Udhauli Parva in Province 1 in 2020

Udhauli Parva in Province 1 in 2020
Sunrise in Nepal Image via Pixabay

  Dates of Udhauli Parva in Province 1
2022 Wed, Dec 7National Holiday
2021 Sun, Dec 19Regional Holiday
2020 Wed, Dec 30Regional Holiday
2019 Thu, Dec 12Regional Holiday
2018 Sat, Dec 22Regional Holiday
  Summary
A festival celebrated by the Kirat community of Nepal to mark the start of the winter season

When is Udhauli Parva?

Udhauli Parva is a public holiday in Nepal's Province 1 and is observed on Mangsir Purnima  - the full moon day of the eighth lunar month. This means it takes place in late November or December in the western calendar.

Traditions of Udhauli Parva

With India to the south and the Himalayas to the north, it's easy to think of Nepal as a small country, yet with a population of some 24 million citizens, it's comfortably in the top 50 of countries by population.

The numerous public holidays in Nepal reflect the diversity of peoples and religions in the country.

A good example is Udhauli Parva, a harvest festival celebrated by the Kirat communities in the Eastern part of the country.

As winter begins to bite, the effects are more keenly felt at higher altitudes. Rather than endure the severe cold in the mountains, the Kirats move down to lower-altitude regions to see out the winter. This migration takes place on the full moon in the month of Mangsir.

This is the reason for the Udhauli festival, which the Kirats celebrate by dancing and singing to traditional songs. A special kind of dance called Sakela is performed to mark the festival, which is why the festival may be called Sakela Udhauli. A feast is also organised and the Kirat women wear chhit ko guneu (a dress made from a specially patterned cloth) on this festival. 

The Newari people celebrate Yomari puni-newars on this day by worshipping the goddess Annapurna and eating yomari (steamed dumplings with sweet fillings).

"Udhauli" means downwards and about five months later (in the month of Baisakh) "Ubhauli", the upwards version of this festival is celebrated, when the Kirats make their way back up the mountains for the summer.

And even though many Kirats may live in urban areas all year round, they still uphold their traditions and celebrate Udhauli and Ubhauli.

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