Nepal is a country of various religions. The country located in the southern part of Asia is known for its culture, history, art, and religion. Festival in Nepal is celebrated for the entire year as there are various of them. Also, the country has various religions so more than one type of religion is celebrated here. Dashain and Tihar are the major festivals that are celebrated by most people as the country has the greatest number of Hindus. Other festivals like Losar, Buddha Jayanti, Christmas, and Eid are also celebrated as a significant number of people of other religions also live in Nepal.
Festivals are the traditions and rituals that have been passed to us by our ancestors. Some of the festivals are only hundreds of years old while some have been celebrated for thousands of years. Every culture and civilization have its own culture and festivals which they celebrate on a specific day of the year. Mainly the festivals include the birth of their deity or the founder or the celebration of the specific day or victory that has occurred on this day.
Each culture and religion have a specific way to celebrate their gods and religion. Some just pray while some give offering while some religions also give the sacrifice of an animal.
Nepal and religion
81.3% of the total population of Nepal are Hindu peoples so the majority of the festivals that are celebrated in Nepal are Hindu festivals. However, it does not mean that Nepal does not celebrate other festivals than Hindu festivals. After Hindu, the highest percentage of another religion found in Nepal is 9.4% and their festivals are also celebrated across the country on the various day of the entire year. The population of people who belong to other religions is few in numbers comparing Hinduism and Buddhism, but a holiday is also given on some of the other festivals like Eid, Christmas acknowledging their religion and festivals.
Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal. It is celebrated by the entire Hindu community but is regarded as the main festival of Hindu peoples. It lasts for an entire 10 days. In the 9 days, various forms of goddess Durga are worshipped and on the 10th day, the festival ends with a huge celebration. There are various myths about the celebration of Dashain.
In ancient times, when the battle of Ramayana took place Lord Ram worshipped 9 goddesses of power to give him the power to fight the demon, Ravana. After worshipping the 9 incarnations of goddess Durga and gaining her blessing Lord Ram killed Ravan on the 10th day. To celebrate Dashain, also people worship the 9 forms of Durga for the nine days and on the 10th, day celebrate the victory of good over bad by taking the blessings and tika from their elders and respected ones.
This festival in Nepal has the longest holiday for the celebration of festivals in Nepal. The schools give about 15 days holiday for the celebration of this festival in Nepal. While the government holiday is about 6 days from the day of phulpati to the next day of Dashami. A few years ago, the government holiday was also about 10 days, but the holiday was shortened a few years back.
Thie festival in Nepal is celebrated by playing swings, flying kites, wearing new clothes, and visiting the various temples of goddesses. It is said that during the nautartha (9 days of Dashain) the temples are filled with extra energy and power, so people visit to get the blessing from the goddess.
Tihar is also the biggest festival in Nepal alongside Dashain. It is celebrated after Dashain, two weeks after Tihar arrives. Tihar is also the festival of worshipping goddesses. It is the festival of goddess Laxmi which in the Hindu religion is known as the goddess of wealth and prosperity. While Dashain is the festival of strength and blessing,
Tihar is the festival of prosperity, well-being, and success. The festival is for 5 days, and the holiday is for about 3 to 4 days. Generally, the two days of the festival, Kaag Tihar and Kukur Tihar do not have holidays and from that day onwards there is a holiday. This festival of Nepal is not only celebrated in Nepal but all the Hindu people across the globe celebrate it. In India also it is celebrated with great joy.
Tihar is the festival of lights so from the 1st day of Tihar the houses are cleaned and decorated with flowers also lights are put all around the house for this special celebration. The entire country looks different in the time of Tihar as the night becomes colorful with various beautiful colorful lights. After kaag and Kukur Tihar, there is Laxmi pooja where goddess Laxmi is worshipped for wealth and prosperity. After Laxmi pooja, the next Tihar is cow Tihar and Goverdan Tihar where ox is worshipped. Then the next day is the final day of Tihar. On this day sisters worship their brothers and are called Bhai Tika or Bhai Tihar. This day also concludes this festival of Nepal.
Maha Shiva Ratri is another important festival of Nepal. It is the night of lord shiva and people celebrate it with various rituals and doing many things. Unlike the other big festivals in Nepal Shivaratri is only celebrated for the day. From the morning of Shiva Ratri people after cleaning their bodies by bathing visit various temples of Lord Shiva. The temples of Lord Shiva are decorated with lights and flowers for the celebration of Shiva Ratri.
This festival in Nepal is celebrated more vaguely in the major temples of Lord Shiva like Pashupati Nath, Dole Shor, haleshi Mahadev, and so on. The biggest celebration of this festival in Nepal is done in Pashupati Nath as it is considered the biggest temple of Lord Shiva in the entire world. People from all over Nepal, India, and Hindu from other countries also visit Pashupati to pay their respect and get the blessing of Lord Shiva. It is believed that on this night Lord Shiva performs the dance of Tandava.
