Government office hours are 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturday and Sunday in Kathmandu government offices and embassies are closed. Banks are mostly open on Sundays and a few are open on Saturday mornings, whilst you can always use the cash machines as they don’t close, although they have habit of running out of money some time. Souvenir shopping and sightseeing are possible every day.
Nepal is recognized as the land of colorful, vivid festivals. Most of the festivals has religious connotations or are focused on events from epic literature and ancient mythology.
If you plan a trip to Nepal, try to visit the country during one of these festivals, it will be an unforgettable experience.
Major Festivals of Nepal:
January – February (Magh):
LOSAR – The Tibetan New Year. This splendid festival is celebrated at the big stupa Boudhanath and at Swayambunath in Kathmandu. The Sherpa population of Solu Khumbu region celebrates the beginning of the New Year during this period as well.
February – March (Falgun):
MAHA SHIVARATRI –The birth of Lord Shiva is celebrated in all the temples consecrated to this divinity, especially in the temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and thousands of people come from all over Nepal and India to be part of this celebration
HOLI – This lively celebration is closely related to the water festivals that take place in Thailand and Myanmar. Holi is also known as the festival of colors and on this day people play with colors with friends and families. The vibrancy of colors brings a lot of positivity in life and Holi being the festival of colors is actually a day worth rejoicing.
April – May (Baisakh):
BISKET JATRA – The Nepalese New Year. The parade of chariots (locally known as Rathas) in Bhaktapur represents the most spectacular celebration of the New Year and is one of the most popular events in the Valley. The chariots of Bhairav (the fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva) and Bhadrakali (his wife) are pulled through the town, then pause for a tug of war between the eastern and western sides of town and then move down a steep road leading to the river, where a 25 meter high lingam (vertical pole) is erected. In the evening of the following day is pulled down, again in a tug of war and as the pole crashes the official New Year starts.
May – June (Jeth):
BUDDHA JAYANTI – The birth of Lord Buddha. In Lumbini, where Lord Buddha was born, a big fair is held and lively celebrations take place at Swayambunath, Boudhanath and Patan.
July – August (Saun):
JANAI PURNIMA – Janai Purnima is the Sacred Thread Festival. On this day, the Brahmins and Chettris perform their annual change of Janai (the cotton string worn across the chest by Hindu male) and Shamans of the Valley and around Nepal gather to perform their ancient rites in places like Kumbeshwar temple in Patan, the sacred lake Gosaikunda in Langtang and Charikot in Dolaka.
August – September (Bhadra):
GAI JATRA – The festival of cow commemorate the deceased of the past year. The Newar people believe that after death cows lead the dead in the presence of Yama, the God of Death. On this day, children dressed as cows parade on the streets. It is a festival of dancing and singing.
TEEJ – It is a festival celebrated by women all over Nepal for 3 days. Thousands of women dressed in red sarees and red tika dance and sing traditional folk songs at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. Women ask for special blessings by Lord Shiva to have a good husband and pray for his longevity and prosperity.
INDRA JATRA – It is the largest street festival in Nepal and is celebrated by Nepalese to pray Indra (God of Rains) and Dagini (his mother) for a good harvest and commemorate the deceased of the past year.
September – October (Ashwin):
DASAIN – It is the biggest and most widely celebrated national Hindu festival in Nepal. It celebrates the victory of Durga over evil represented by the God Buffalo Mahisasura. Of the full two weeks of celebrations the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. On the 9th day thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her and on the 10th day people visit seniors to get tika (blessing)
October – November (Kartik):
TIHAR – This is the festival of lights in the bright blue days of autumn. This 5 day festival begins with the worship of crows that are regarded as the messengers of Lord Yama (God of Death). The second day of Tihar is observed by worshipping dogs as the guards of the house. On the third day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped and on the 5th day – Bhai Tika – sisters worship their brothers.
MANI RINDU – It is one of the most fascinating Buddhist festivals and takes place in Tengboche Monastery located in Solu Khumbu region. This 3-day festival celebrates the victory of Buddhism over the bon religion. The main attraction of it are the various masked dances of religious significance