Festivals and Holidays
Government office hours are 10 am to 5 pm. On Saturday and Sunday in Kathmandu government offices (including Immigration) and embassies are closed. Banks are mostly open on Sundays and a few are open on Saturday mornings, whilst you can always use the cash machines as they donít close, although they have habit of running out of money some times. Souvenir shopping and sight seen are possible every day.
Nepal is land of colorful festivals and these are celebrated with intensity, especially by the less well- off masses. Dates are generally determined by the lunar calendar so it will fall on a different day each year. The following will be of particular interest to visitors.
Dasain (Bijaya Dasami):- This is the biggest and most widely celebrated national Hindu festival in Nepal, usually falling in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day, thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her. The tenth day is climax day. People visit to seniors for Tika (blessings).
Tihar (Deepavali/Diwali):- This is another Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal and as well as India. This is the festival of lights which falls late October or early November. The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The festivals and Holidays begin with the worship of crows, followed by the worshiping of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one's own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day and the grand finale to Tihar.
Mani Rimdu: - It is one of the most fascinating High Himalayan Buddhist festivals observed every year, usually in November. Tengboche, the world's highest monastery located in Solu Khumbu district of Nepal, is the focal point for the celebration of this festival. The main attraction of this festival is the various masked dances of religious significance.
Losar: - It is one of the greatest festivals of significant importance to the Sherpas and people of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated every year around mid February. The focus of this festival centers its celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawlakhel, Patan, Pokhara.
Buddha Jayanti: - Celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha in the first week of May.
Shiva Ratri: - Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva, is observed in March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes places in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India visit the temple.
Other then these main festivals and holidays, Nepal has lot of small festivals such as New Year's Day, Matatirtha Aaunsi, Rath Yatra, Ghanta Kharna, Guru Poornima, Naga Panchami, Janai Purnia, Gaijatra, Krishna Asthami, Indra Jatra, Constitution Day, Ghode Jatra, Prithivi Jayanti, National Democracy Day etc.