Teej is the festival of women, this festival in Nepal celebrates womanhood and being a woman. Unlike the other festival in Nepal, Teej is considered only the festival of Nepal. Some companies and offices also only grant holidays to women to celebrate, and men have to go to work like any other day. In teej women fast for the entire day. This fast is believed to be the most difficult one as some women fast without drinking water for the entire day. This festival in Nepal is celebrated by married women for the long life of their husbands, the peace and prosperity of the family.
While unmarried and about to be married women fast during this festival to bet better partners for their life. The first day of Teej is Daar day where before midnight women feast on tasty dishes and sweets to prepare themselves for the fast of the entire day tomorrow. The next day is the day of fasting, which is celebrated by visiting various temples of Lord Shiva and singing prayers. Then the next day is Rishi Panchami where various puja and rituals are done to end teej of this year. After three days this festival in Nepal is completed.
Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha who is also the founder of Buddhism. Lord Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha in Nepal. After leaving his life as the prince of the kingdom founded the path of non-violence which later developed into a religion of its own. The discipline and path that was discovered by the lord are still walked by millions. Buddha Jayanti festival in Nepal is celebrated to remember Buddha and his teachings. It is believed that on the day of Buddha Jayanti Lord Buddha was born to Kind Shuddhodan and queen Mayadevi.
Buddha Jayanti festival in Nepal is celebrated by teaching the teachings of Buddhism. People do not eat nonveg for the day and practice meditation and peaceful activities. The followers of Buddhism wear while clothes and distribute food and clothes to the needy peoples. People also visit various monasteries and the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Lumbini.
Janai Purnima is the day of purity and security. People celebrate this festival in Nepal by doing various activities. In the early morning, people wake and take a bath to make their bodies pure. On the previous day of Janai, Purnima people eat only one time and take a half-day fast. On the one-time food also, they only eat pure foods like fruits and similar things. Then the next day in the morning they change Janai which is given to them by the puret (holy people who perform mantra chanting, puja, and various rituals).
Janai is the holy thread which the Hindu people wear around their bodies. From the day of Bartabandha, they have to wear it for their lifetime. After changing Janai, on this festival in Nepal people wear Doro (A special mantra chanted thread the is worn around the wrist). It is either bound by puret or by the sisters. This day is also called Raksha Bandhan. This festival in Nepal is celebrated by eating quati (Quati is the mixture of 9 types of grain seeds that are eaten after they germinate). It is a very healthy food that people eat at this festival. On this day people also visit Gosainkunda to take a bath and change their Janai.
Indra Jatra is one of the street festivals of Nepal. This festival is also the biggest street festival in Nepal. The festival is mainly celebrated by the people of Kathmandu valley, even among the people of Kathmandu valley, it is the festival of the indigenous people of Kathmandu (Newar people). The main point for the celebration of Indra Jatra is Kathmandu Durbar square where people gather to celebrate. The festival is called Indra Jatra but is of two parts which as a whole is called Indra Jatra.
Both Indra Jatra and the famous Kumari Jatra take here. People in the masses walk around the streets of Kathmandu. On the street, various dances are presented. People dress up as gods and demons and their clash and struggle are shown in the form of dance and art. This festival in Nepal lasts for 8 total days.
Hari Bodhani Ekadashi
Hari Bodhani Ekadeshi is the end of chaturmasha. It is believed that on this day Lord Vishnu wakes up from his sleep. At this festival in Nepal Tulsi (Basil plant) is also married to Lord Vishnu. Tulsi is decorated and for the puja, people fast without eating food for the entire day. In the Kathmandu valley on this day, people specially visit chaar Naran. Chaar Naran are the four temples of Lord Vishnu that are located in various parts of Kathmandu valley. Changu Narayan, Bishankhu Narayan, Sesh Narayan and Ichangu Narayan.
It is also believed that the four Narayan’s across Kathmandu valley are brothers in relation. Some people even visit 4 of them on the same day. There are huge crowds of people at these locations at this festival in Nepal. Also, the devotee who cannot go to these temples pays their offering and worship on the other temples of Lord Vishnu.
Swasthani Purnima is the end of the Swasthani month. In the entire month each day, Swasthani is chanted into the house of the Hindu peoples of Nepal. Swasthani is the story of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati. The story consists of how they found each other and married. This entire month is considered very auspicious and powerful. Some people do not eat meat products and even garlic for the entire month and fast on Mondays and Monday is the day of Lord Shiva.
Swasthani Purnima is the end day of this month and the day when the Swasthani book and its story are completed. People also fast on this day and visit various temples of Lord Shiva. Shalinadi on the corner of Kathmandu valley is famous in Swasthani month as it is one of the real locations that is mentioned in the book. On this day people go to the Mahadev temple and worship. Also, the last chapter of the book is read and closed till the beginning of Swasthani next year.
