Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world when it comes to the festivals and rituals. Janai Purnima & Gai Jatra are among the many. The country where the maximum number of population follows the Hindu religion, many of the Nepalese festivals are associated with the Hindu religion. With the population of 82% Hindus and 9 % Buddhists it has influenced a lot in the cultural festivals of Nepal. Among many communities living, the Newars are the historical inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley and its surrounding areas in Nepal. They are well known for their rich culture and festivals. Gai Jatra, an entirely Newari festival is dedicated to the Newars who have lost loved ones during the year. Janai Purnima is another amazing festival that falls in the month of Bhadra which is celebrated among all the Hindus and Hindu related religions like Buddhist and Jain.
The Festival Janai Purnima also known as Rakshyabandhan takes place on the full moon of Shrawan month. “Janai” meaning a sacred thread worn by Brahmans of the Hindu community and “Purnima” means a full moon. On this day the Brahmans bathe in sacred streams and visit their temples and the where the priests offer a sacred and holy thread to the wrists of their followers and in return receive gifts. Brahmans also get rid of the old Janai and get a new one from the priest on this day. In the Newar community however, this festival is known as Kwati Purnima. The “kwati” is a mixed soup of nine types of sprouted beans. The Kwāti is eaten not only as delicacy but for its health benefits and ritual significance. It is believed that the soup from the sprouted beans have a medicinal value for the cold and disease in the rainy season. This year the Janai Purnima falls on 18th of August 2016.
The Gai Jatra is an entirely Newari festival for Newars who have lost loved ones during the year. “Gai” means a Cow which is considered as a holy or sacred animal in the Hindu community and “Jatra “means the street festival. During the festival, cows are marched in the streets with the family members of deceased person during the year. The members traditionally disguise themselves as cows and dance around the streets. The streets are also roamed with performers with a masked dance with the singing of songs. Gai Jatra is a festival which enables the people to accept the reality of death and to prepare themselves for life after death. This year the Gai Jatra falls on 19th August 2016.
The festivals such as Gai Jatra and Janai Purnima can be a great occasion for you to witness, if you are willing to experience the real tradition and culture of Nepal in depth. With the arrival of the festivals such as these, it also indicates the end of the monsoon season in Nepal. Soon after, the new trekking atmosphere in Nepal rises and builds up. Upper Mustang Trekking and The Annapurna Panorama Trek are one the best treks you can enjoy during this time of the year. Tibet Tours and Trekking at Bhutan is also great at this period to enjoy the trekking for the trek lovers.