Krishna Janmastami (27 Shrawan / 11 Aug 2020)
Krishna Janmastami in Nepali is a festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna. This festival is also known as Krishnashtami, Saatam Aatham, Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Srikrishna Jayanti. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated on Asthami tithi, the eighth day of the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the month of Bhadra (August- September) in the Nepali calendar of Bikram Sambat. Krishna Jayanti is a celebration of the victory of good and Dharma over the devil and bad power. We celebrate this day to remember that when the pot of sin is filled, there is an end to the devil, God will come to rescue. Krishna Janmasthami reminds us of those stories of the battle between good and evil and tells us that the good always wins. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated all around the world by all Hindu, There is tradition to observe fasting till midnight. They enchant Slokas from the “Bhagwat Gita” and sing religious songs (Bhajans). The temples of Lord Krishna are decorated and bhajans and kirtan are sung or played. The Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square, Narayanhiti Krishnamandir, and other temples of Lord Krishna are the centers for festivities in Krishna Janmashtami.
Teej (5 Bhadra / 21 Aug 2020)
Occurring around the month of August, Teej is a festival celebrated by women all over Nepal for three days. During this festival, women fast and pray for the health and well-being of their husband and family. Young unmarried girls pray that they will someday enjoy a happy marriage. Decked up in red sarees and red tika, bangles, women sing and dance to traditional folk songs for days. It is specially significant for married women, when they get a special invitation to visit their maternal home and feast.
Following a long feast also known as Dar, the women, sit for a 24 hour long fasting , where most do not eat or even drink water. What is fascinating is to watch women of all age group, young and old, dance for hours in the heat , rain, without a drop of water or food for an entire day.
It is a sight to behold at the Pashupatinath temple, where thousands of women draped in Red and green throng the premises of the temple. Observers can take photos of these women dancing merrily , where sometimes foreigners, especially women tourists are requested to participate in the merry-making.
The significance of such a festival is for women to ask for special blessings by Lord Shiva, to have attain a good husband in life, and to pray for his longevity and prosperity.
On the final day of this three day festival Women satisfy seven saints offering them food, money and various offerings, and also bathing with Red mud and brushing their teeth with Datiwan (branches of a bush tree) hoping this purifies their body and soul.
Indra Jatra (16 Bhadra / 01 Sep 2020)
The eight-day long Indra Jatra festival falls in September and is one of the most exciting and revered festivals of the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley. This also marks the beginning of a month-long festival season of autumn. It begins with the erection of a wooden pole made of pine at Basantapur Sqaure in front of the old Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
For the pole-raising ceremony, hundreds of spectators gather at the Palace Square and on the surrounding temples. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in a procession through the main streets of Kathmandu.
Masked dancers known as Lakhay take to the streets almost every evening accompanied by loud drums. The festival commemorates the time when Indra came down from heaven in human form to look for an herb.
Each night of Indra Jatra the shrines and ancient palace buildings around Kathmandu Durbar Square are aglow with oil wicks. Each night on the platform in front of the temple of the Living Goddess, there is an enactment depicting the ten earthly incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The large image of Akash Bhairab's head is put on display out in the open directly facing his temple at Indra Chowk.
In the afternoon of the day before full moon, ecstatic mobs gather near Hanuman Dhoka Palace for the long-awaited Living Goddess’ chariot procession to catch a glimpse of the revered little Newar girl who has been deified as Kumari representing Goddess Taleju.
The chariot of the Kumari followed by two other smaller chariots carrying a representative of Ganesh and Bhairav is taken to different parts of the old Kathmandu through the narrow alleys where people gather to watch and py homage. The festival of Indra Jatra ends with the lowering of the (lingam) pole bearing Indra's flag amidst religious ceremonies.