Guru Purnima is a mainly Hindu tradition that is celebrated once a year to pay gratitude to the teachers that teach us in our lives. Guru Purnima mainly lies at the mid-month of the English calendar. This year’s guru Purnima will be celebrated at 24th July 2021.
Who is a guru?
Guru is a Sanskrit word, which when translated to English means teacher, guide, the one who shoes the path. In our life, we have a large number of peoples who teaches us many things in our life.
When a child is born, after roughly about a year the parents start to teach the various things. After parents, the child starts learning from the other person near to him, the relatives, siblings, and others. Then after becoming of age the same family members start teaching the base of the academics and letters.
After becoming of age, the children are sent to the school. The school, collage, university are filled with peoples who will teach them many things in their lives. In the meantime, an individual will learn many things in his life aside from school and collages. He/she may learn driving from his parents or siblings. Take up cooking class or learn from parents. Even after completing university, they will keep learning. People keep learning till they leave this earth permanently.
So, the question arises who among this individual is the Guru? Are, only the teachers wearing tie and teaching the formal education in schools and collages gurus? Or The people who teach you the skills needed in everyday life are your gurus? Or the parents who are the first teacher and teach the basic knowledge for everything are the actual gurus?
The answer is every one of them is your guru. Every person in your life who will teach you skill, formal knowledge, techniques, big or small, great, or little everyone is your guru. There is a misunderstanding that the people who teaches in school or college are the only real teachers. Yes, they are also the gurus who enlighten us. However, they are not the only gurus. Every individual, who will teach you. Encounter with whom will make you more knowledgeable than before are your gurus.
The guru can be smaller is age than you, little in economic status, despite everything if an individual teaches you, he/she is your guru and someone who should be respected by you. And, in respect all this phenomenal individual who guided and taught you in your life time guru Purnima is celebrated. They are the individual that deserve your respect and gratitude for all the contribution that they had in your lives.
The first guru and the first guru Purnima
Mahadev (shiva) was the first teacher (Guru) of the world and to honor the relation between him and the students, the students celebrated the first guru Purnima.
Mahadev in his Aadi yogi form discovered yoga and meditation. He was always inclined in yoga, meditation dance and other similar activities. The techniques and such postures and activities were never seen by the people of the world. Some ignored it and keep on doing their daily activities, some were enchanted by it and kept watching him doing so. However, there were some who wanted to learn the technique and methods. They had never seen so amazing thing tin their life so wanted to learn them.
The group of peoples who wanted to learn the techniques approached Aadi yogi and asked him to teach the technique to them also. However, the yogi rejected them flat and told them they were not worthy to learn the techniques.
Days passed, months passed and years passed. The people who wanted to learn the knowledge of yoga from Mahaddev kept on decreasing day by day. Only handful of peoples remained from the mass of peoples who wanted to learn yoga. They were persistent enough to never go back without learning yoga. They meditated, they kept on trying to learn, and did not gave up regardless the situation.
Watching their dedication Aadi yogi decided to take them as his student. The day Mahaadev accepted those peoples to teach yoga was the day of full moon (Purnima). By accepting the students, Mahaadev became the first Guru of the world and they became the first students. Mahadev, taught yoga to the remaining seven peoples, and later in time they became the seven celestial sages. After, learning from Aadi yogi they distributed the knowledge to the world.
There is another mythology behind the celebration of guru Purnima in the Hindu mythology. On this day Veda Vyas was born. The birth name of sage Vyas was Krishna Dwaipayana Vyas. Sage Vyas is one of the greatest teachers in the Hindu mythology. Sage Vyas is believed to be one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He was born to great saga Parashara and mother Satyavati.
Sage Vyas achieved many things in his life. It is said that it was sage Vyas who created the book Mahabharata. Sage Vyas spoke Mahabharat and Lord Ganesh wrote it down. It is said that before the time of sage Vyas, Veda was one and same and people were facing difficulty understanding it. Then sage Vyas divided the one Veda into four parts. He divided Veda into four parts thus Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda were born. For this contribution of his he was named Veda Vyas.
Sage Vyas have enormous contribution in Hindu knowledge, formation of Veda and Mahabharata. For this contribution, his birthday is also celebrated as guru Purnima. So, it is also called as Vyas Purnima.
Guru Purnima, is celebrated yearly to respect the relation between the first Guru and the first students. Since, the day they became the first teacher and student was Purnima. Every year on the very Purnima, guru Purnima is celebrated to respect the first guru as well as every guru in this world.
