Holidays in Nepal
Planning your trip to Nepal can take a tremendous amount of effort. You must make sure you have all the right materials, and equipment, time off from work, your pets are cared for (if you have them), your house or apartment is looked after, bills/taxes and other factors also play a part in timing your trip. And you haven’t even left the country yet. This doesn’t include all the planning you have to do in Nepal, such as where to stay, transportation, permits, licenses, when to visit and the list goes on. This article contains information on planning around public holidays in Nepal.
It sounds like a lot because it is. Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure is happy to plan all the details of your trip for you. If you are more of the DIY kind, we are happy to provide you with the information you need to make your vacation a great one. As part of our commitment to being of service to our clients and our potential clients we would like to share a planning tip that is almost always overlooked.
Public holidays in Nepal
There is one caveat to planning around public holidays in Nepal, and that is if you are booking a Nepal holiday package. In which case you want to go during these festive times. There are 2 major holidays in Nepal. They are Dashain, and Tihar. Dashain and Tihar are bothe celebrated for 5 days. In general, most of the country shuts down and celebrates these two holidays. The other holidays may or may not be observed in different location across Nepal.
If you are planning a trip to Nepal that requires trekking permits, licenses, or other government documents you must plan your trip in advance, or contact Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventures and we will take care of it for you.
The following list of months contains most of the public holidays in Nepal.
Maghe Sankranti is a celebration of the end of winter solstice. Observers of this holiday take baths in rivers, eat festival foods like sweet potatoes, and the mother of the household wishes the family members good health.
Sahid diwas is a festival celebrating the martyrs of Nepal. This day celebrates the individuals who fought against the Rana regime. Most of the martyrs are unknown, but people celebrate them by reciting slogans, or sayings in public gatherings.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated to honor Shiva. There is a Maha Shivaratri in every month, but the one in February is the most important, because it marks the arrival of summer, and Shiva’s overcoming darkness and ignorance. People chant prayers, fast, do yoga, meditate, practice self-restrain, and forgiveness.
Holi is the festival of color and is one of the holidays that elicits smiles from people around the world. There are 2 Holis in Nepal. The first is celebrated by the mountainous and hill districts, and the second by the people who live in the Terai. This festival is celebrated by throwing colored powder on people or by spraying them with colored water.
Nepali New Year is not a major holiday, but it is observed.
Teej is a holiday for women.
Dashain is a 15-day celebration, but only the most important 5 days are awarded as a holiday. Those days are the 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th days of the celebration.
On the first day, a ball of mud is made. Rice and other seeds are planted in it. The mud ball along with tika and flowers are placed in a dimly lit room and worshiped twice a day. People build bamboo swings for the children of the village.
People celebrate the 7th day by roasting sugar cane stocks and smacking them on the ground, which causes them to pop like a firecracker.
On the 8th and 9th days people sacrifice animals like goats, water buffalos, and chickens. Most people will eat meat on these days.
The 10th day a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermilion is made. This mixture is called tika and older relatives place it on the forehead of younger relatives. Parents and grandparents also give blessings and money to the younger members of the family. This day is an excellent excuse to visit old rich uncle Keith.
Tihar is my favorite Holiday in Nepal. It is a mix between Christmas/ Hanukkiah, and Halloween with a dance party. Tihar is also known as the festival of lights. It is a 5-day holiday where blessings are given to animals and brothers.
People start the celebration of Tihar by feeding crows and ravens. These birds represent sadness and grief, so people give them food to bring happiness to the household.
On the second day, people feed dogs and put garlands around their necks. This is probably the one day out of the year where dogs are treated nicely in Nepal. Most of the time people throw stones at them or hit them with sticks.
People celebrate the 3rd day of Tihar by feeding cows the best grass and putting garlands around its neck. This is seen as thanking the cow for providing milk and dung. People also celebrate this day with dancing, caroling, and going door to door asking for money and food.
The 4th day is celebrated differently for different groups. In general people feed oxen and give them blessings.
The 5th day is brothers’ day. People give money and blessings to their brothers.
Thanks for reading
Did I miss any holidays? Let me know in the comments, and Ill add them. Thanks for reading Public Holidays in Nepal.