Ram Navami and Chaitra Dashain Location: Terai & All over nepal
Date: 3rd April
On Ram Navami, the nineth (navami) day of the month of Chaitra, the Hindus celebrate the birth of Lord Rama.Lord Rama is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who from time to time appears on this earth in many different forms and restores order whenever evil gains the upper hand. Ram Naumi is celebrated with great pomp and show at Janaki Temple in Janakpur. Hindu pilgrims visit the temples of Ram Mandir, Janaki Mandir and Kanak Mandir on this day.
Chaitra Dashain is also celebrated by the Nepalese Hindus on this day.This day celebrates the victory of the forces of good over evil.Goddess Durga Bhawani, who symbolises powert and truth is worshipped on this day. Devotees throng the shrines dedicated to different goddesses.
Navavarsha or Nepalese New Year Location: All over Nepal
Date: 14th April
“Navavarsha” or Nepalese New Year falls on the first day of Baisakh . The Nepalese follow the solar calendar which is known as Bikram Sambat.According to this calendar, the first day of the month of Baisakh is taken as the first day of the year. Since this day is observed as a national holiday, people enjoy by socializing and by having get-togethers . The devout visit Pashupatinath temple for a holy dip in the river Bagmati that flows by the temple.
Bisket Jatra Location: Bhaktapur
Date: 14th April
In Bhaktapur, which is about 15 Kilometers east of Kathmandu, the New Year celebrations takes place with an added zest as ” Bisket Jatra”. During the festival, the chariots of God Bhairav and Goddess Bhadrakali are pulled by the people within the town limits. At an ordained place a tall pole is erected with two long embroidered cloths hanging from it. These cloths are said to represent two evil serpents who in the past had troubled the royal family by mysteriouly killing every suitor to the princess at night. According to the legend , a brave prince with the blessings of Goddess Bhadrakali came along and finally killed them, as they appeared from the nostrils of the sleeping princess . Thus, to show the townspeople the cause of previuos suitors’ death they were hung from the pole.The tradition continues and nowadys the cloths are hung to represent the two evil serpents. As the chariots are pulled around the town, there is a tug of war between the eastern and western inhabitants of Bhaktapur. When the pole finally crashes to the ground, the New Year officially commences.
Differnt variations of Bisket Jatra can also be seen in the villages of Thimi and Bode. In Thimi, images of the gods are taken around while the villagers throw red powder or vermilion over them. In Bode, there’s a tongue-piercing ceremony, with one villager spending the day with an iron spike piercing his tongue.
Location: Golla & Junbesi, Solukhumbu, Everest Region
Date: 22nd- 25th April Dumji is a festival celebrated by the Sherpa community. The responsibility for organizing the religious ceremony to be performed during the festival falls on every household once every five or ten years, depending on the number of households in the community. Monks from all the nearby communities are invited to take part in the religious ceremony. During Dumji prayers to various gods’ and goddesses’ are offered and their help is sought in subduing the demonic spirits of the village.Dumji also marks the death anniversary of the patron saint, Lama Sanga Dorji.
During the festival the monks perform mask dances representing the deities while a powerful mantra is recited by the head lama of the monastery. All the Sherpas from the neighboring villages gather in the courtyard of the host monastery. The youngsters gather and perform a comic skit, showcasing the negative events of the past year and negative character traits of individuals within the community. It is an occasion for Sherpas not only to witness the religious ceremony, to make offerings and to earn merit for their next life, but also to meet friends and enjoy good food and drink.
Gina Lee and I were thrilled with how smoothly everything went. We saw and learned much, and we marveled at the natural beauty of the places we visited.