Importance of guru Purnima
Guru Purnima, as has a significant importance into the lives of the peoples. The importance of guru Purnima are as follows:
Highlight the role of guru and relation between teacher and student
Hindu mythology tells the relation between a teacher and student is as pure and holy as a parent and child. Guru Purnima highlights this very relation and celebrates it. A teacher passes down the knowledge that he has spent his whole life learning, countless hours dedication learning to his student. Then the student also, puts complete and utter faith in his teacher and whole heartly accepts the knowledge.
The world is what is today due to the gurus in world. Every knowledge we use, every formula invented, every invention that makes our life easier, every method of cultivation, every innovation in science, every food cooking method have been passed down through the relation of the guru and his student.
You can ask every individual that is alive in this planet about his/her guru, every person has one or more special persons who had taught them what they know. It may be life skill, the valuable knowledge of life, some scientific knowledge or even may that be an inspiration they had been taught and they had learnt. This prove that the teacher student relation will be alive and continue to go further, as long as the human race will exist in this planet.
The guru Purnima we celebrate celebrates this pure sacred relation between a guru and his student.
Guru Purnima is a tradition and an important part of our culture
Guru Purnima has been celebrated in our religion and country for the thousands of years. According to the scriptures and ancient texts, even then guru Purnima was celebrated to highlight the importance of guru. Year by year it was celebrated. Now, it has become an important part of our culture that shows our tradition.
Guru Purnima, is one of the major festivals of the people of Nepal and India. Like the other festival and celebrations, guru Purnima is also associated with a mythology. Also, like other festivals there is a unique way of celebration. Moreover, the type or ritual of celebration also differ from country to country and region to region. People celebrate it with their own tradition.
The unique way they celebrate this festival represents their culture, their way of living. The celebration also ensures that the thousands of years old culture is still alive and will be passed on to the next generation.
Inspiration to the teachers
Guru Purnima is a festival completely devoted to the greatness and importance of teachers. This gratitude and respect in the form of festivals will inspire the guru around the world to further dedicate themselves to teaching and passing down their knowledge to the students. Guru are hardly dedicated person and work hard to teach and inspire their students. Guru Purnima recognizes their dedication, and motivates them to go further.
Inspiring teacher is one part, guru Purnima also teaches the student the importance of teachers. A student may not know what hardship a true guru goes to teaches them. Our culture in the form of guru Purnima tries to teach the children the very thing.
How is guru Purnima celebrated in different countries?
Guru Purnima is considered a Hindu festival mainly. However, what much people don’t know about it is that, Buddhists and Jains also celebrate guru Purnima to pay their respect to the teachers. India, Nepal, and Bhutan are the countries which celebrate
Guru Purnima in Nepal and India
Guru Purnima is celebrated in both countries in almost same because both are Hindu countries and have similar traditions. The students bath early in the morning, and visit the temple to worship. They worship in the temple by visualizing and worshiping all the teacher they have had in their lives in the form of god in the temple.
After that, the children go to their schools and greet their teacher with sweets, flowers and greeting cards. Mainly, the schools and collages conduct the programs where students participate. At the programs students sing, dance, and entertain their teachers. The celebration is done to seek blessing and knowledge from their guru’s.
The adult also celebrates the festival with the same enthusiasm not just the children. The adult also visits their special teacher with sweets, spend time with them and seek their love and blessing. Also, if they are not close, they communicate over telephone or social media.
Guru Purnima in Buddhist country
Guru Purnima is celebrated by the Buddhists with the same enthusiasm as the Hindus. However, the mythology associated behind the celebration of the festival is little bit different in the Buddhist community.
Lord Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautam, prince of kapilvastu. He was destined to be the king and rule the kingdom or everyone thought so. However, Siddhartha thought the life of luxury and king had no meaning in the true sense. He wanted to find the truth and the universal knowledge and knew he could not do it as the king.
Prince Siddhartha left everything to gain enlighten. After leaving palace he was living with five monks. Then after some time Lord Buddha left those five monks also to gain further knowledge and enlighten. In time prince Siddhartha gained the knowledge through meditation and dhyana. After attaining the knowledge prince Siddhartha became Lord Buddha.
Lord Buddha after attaining the knowledge, wanted to distribute the knowledge to the world. To do so he first needed some disciple, who will travel various places teaching his findings. He found the five monks and asked if they want to learn from him. They also accepted with happiness.
Buddhist celebrate guru Purnima memory and honor of Lord Buddha, who gave his teachings to the five monks the same day thousands of years ago.
Buddhists celebrate guru Purnima little bit differently than Hindu. However, the goal is same, to respect the teacher and gurus. The followers of Buddha observe “uposatha” on the day of guru Purnima which means to be in peace and joy. On the occasion of Guru Purnima, the monks chant mantras in the gaumba. People offer sweet to their teachers and also help the poor peoples. People take vegetarian diet, give up smoking and drinks. Rainy season also start from this day in the Buddhist religion.