Maha Shivaratri and Holi are the major Nepalese festivals which are celebrated by most of the population across the country with deep faith and believe. If you want to know more information about these two Nepalese festivals, read below in details:
Maha Shivaratri festival in Nepal
Maha Shivaratri festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva. Who is one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun. Which corresponds to the month of February – March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivaratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Linga to appease Lord Shiva.
Various traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri. Which absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.
To mark the Shivratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in river. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Linga with milk, honey, water etc.
On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual pooja of Shivalingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water. They amidst the chanting of Om Namah Shivaya and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or Jaagran is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spend the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking prasad offered to the deity.
Holi festival in Nepal
Holi is welcoming of spring and summer with color, friendships and love. It is also observed to get the blessing of God for coming harvests and fertility of the land. Holi in Nepal starts one week before the main day of Holi. There is a tradition of erecting a long bamboo stick (lingo) covered with pieces of different color cloths (Chir) in Bashantapur Durbar square, Kathmandu. On the eve of Holi the lingo is taken down and the Chir is burnt. The event is called Chir Haran or Holika Dahan. Holi then starts.
This festival is celebrated with colors, water, and music. People put color on each other as a token of love. People go houses of relatives and friends in the group. Put colors on each other eat sweets and move whole day. People dance and play music. People in Terai celebrate Holi the next day from Kathmandu Valley and other hilly reason of Nepal. Actually, there was a tradition of bringing Holi from places to places, so different places could have different dates for Holi celebration in order in olden days. In some part of India, this still holds true. Now, in Nepal there are only two day’s celebrations.
People used to make Pichkari (water guns) out of bamboo. And throw colored water on each other. Now-a-days balloons and plastic water guns (pichkari) are used. The balloon filled with water is called Lola in Nepali. Kids start throwing Lolas at each other from week ahead of main Holi days. People collect wood and burn fires and plays music and performs dances. Some drink bangs and go crazy and make jokes. The burning of the wood log in the village and town avenues is a very important part of Holi celebrations. This event is called Holika Dahan, the end of Holika. Holi is an official holiday in Nepal. Offices are closed on Fagun Purnima days in hilly reason to celebrate Holi and the very next day, Terai is off for the celebration.