Celebrating Nepali Festivals
Nepal is a multicultural nation with more than 60 ethnic groups and almost all the communities have their own languages. It is a place of celebration and festivals which are connected with religion, tradition and social events.
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Here are some major festivals which are widely celebrated throughout the country.
Jitiya is one of the most important Tharu festivals celebrated by Tharu women. The Tharu women celebrate Jitiya by fasting or keeping “vrata” for the welfare of their children. The brothers visit their sisters’ home to invite them and take their sisters to their maternal home. The married women worship Lord Shiva and fast, not even drinking water.
Maaghi is the greatest festival of the Tharus. The festival is marked by taking bath at the nearest natural water sources like rivers and ponds and eating sweets prepared from sesame seeds (tiluwa laddu), rice pudding with sesame seeds (teel khichri), sticky rice (cheechar), fish and meat. It is called Maaghi, named after Magh, the month the festival falls on.
Dashain is the 15-day national festival in Nepal. The festival falls about in September-October. This festival is known for emphasis on family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties. People come back home from all parts of the world to celebrate festival and get blessings of their elders. Goddess Durga is worshiped for 9 days. In the tenth day Tika and jamara is put on the forehead by elder with blessings.
Tihar is festival of lights and colors. The five day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. The fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika, a day where sisters put “Tika” on forehead of brothers, to ensure long life, and appreciate the love and care brothers provided. When the sisters give the “Tika”, the brothers give gifts or money as a return.
Fagupurnima (Holi) is the festival takes place on full-moon day of Falgun according to the Nepali lunar calendar. It gives message to the people to maintain peace and evils should be destroyed. While celebrating this festival, people exchange color and greetings and enjoy singing and dancing.
Teej also known as Haritalika Teej, is a fasting festival for Hindu women. It normally falls in August or early September. Dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva, the festival is celebrated for marital bliss, well-being of spouse and children and purification of own body and soul.