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Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year) 2024

A major holiday in Nepal is celebrated with interesting rituals to observe

Dates: April 13, 2024

Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year)
Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year)
Bisket Jatra (Nepali New Year)

Bisket Jatra marks the start of the new year on the Bikram Sambat calendar. According to a legend, this is the festival marking the death of the serpent. It is observed in several regions of Nepal but the most vivid festivities are held in Bhaktapur, an ancient Newa city in the eastern part of the Kathmandu Valley, just about 15 km from the capital. Celebrations usually start at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square in Bhaktapur.

One of the most exciting events is a massive tug-of-war between the upper and lower areas of town. You will see a huge chariot topped by a statue of the God Bhairava or Bhairab carried by hundreds of devotees to the Khalla Tole. That's where the chariot battle is taking place. The collision of chariots representing male and female deities, Bhairab and Bhadrakali, symbolise ritual consummation and fertility.

On the second day of the New Year, people mark Sindure Jatra Festival. In a town of Bode, a tongue-piercing ritual is held, followed by a massive procession.

On this day, children also give sweets, fruits and gifts to their mothers to show love and gratitude. Adults whose mothers have died visit Mata Tirtha in the west of Kathmandu to immerse themselves in water and make offerings to honour their late mothers.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin