Festivals of Newar? Yes. If you know Newari Culture and Traditions, its the one of the exciting part of life in Kathmandu. Being a culturally and historically rich city, Kathmandu is famous for temples, cultures, and food. Newari people are fond of their Festivals, Cultures, Traditions, and Values. Almost every month, they celebrate some kind of festival. Eating different food items and celebrating different festivals is the way of life of the Newari people. Furthermore, here are the 5 Big Festivals of Newar. Each of these festivals has its own norms and values. The Newar community people celebrate festivals such as Indra Jatra, Bisket Jatra, Macchindranath Jatra, Yomari Punhi, Dashain, Tihar, Kwati Punhi, etc. The people are celebrating these festivals through different periods and during different dynasties.
Not only in Kathmandu or surroundings, the Newari people scattered across Nepal celebrate some of these festivals with same devotion and faith.
Indra Jatra (Yen Ya Punhi): Newari Festival Devoted to the Rain God
This is one of the major festivals here in Kathmandu valley. During this festival, with great faith and devotion the Newari people pull the chariot of Goddess Kumari, Lord Ganesh, and Lord Bhairab through different parts of the inner cities. It lasts for eight days and celebrated in the month of August / September. During this time, different other mask dancers perform in a different part of the inner cities where the chariot processions happen. The most interesting part of this festival is the dance and teasing of of “Lakhe” and “Jhalinchaa” (dragonfly). This procession happens around the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The Devotees display the head of different Bhairavs openly during this festival.
Yomari Punhi – A Complete Newar Festival with Food
People celebrate this festival during the full moon in the month of November-December. Yomari is a popular dish among the Newar community. The cooks, especially Newar women use the dough from the freshly harvested rice to prepare Yomari. Make some hollow fish-shaped dough, fill it with brown cane sugar mixed with sesame seed and steam it like dumplings, you have your Yomari. In the winter season, generals believe that this dish gives you energy and saves you from cold.
Bisket Jatra – A Nepalese New Year Festival
This festival is celebrated during the Nepali New Year i.e. during April. It is celebrated for nine days. It is most popular in Bhaktapur district which is located towards the east of Kathmandu. The major attraction of this festival is the chariot pulling of Bhairav. Two parties from the upper town and lower town tries to pull the chariot to their respective towns. The crowd during this festival is something to look for. Huge crowds gather from different parts of the city to observe this festival. While the local musician groups gather together playing different musical instruments and chanting bhajans. Another attraction of this festival is pulling down a 25-meter long wooden log. This festival is also celebrated in Tokha, other cities of Kathmandu.
Dashain (Mohani) – Biggest Festival in Nepal
This is one of the major festivals not only for the Newar community but for the whole country. This is a festival where people gather together to get a blessing from the older member of the home. As it is a 10-15 day-long festival, people get a chance to visit their homes and relatives. It is a vacation where they get a break from the hectic daily routines and spend some time with the friend and family. This is the festival where people visit their respective homes. During this festival, people get an invitation from their relatives to get blessings. People often visit different religious shrines to worship god and goddess. People celebrate Dashain in almost every part of Nepal.
Tihar (Swonti) – Festival of Lights, Sweets, and Colors
Also known as the festival of light, this festival is celebrated for five days. The first day, they worship crow, and the second day, they worship dogs for being loyal. On the third day, people worship Goddess Laxmi (goddess of wealth). The fourth day is also a Newari New Year (Nhu Daa). Different rally takes place throughout the city and in the evening, they worship themselves (Mha Puja). The fifth day is Bhai Tika where sisters worship younger / older brothers and wish for their long life and prosperity. In short, the biggest festivals Nepal with the celebration of the Newar community make october and November the best months for Nepal Trekking.
Festivals of Newar, Their Culture and Food in Conclusion.
All of these festivals have their significance. Almost every festival has the same kind of dishes with a few exceptions. The main aim of this festival is to protect their culture and gathering of friends and families, enjoy food and enjoy life. Not to mention, in almost every festival, there are special drinks Aila or Thow, home-brewed rice wine, and alcohol. While some of the festivals have lost their charms, the active participation of the young generations preserves and revives the festivals and hands them over to the future generation in the Newar Community.