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Customs and Traditions of Nepal

Recreation, Holidays and Celebration

Several cinemas in Kathmandu show films from India, but films from the United States are rare.Nowadays, few halls show English movies from the United States too. Family-operated video cinemas in both large cities and small towns show up to three films a day. Nepal is a country of many festivals and celebrations during which people sing and dance. Popular sports include soccer, volleyball, and badminton. Many adults consider most games and sports only for children.

Nowadays, nightlife is very rare in Kathmandu. Other cities have hardly any nightlife to offer. After around 9 PM most of the shops remain closed.

Nepal has its own solar calendar called Bikram Sambat, with the new year occurring in mid-April. Dates for religious holidays and festivals, however, are based on the phases of the moon. Dashain takes place during two weeks in September or October and celebrates the inevitable triumph of virtue over the forces of evil; it is a time of gift giving, family gatherings, feasts, and rituals performed for the Goddess of Victory. During Tihar, three days in October or November, rows of lights are displayed on every building in worship of the Goddess of Wealth. Teej is observed in August or September and is a time for married women to go home to their parents, receive special treatment, ritually purify themselves, and pray for sons. Sons are prayed for because they stay near their mother—unlike daughters, who are married off into other households—and can care for her in her old age. Holi is a lively social event in February or March during which people dance in the streets and throw colorful powders on each other. Bhoto Jatra is a great festival celebrated in April or May and attended by the king and queen. The birthdays of the king and queen  are also celebrated. Christmas Day (25 December) is an official holiday. On the full moon of the month Baisakh—which falls sometime in April or May—the day Buddha was born, the day he was enlightened, and the day he passed into nirvana are commemorated.

For more information on the festivals celebrated in Nepal, see the festivals page.

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