Monsoon season in Nepal is a joyous period that brings happiness to everyone. It is the primary season for agriculture as well as the season of several festivals in Nepal. A monsoon festival falls on a different date every year.
During monsoon season, Seasonal tourism activities in Nepal are low in numbers and trekking in monsoon season is not favorable time. However, during monsoon season, Pilgrimage tourists are high in number, mainly from India. They prefer to visit Muktinath and Mansarovar during the monsoon season as these places are rain shadow area. However, from the cultural point of view; monsoon season is one of the best time to observe Nepalese cultural way of Living, festivals, Monsoon cycle of agriculture and Lush green valleys with seasonal crops.
Ropai Jatra 29th June 2018
15th Ashar (June) is celebrated as Paddy Plantation day “Ropai Jatra” all around Nepal. “Ropai Jatra" is a most awaited and lively time for the farming community. This symbolizes the end of the rice planting period for the monsoon. It is a day when all farmers enjoy the end of the planting of rice and hopes for a great harvest. As a form of entertainment, they sing Nepalese folk songs and dance in rhythm on the field while cultivating the crops. For lunch, they eat homemade yogurt with beaten rice and drink a particular kind of local drink called ‘Chiang,’ which primarily is made up of fermented rice or millets or corn.
Kathmandu and Pokhara being popular tourist destinations, various programs/festivals are held to target the foreigners into participation. The visitors get to help the farmers to plant the rice plants and at the end of the day get to enjoy the splashing of mud and water, eat local fare with the locals while experiencing a cultural immersion. These festivals are gaining popularity and attract more tourists each passing year. On top of all these, you get to mingle with the locals, share a few laughs and even join them in traditional dances.
Nag Panchami - 15th August 2018
Some years Nag Panchami and Janai Purnima festival fall on the same day. On the festival Nag Panchami, Picture of Nags is posted above the doors of Hindu households in Nepal with the belief that it will keep away the evil spirits.
Usually, a priest visits the Hindu homes door to door with the poster of Nags, Dubo (Cynodondactylon). The priest sticks the poster of Nag by using cow dung, affix a coin and Dubo. People offer milk in the temples of Nag Pokhari (snake pond) Naxal /Kathmandu and Nag Daha (Snake Lake) in Lalitpur.
According to the Puran ”An Ancient Scripture,” the earth is lifted by Shesh Nag on his head with Lord Vishnu Sleeping on it is coil inside the ocean. Shesh Nag, Basuki Nag, Kali Nag, Astha Nag, Padma Nag and Karkot Nag are the most powerful Nags in Hindu religion.
The ancient scripture also mentions that without Nags, the rainfall would not be possible, that is why people worship Nags for bringing the rain.
Janai Purnima is the festival when a Holy Thread is placed on Hindu men which happens to fall on the same day of Nag Panchami.
On this day every Hindu is tied with a Yellow, red colored cotton string on the wrist of the right hand. The Nepalese people call it Doro. The Brahmins and Chettri communities change their Janai, on this day every year. A white cotton string is worn across his chest; while the colored string is tied around the wrist of both females and males. On this day every Hindu household makes soup with a mixture of nine sprouted beans called Kwati and is eaten with all the members of the family.
This day is also known as Raksha Bandhan in India. Raksha means to protect, and Bandhan means bond. The sisters tie a "Rakhi" on the wrist of their brothers and pray for the long and prosperous life of the brother/s. The brothers shower the sisters with gifts and assure the sister/s protection.
Gaijatra: 19th August 2018
Gaijatra is one of the most popular festivals that celebrate the cows. This festival came into tradition during the medieval period in Nepal, under the reign of the king Jayasthiti Malla.
According to age-old traditions, every family who has lost a family member within a year participates in a street procession. The Newar community of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur practice this tradition. When a cow is unavailable, a young boy is dressed up as a cow. This is a festival of satire and is meant to make the families in sorrow laugh to lighten their sadness.
A cow is regarded as the most sacred of all animals in Hinduism. It is believed that when a cow is revered, the deceased parents will find the way to heaven.
Krishna Janmashtami 2nd September 2018
Krishna Janmashtami is another one of the famous festivals in the Hindu religion. It is a festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna. Krishna is believed to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is considered very powerful. It is also observed to mark the victory of good over evil. All devotees gather in the ancient Krishna Mandir (Temple) in Patan.
Teej: 12th September 2018
The Hari Talika Teej is also known Teej. It is the biggest festival that is celebrated by Nepalese women all over the world. Every Married woman, Child, Young girls wear red and green attire. They are decorated with jewelry, gather at a place where they enjoy singing and dancing. The Song lyrics usually have words that describe the holiness and divine power of Lord Shiva. The musical celebration goes on till midnight or later. Meanwhile, the men on the maternal side host a feast for their married sisters and daughters to provide freedom to enjoy this particular festival.
The women go on a 24 hour long fast after the feast. Teej is a festival where the women express their difficulties and pain through the lyrics of the songs they sing.
The Holy Puranas say that this was the day Himalaya's daughter, Goddess Parvati finally received Lord Shiva after an extended period spent in devotion to him. Teej also celebrates this day. The married women fast for the longevity of their husband's life and health. The younger unmarried ladies fast and wish for an ideal husband.
Rishi Panchami is celebrated on the last day of Teej. The women worship the seven saints (Sapta Rishi). Menstruation is considered impure, so menstruating women are not supposed to take part in the religious performance. It is believed that Rishi Panchami is the occasion to wash off one’s impurities of the past year.
Indra Jatra 24 September 2018
Indra Jatra is celebrated to honor God Indra who is the god of Rain and the King of Heaven.” This festival begins on the day of Bhadra Dwadasi to Aswin Krishna Chaturdasi according to the lunar calendar annually. This celebration takes at Kathmandu Durbar Square also known as Basantapur Durbar.
The Living Goddess (Kumari) is taken from her temple on a palanquin while leading a parade through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Lord Indra. The procession of chariots, masked dancers that represents the deities and demons are the main highlights of this festival.
According to an ancient myth, Indra's mother Dagini wanted a Jasmine tree locally known as "Parijat" in the gardens of heaven for some ritual. Indra disguised himself as a human and came to earth for the tree. The community of Kathmandu valley captured Indra as he was trying to take the tree. The captors were unaware that they had caught the God of rain and Kathmandu suffered from a severe drought. Dagini came down to earth when Indra did not return to heaven. She discovered that the people of Kathmandu help him captive in a cage.
The people of Kathmandu released Indra upon Dakini's request. Dagini promised timely rainfall and good harvest to the residents of Kathmandu as a token of her appreciation. She brought the people of Kathmandu who died that year to heaven. Indra Jatra has been observed with enthusiasm ever since at the Kathmandu Durbar Square.