312 Pages
    by Routledge

    First Published in 1971, The Festivals of Nepal describes the most important festivals from the country, which have been arranged according to the ancient Nepalese calendar, beginning with the New Year in mid-April. The author provides, moreover, a brief introductory sketch of Nepalese geography, history, and religion, to give background to what follows.

    When Mary Anderson began her five year residence in Kathmandu as the wife of a diplomat, she attended the frequent Nepalese festivals up and down the Valley because they were mysterious, colourful and great fun. But soon she became more deeply absorbed in the meaning of these ancient activities as she grew quickly aware that to the Nepalese themselves the ancient processions and rituals were of great importance. Somewhere, almost every day, there seems to be in Nepal a festival of some kind, but now that this hitherto secret land has been opened up to tourists and foreign influences, much of this historic pageantry may well be lost. The modernization of Nepalese society is certain to have its effects, but when these artless celebrations become the goal of spectators from outside, they will also lose its spontaneity. Mary Anderson was determined to record as many of them as she could, explaining their mythological, religious and historical backgrounds and relating some of the wealth of legends and folk tales that surround them. This is an interesting read for students of sociology of culture, South Asian studies, South Asian religion and culture and Hindu religion.

    Author’s Note Foreword Introduction Part I: April- May 1. Nawabarsa and Bisket, Nepalese New Year in Bhadgaon and Thimi 2. Mata Tirtha Puja, Looking upon Mother’s Face 3. Rato Machhendranath Rath Jatra, the Chariot Ride of Red Machhendra 4. Buddha Jayanti Purnima, the Full Moon of Lord Buddha’s Birth Part II: May- June 5. Sithinakha or Kumar Sasthi, the Birthday of Warrior- God Kumar Part III: July- August 6. Ghanta Karna, the Night of the Devil 7. Gunla, the Sacred Month of Lord Buddha 8. Naga Panchami, the Day of the Snake Gods 9. Janai Purni or Raksha Bandhan, the Sacred Thread Festival Part IV: August – September 10. Gai Jatra, the Procession of Sacred Cows 11. Krishna Jayanti, Lord Krishna is Born on Earth 12. Gokarna Aunsi, Nepalese Father’s Day 13. Tij Brata, the Fasting Festival for Women Only 14. Ganesh Chata, the Elephant God curses the Moon 15. Indra Jatra or Kumari Jatra, King of Gods and a Living Goddess Part V: September- October 16. Sorah Shraddha, Sixteen Days of Ancestor Worship 17. Dasain or Durga Puja, the Universal Mother Goddess Triumphs over Evil 18. Pachali Bhairab Jatra, the God of Terror rides again Part VI: October- November 19. Tihar or Diwali, Goddess Laxmi’s Festival of Lights 20. Haribodhini Ekadasi the Return of the Lord Vishnu 21. Mahalaxmi Village Puja, for the Goddess of Wealth and Harvest Part VII: November- December 22. Gujeswari Jatra, Worship of the Secret Goddess 23. Indriani Pujaand Nhaya Gaya Jatra, Festival of Goddess Indriani and the Seven Villages 24. Bala Chaturdashi, in Remembrance of Bala and the Dead 25. Sita Bibaha Panchami, the Wedding of Goddess Sita and Lord Rama 26. Yomarhi Punhi or Dhanya Purnima, Rice Cakes for the Harvest moon Part VIII: December- January 27. Seto Machhendranath Snan, the Public Bath of Lord White Machhendra 28. The Holy Month of Magh 29. Bhimsen Puja, a Deified War Hero becomes Patron Saint of Merchants 30. A Thousand and One Lights, the Buddhist Procession at Bodhnath Part IX: February- March 31. Shiva Ratri, the Sacred Night of Lord Shiva 32. Holi, Red Powder, Romance and Haunting Demons Part X: March-April 33. Chakandeo Jatra, a Traveling Merchant becomes a God 34. Pisach Chaturdashi, Pahachare, and Ghora Jatra, Devils, Guests and Racing Horses 35. Balaju Jatra or Lhuti Punhi, Holy Bathing at Balaju at Full Moon 36. Sapana Tirtha Mela, Dreams and Renewed Life for the New year Bibliography Index


    Mary M. Anderson lived in China for more than twenty years and has written extensively on Asian history and culture.

    “The author of this unpretentious book spent five years in Nepal as the wife of a diplomat, and during that time she observed many of the festivals and rituals which gave colour to the life of the people of the Nepal Valley. The descriptions of what she has seen and heard are vivid and clear, and the book should be useful to foreign residents and tourists wanting to know what festivals are to be held at specific times of the year, and what meaning the performers attribute to the various rites and ceremonies…In this she has succeeded and the book may even encourage anthropologists to take a closer look at some of the rituals which reflect traditional relations between the various sections of the multiethnic society of the Nepal Valley.”

    - C. Von Füruer, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Volume 36 Issue 1