hand, the Tamu ethnic group celebrates its New Year, which takes place on 30 December. It should be noted that the western Christmas is also celebrated in many places in Nepal.
Now you can match your trip with one of the popular festivals of Nepal to enjoy the cultural tradition of this incredible country.