New Year in Nepal. Bisquet Festival

In the spring, when the trees are blooming in the Himalayan valleys and the air temperature becomes very comfortable, the Nepalese celebrate the New Year’s Festival – Bisket for nine days. It usually starts on April 10 and lasts until April 19. Bisquet is celebrated not according to the lunar, but according to the solar calendar, so the dates of the holiday do not change.

An interesting tradition in celebrating Bisquette exists in the city of Bhaktapur, an ancient Newar city located east of Kathmandu. It is located on the Hanumante River and translates as “city of believers”.

The festivities begin with the huge chariots on which the figure of the god Bhairava (the frightening form of Shiva) and the goddess Bhadrakali squeaky stops in the center of the city. Here interesting events unfold – a tug of war between the residents of the eastern and western districts of the city of Bhaktapur. The ropes are tied to chariots. Each group is trying to pull the ancient chariot to their side.

A real battle unfolds between the teams, after which the chariots follow to the riverbank, where the men try their best to lift a ceremonial lingam 25 meters high, made of bamboo. The lingam has a transverse beam with two strips of fabric hanging from it. It is a symbol of two slain snakes. The ceremonial lingam rises until the next day. When the lingam is installed, thunderous applause and shouts of victory are heard.

The next day, New Year is celebrated. And again, the residents of the city are participating in the tug-of-war. The chariots again arrive at the place where there is a huge lingam. In the evening, he must be thrown to the ground by the participants in the processions. During this time, many Nepalese perform ablutions, sacrifices and other rituals to pacify the gods and goddesses. As soon as the lingam is on the ground, the Nepalese New Year begins. The holiday continues after that for three more days.

There is a legend about the origin of the holiday. One of the kings of Bhaktapur was trying to find a husband for his daughter. But every time he found a suitable match for his daughter, and she got married, the groom was found dead on the marriage bed. In the end, there were no suitable suitors in the kingdom, and the people of Bhaktapur sincerely prayed for an end to the mysterious curse.

Once the king, with difficulty found the next suitable groom, but warned him about this curse and advised him not to sleep at night. So the groom did. While awake until the morning, he saw two venomous snakes emerge from the princess’s nostrils. He killed these snakes and dispelled the spell, receiving the gratitude of the residents of Bhaktapur, who began to celebrate the festival of Bisquet in honor of such an event. At the top of the lingam, during the festival of Bisket Jatra, two flags are waving annually, symbolizing those very snakes.

In Kathmandu, the holiday is also celebrated by moving chariots depicting gods and goddesses, as well as sprinkling orange powder on each other.