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Ghode Jatra
Ghode Jatra, or the Horse Racing Day, falls in the month of Chaitra (late March or early April). A grand horse parade takes place at Tundikhel, the central point of the city. According to folklores, this festival is organized to celebrate the victory over a demon named Tundi who resided over the meadow, today known as Tundikhel. Tundi was a terror and when he met with his death, people rejoiced by dancing on his body with horses. It is believed that the clamor of horses' hooves on Ghode Jatra at Tundikhel keeps the demon's sprit at bay as it still threatens to ruin the city.



New Year Day
Nepal follows Bikram Sambat calendar and the New Year day falls approximately in mid-April. It is known as “Navavarsha” in Nepal. The day falls approximately in mid-April. People enjoy the New Year by having gathering with friends or by organising outings. A day later, Bisket Jatra and Tongue Piercing festivals are organised in Bhaktapur. Of late, Pokhara has been organising various programmes to mark the festival. Such programmes are mostly targeted to foreign and domestic visitors.

Rato Machhendranath Jatra
This is the longest as well as the most important festival of Patan. It begins with several days of ceremonies and the formation of a wooden-wheeled chariot at Pulchowk, near the Ashoka Stupa in the month of Baisakh (March-April). The chariot bears the shrine of the Rato Macchendranath and carries a very tall spire made from bamboo poles raised from four ends of the chariot. This unwieldy spire is around 10 meters tall and on account of which, the chariot balances precariously. It is said that calamity is certain to strike the land in the event of the chariot overturning or breaking down during. The chariot is taken through all the ancient Newari settlement in Patan. Interestingly, only the women pull the chariot in one particular day. The festival concludes after officials show a colorful Bhoto 'sacred vest' from the chariot in Jawalakhel.

The festival of "Gai Jatra", the procession of cows, is generally celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (late July or early August). The festival of cows is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. The festival has its roots in the ancient age when people feared and worshipped Yamaraj, "the god of death". The festival began in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings. According to folklores, every family who has lost relative(s) during the past year must participate in a procession through the streets of Kathmandu leading a cow. If a cow is not available then a young boy dressed as a cow is considered a fair substitute. After the procession is over, people take part in another age-old tradition in which the participants dress up and wear masks. The occasion is filled with songs, jokes, mockery and humour of every kind become the order of the day until late evening.

During is the biggest festival of Nepal and it is celebrated in the month of Ashwin (late September or early October). It is the longest and the most auspicious festival in Nepal and is celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The festival is celebrated for fifteen days. People worship manifestations of Goddess Durga for the first nine days. Thousands of goats and buffaloes are sacrificed throughout the country on the eight and ninth day of the festivals. The tenth day is the main day of the festival as people receive tika and jamara from elders and receive their blessing. Dashain is also the time of great family reunion as family members from far off and distant relatives come for a visit as well as to receive tika from the head of the family.

Deepawali, the festival of lights, is the second biggest festivals of Nepal and it falls in the month of Kartik (September-October). In this festival people worship Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. The festival spans for five days but the major celebration occurs in the last three days. On the first two days, people worship crow, which is believed to be the messenger of god of death Yamaraj, and dog. On the third day, people worship cow in the morning and thoroughly decorate their houses and display lightings to welcome Goddess Laxmi. During the night, entire village or city looks like a sparkling diamond. During the evening, women sing Bhailo songs wishing for the prosperity of the house-owners. On the fourth day, people worship oxen and men sing Deusi songs throughout the night. The fifth day is the day of major celebrations. Women across the country worship their brothers and offer sweets and other delicacies. In turn, the brothers give gifts and other offerings to their sisters.

Mani Rimdu
Mani Rimdu is the biggest event of the year for the Sherpas of the Khumbu region. Sherpas from the Khumbu region congregate at Thyangboche Monastery, the picturesque monastery situated on a spur at 3,870 meters. The three-day celebrations of Mani Rimdu follow the ten days of non-stop prayer sessions addressed to the patron deities seeking blessing from the god of all mankind. The deity propitiated is Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The ceremony begins with the blowing of horns in the afternoon after which the abbot of the monastery accompanied by other monks chant prayers. The congregation is blessed and given holy water and auspicious pellets for good luck and longevity. An orchestra of cymbals, horns, flutes, and conch shells announces the start of the second day's celebrations. Monks in colorful robes and huge glowering masks perform dances symbolizing the destruction of evil. On the last day, tormas (figures made of dough) are consigned to a sacred fire. This implies the end of negative forces and the advent of a blessed new year. The festival falls in October.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 December 2009 03:48 )