Nepal – January Festivals

Maghe Sakranti
Date: 14th Jan 2009
Maghe Sakranti is an auspicious Nepalese festival that falls on the first day of the month of Maghaccording to Nepalese calendar. This festival is said to bring an end to Poush an unfavorable month, when all religious ceremonies are halted. From this day onwards the sun changes its course from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere. As north is an auspicious direction for the Hindus, the day is celebrated as the festival of Maghe Sakranti to mark this change.

People celebrate this festival by taking a ritual bath in the river (usually at a confluence of two or more rivers) in the morning and putting tika on the forehead. After the ritual bath, people take certain traditional food items such as sweet potatoes, yam, a mixture of lentils and rice called “khichadi“, and sweet balls made of sesame seeds.

Date: 27th Jan, 2009
The Tibetans and Sherpas celebrate their New Year or Losar this January 27th. Their New Year is greeted by wearing new clothes, fine jewelleries and exchanging gifts with their near and dear ones. There is family feasts, gatherings dancing and merry making. Streets and rooftops are decorated with colorful prayer flags. Tsampa (roasted barley flour) is thrown into the air to welcome the New Year. Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity. The monks also perform dances at the monasteries.

Basanta Panchami (Shree Panchami)
Date: 31st Jan, 2009
Basanta Panchami marks the much awaited arrival of basant or spring season. Basant Panchami is dedicated to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom, art and music. It is believed that goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. So children are taught their first words on this day, for it is considered an auspicious day to begin how to read and write. Parents with small children make them write on the walls of the temples of Saraswati.

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