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Festivals and Celebrations

Holi – La Fête des Couleurs

Holi (festival of color): Holi (/ˈhoʊliː/) is a popular ancient Hindu festival, originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is celebrated predominantly in Nepal but has also spread to other areas of Asia and parts of the Western world through the diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.

Holi is popularly known as the Indian « festival of spring », the « festival of colors », or the « festival of love ». The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. It signifies the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. The festival also celebrates the beginning of a good spring harvest It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Calendar, in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, which falls around middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan (burning of demon holika) or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, or Phagwah.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus as well in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In addition to India and Nepal, the festival is celebrated by Indian subcontinent diaspora in countries such as Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

Indra Jatra

The Indra Jatrafestival begins on the 26th of Bhadon and lasts for eight days. This festival is held in early to mid-September and marks the end of the rainy season. On the first day a lofty wooden post is erected before the king’s palace or at other Darbur sites and dancers from all across Nepal perform with masks. If an earthquake ever occurred on the opening day of the festival this was considered a bad omen and the festival would have to be restarted.
On the third day, young virgins are brought before the king and worshiped and then carried through Kathmandu, mounted on oars. The highlight is parading the Kumar Devi (living god) through Kathmandu on a special chariot built just this purpose. The chariots are parked outside the Kumar Devi’s house at the Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Dashain – मोहनी नख

This festival is also called : Daśãi – दशैं, Baḍādaśãi – बडादशैं ou Bijayā Daśamī : बिजया दशमी
This is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese Hindu people throughout the globe. It is not only the longest festival of the country, but also the one which is most anticipated. It is a 15-day-long festival and holidays. As one of the popular countries, Nepal has its Hindu festival as Dashain. The festival falls in September or October, starting from the shukla paksha (bright lunar fortnight) of the month of Ashvin and ending on purnima, the full moon.
Among the 10 days for which it is celebrated, the most important days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth and the tenth, but tenth day is very important Throughout the country Shakti is worshiped in all her manifestations.

This festival is also known for its emphasis on the family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties. People return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate together. All government offices, educational institutions and other private offices remain closed during the festival and holidays period.

Tihar

Nepali authentic festival held on the 15th of Kartik in late autumn as part of the Tihar Festival.
Dog, crows and cows are especially prominent during this festival and dogs are commonly seen with wreaths of flowers around their necks. Crows are worshipped by offerings of sweets and dishes.The cawing of the crows symbolizes sadness and grief in the Hindu mythology, so the devotees offer the crows food to avert grief and deaths in their homes.
The fifth day, as part of the Tihar Festival, men visit the house of their sister’s, where sister put a tika or mark on his forehead and a garland around his neck. Sisters pray for long and prosperous life of their brothers. The men then touches the feet of their sisters. In return she receives a gift of money, clothes or ornaments.
Afterwards, it is the occasion for a big meal served by the sisters to the brothers. In return, they receive a gift of money, clothes and ornaments.

Chhat – छठ

This festival has different names : Chhath – छठ, Chhathi – छठी, Chhat Parva – छठ पर्व, Chhat Puja – छठ पुजा, Dala Chhat – डाला छठ, Dala Puja – डाला पुजा, Surya Sashthi – सुर्य षष्ठी.
It is a festival of the Terai and Mithila region of Nepal celebrated by the Nepalese people of Tharus, indigenous Maithils and Madhesi ethnic groups in all the major parts of Nepal including Kathmandu, the capital city of the country. In modern days, Chhath is even celebrated in hills by Pahari people.
The government of Nepal declares the Public holidays all over Nepal during the Chhath
It is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya and Chhathi Maiya (ancient Vedic Goddess Usha). The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress.

In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders. The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the setting and rising sun.

Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. There is a Shivaratriin every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or phalgun) and before the arrival of Summer, marks Maha Shivaratri which means « the Great Night of Shiva ».

It is a major festival in Hinduism, and this festival is solemn and marks a remembrance of « overcoming darkness and ignorance » in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as honesty, non-injury to others, charity, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva.
The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown.

Festivals and events celebrated in ashram

  • jan 4 : Birthday celebration of Gurudev (Ramchandra Das) with different cultural as well as social activities around ashram. The elderly of the village are invited. They receive a meal voucher and a winter gift: a pair of warm socks, a shawl, a hat, etc.
  • Feb 21 : Birthday celebration Mother and annual celebration of Sri Aurobindo Nagari Nawalpur- Branch of Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir.
  • Feb 29 : Supramental menifestation day- day of spiritual living.
  • Apr 24 : Annual celebration of sri aurobindo yoga mandir in Kathmandu, Nepal with different cultural dances , songs, spiritual discourses, chantings, seminars, drama etc.
  • 15th Aug: Birthday celebration of Sri aurobindo.
  • Nov 24: Annual celebration of Sri Aurobindo Tapobhumi- Gulmi.

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© Abel Millot — © Les Enfants de Ram — © Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir — © Auronepal Travel & Trek — Janvier 2020