Dumje- a Masked Festival is an ethnographic description of the great performance as celebrated annually according to the tradition of the Lamaserwa clan (Sherpa) in the village temple of Gonpa Zhung, Solukhumbu. Dumje festival celebrates and honor’s the anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. This festival is celebrated by performing various masked dance in the traditional musical beats.
Dumje festival is celebrated in various places such as Junbesi of Solukhumbu and Tengboche, Namche bazaar, Khumjung, and Pangboche of Khumbu Region. The festival is observed for the total of 4 days and falls in the month of May or June every year. The same festival is also observed in the month of January at the Gompa of Lamobagar village of Dolakha district.
People of the Sherpa community celebrate this festival gathering in the nearby monastery. During the festival the children, adults and elderly people are well dressed. They prepare their special drinks, foods and sweets for themselves and their relatives. The Sherpa’s observe this festival with joy and gaiety. Different pujas are performed during the event with the monks chanting prayers and beating drums. The reason of performing this puja is to pacify the deities because they might be angry with the pollution that was made by people in the past years. Overall the Dumje festival is characterized by the number of religious and legendary dances, the exorcism rites and the meditative worship.
Mani Rimdu, held during the tenth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar (right after the full moon of autumn), is an important festival of Sherpa people. Though, it is performed in three monasteries; Chiwong, Thami and Tengboche, it is observed with eminence in Tengboche monastery. It is celebrated for about two weeks, but only three days starting on the 13th or 14th day are significant for the villagers as they get the public audience of Rinpoche and the performances.
‘Mani’ means “part of the chant of Chenrezig” and ‘Rimdu’ means small red pills that are distributed at the end of the festival. It begins with an extensive portrayal of colorful mandala. The monks, with colorful masks and costumes perform a series of sixteen ritualistic dances depicting the triumph. Hundreds of Sherpas from all over Khumbu attend the festival, as it offers them the symphony of cultural spectacle and religious revelation. And apparently, tourists are no exception to it!
Today marks the end of the month-long celebration of Rato Machhendranath Jatra, the chariot pulling festival of the rain god Rato (red) Machhendranath. The valley’s denizens, especially the farmers, believe that Rato Machhendranath’s blessing is needed to bring in the rains needed for a good harvest. After journeying through many toles (localities) the chariot of the rain god finally reached Jawalakhel. Today, the fourth day of the chariot’s arrival at Jawalakhel is celebrated as Bhoto Jatra on Jawalakhel ground. A bejeweled bhoto (vest) of Machhendranath will be displayed before the public and other dignitaries on the occasion. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, Vice President Paramananda Jha, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal and other officials will be attending the Bhoto Jatra celebration.
One of the oldest and longest chariot pulling festivals celebrated in the Kathmandu valley, the Rato Machhendranath Jatra(chariot pulling festival of the Rain God) began from yesterday, May 7, 2011. Rato Machhendranath is regarded as the rain god by the valley’s denizens. His chariot is pulled by devotees through the major localities of Lalitpur for about two months. The Bhoto Jatra at Jwalakhel square marks the end of the rain god’s journey.
Though the actual festival is celebrated on 19th March, Kathmandu is already celebrating Holi – the festival of colors. According to the valley’s custom the festival commences with the erection of the ceremonial bamboo pole, known as ‘Chir’ at the centre of Basantapur Durbar square. The ‘Chir’ is already standing aloft at its place with devotees having erected it on March 13th. The valley’s denizens began the festival by offering the first colors of Holi or abir (colored powder) to the pole. The festival reaches its climax on March 19th, when the whole city is a riot of colors with friend as well as strangers applying Holi on each other and splashing water from ‘pitchkaris‘ (sort of water gun), water balloons or buckets drenching all and sundry. There is much laughter and merriment as people join in the festivities.
Basant Panchami marks the end of cold Winter season and the onset of Spring. Basant Panchami is also dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, Saraswati. This year Basant Panchami fell on 8th February, Tuesday. In Kathmandu a special function was organised at the Basantapur Durbar Square to mark the occasion. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal among other officials attended the program.