Nepali New Year: Celebrating the Navavarsha
Nepal, a country located in South Asia, has a rich cultural heritage that includes various festivals and celebrations. One such celebration is the Nepali New Year, also known as Navavarsha. It falls on the first day of the month of Baisakh (April or May) on the Nepali calendar, which is a lunar-solar calendar based on the cycles of the moon and the movement of the sun.
The Nepali New Year is a public holiday in Nepal and is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy. It is marked with various religious ceremonies, cultural programs, and feasting. During the new year’s celebrations, people wear new clothes, clean their houses, and decorate them with flowers and colorful lights. They also make special food items like sel roti, a sweet rice flour bread, and perform pujas to seek blessings from the gods.
The celebration of the Nepali New Year comes with joyful activities that include street dances, parades, and reunions all over the country. Parks and streets across the country are full of people celebrating, especially in Lakeside, Pokhara, Sauraha, Chitwan, and Thamel, Kathmandu. The Nepali people living abroad also celebrate the New Year by organizing various events, especially concerts by artists of their own nationality.
In addition to the Nepali New Year, there are several other festivals and celebrations that are based on the Nepali calendar. Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal and is celebrated in the months of Ashwin or Kartik (September or October). It is a 15-day festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. Tihar is a five-day festival that is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October/November) and is known as the festival of lights. Chhath is a four-day festival that is celebrated in the month of Kartik (October/November) and is dedicated to the worship of the sun god.
The Nepali calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar used in most parts of the world. While the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, the Nepali calendar is a lunar-solar calendar. It is divided into 12 months, each with its own name and number of days. The start of the new year in the Nepali calendar is calculated based on the Bikram Sambat calendar, which follows the solar calendar system. The new year starts when the sun completes its full revolution, passing through 12 zodiac signs of 30° each, making a total of 360°. When it passes from its last zodiac sign (Pisces), completing 360 degrees, the sun enters a new zodiac sign called Aries. The moment when the sun just enters Aries is referred to as the new year in the Bikram Sambat calendar.
The Nepali calendar plays a significant role in the celebration of various festivals and cultural events in Nepal. It is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the country and serves as a unifying factor for the Nepali people, both at home and abroad.
In conclusion, the Nepali New Year, Navavarsha, is an important celebration in Nepal that marks the beginning of the new year according to the Nepali calendar. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy and includes various religious ceremonies, cultural programs, and feasting. The Nepali calendar also plays a significant role in the celebration of various festivals and cultural events in Nepal, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the country.
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