Festivals and 
Special Events
Throughout the Year - 1

Darjeeling

Tibetan Losar Ceremony
Tibetan Losar Ceremony in a Darjeeling Monastery

| January to June |  July to December |
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| July | August | September | October | November | December |

Owing to the diversity of the population of Darjeeling, some festival or the other is celebrated almost every month. Most of the Hindu and Tibetan festivals follow the lunar calendar and so the date of the festival does not fall on the exact date the next year. We will update our page to give you the exact date of the festival in the current year. Also a public holiday means that all the Government offices and Banks remain closed that day.

JANUARY

New Year's eve and New Years Day is always a special day celebrations that go on the whole night.

Around the middle of the month Nepalis celebrate Maghe Sankrati (first day of Nepali month Magh) by eating only Tarool, tuber of various edible species of Dioscorea, known collectively as yam.

The end of January marks the end of the Tibetan Year. They have a festival to avert the negativity of the Old Year, and most of the Monasteries in the area will have cham (Tibetan Dance) during this time of the year. In Thupten Sangag Choling Monastery (also known as Dali monastery) they have a special Chakrasambhara (Mandala) prayer where one can see the colourful Mandala made of brightly coloured powder.

Preparation of Mandala
Preparing the Mandala with coloured powder for Chakrasambhara (Mandala) prayer

26th January is India's Republic Day. This is a public holiday and different areas of Darjeeling celebrate this occasion with special programmes.

FEBRUARY

Tibetan celebrate Losar (Tibetan New Year), this is the most important festival in the Tibetan calendar. They celebrate this for about a week with good food, new clothes and dances.

In the Shri Panchami or Sarswati Puja, Hindus of Darjeeling worship the goddess of knowledge Sarswati and the next day they take the idol with singing and dancing to immerse in the nearest stream. This is an important day in the Nepali calendar as this day they make a new beginning like a new account, sowing of seeds, etc.

On 11th January Tibetans celebrate Cho Nga Chopa in order to increase the merit and aid the devotion of future disciples, Buddha displayed a different miracle each day.

MARCH

In the beginning of this month Hindus in Darjeeling (specially people from the plains of India) celebrate Holi by smearing each other with coloured powder.

Nepalis dancing in Chaite Dasain
Nepalis dancing in the streets of Darjeeling with Damp (traditional musical instrument) in Chaite Dasain

Ram Nawami (Lord Ram's birthday), a Hindu festival, is celebrated by Hindus of Darjeeling by taking out a procession of the holy chariot with Lord Ram's idol. This day the business class Hindus start their new account. This day is also Chaita Dasai (original dasai of Nepali Hindus) and the day is celebrated with prayer to Devi (Shakti) for the triumph of good over evil. This day Nepalis put coloured rice (brightly coloured rice mixed with curd ) tika (mark on the forehead) as blessings from the elders of the house.

Tibetans celebrate Chotrul Duechen (Day of Offerings) during this month.

APRIL

Buddha Jayanti, birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, is celebrated with procession from Buddhist monasteries with Lamas (Tibetan Monks) musical troupe followed by Lord Buddha's idol, and the procession usually carries the Buddhist holy books around town.

Sansari Puja, is a Nepali Hindu ceremony for the good of the world. This day they worship Devi (Mai) (Goddess). They believe that if this Goddess is angry then you get diseases like measles, small pox, etc.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrated in different Churches in town.

Muslims celebrate Muharram during the first month of the Islamic year remembering Hasan's battle against Yezid with street procession depicting mock battles.

MAY

At the beginning of May Tibetans celebrate Saga Dawa and other Buddhists celebrate Buddha Shakyamuni's Enlightenment and Parinirvana. At the age of thirty-five Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. This day also marks the anniversary of his Parinirvana.

JUNE

Ashar ko Pandra (15th day of Nepali month Asar) is a special day for Nepalis to eat curd and chewra (beaten rice). They say that goddess Parbati had given Lord Shiva curd and chewra on this day, so if you take the same this day, you get salvation.

| January to June |  July to December |
| January | February | March | April | May | June |
| July | August | September | October | November | December |


Copyright 2000 Photos : Das Studio, Darjeeling
Copyright 2000 Photos of Losar and Mandala : Dali Monastery, Darjeeling
Copyright 2000 Photos Nepalis dancing : Hemu Rai, Darjeeling
Copyright 2000 : darjnet.com, Darjeeling
Text edited by Mrs. Eva Chettri
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