Happy Navavarsha

13th April 2016

Happy New Year! (or Navavarsha). In Nepal, today marks the beginning of the year 2073.

The country uses the Bikram Samvat calendar, a lunisolar calendar which is currently about 56 years and 8 months ahead of the Gregorian calendar. The Bikram Samvat calendar was introduced by Nepal's Shah kings, who migrated from India to Nepal during the middle ages. Nepali New Year, alongside the Tibetan New Year in February and the Gregorian New Year in January, is just one of three celebrations in the country.

How will Nepal be celebrating?

Many ways! Early in the morning, the celebrations start with prayers and worship at the temple making offerings or ‘Puja’ for the gods.

The entire country then comes to life. Processions take over the streets with participants playing drums, dressed in traditional clothing. The streets are decorated with New Year greetings and the President of Nepal broadcasts a good will message to the country. The people and the streets glow a bright red, as vermillion powder, known as sindoor, is thrown and painted on faces.

drums shindoor
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/MSNBC/Compon 1

For many young people, the day is dominated by traditional games and sports and many of them take part in pageants and contests to showcase their talents.

Minority communities also celebrate the day with specific traditions. Newar people, who make up around 1.3 million of Nepal’s population, celebrate by performing Mha Puja – praying for longevity. As part of the ritual, they paint drawings of their family members and make offerings to the mandala, including foods such as eggs, smoked fish and rice wine.

In the city of Bhaktapur, Nepali New Year coincides with another important festival – Bisket Jatra, which celebrates the battle of Mahabharata. Crowds gather in the city and images of local deities are placed on chariots and hauled around and are worshipped with offerings of money, flowers and sometimes blood. The day climaxes with a tug-of-war between those from the upper part of the city against those from the lower part. The winning team is blessed with a wonderful New Year!

http://reviewnepal.com/socialevents/thum 1
http://reviewnepal.com/socialevents/thum 1

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