Himalayan Tamang Jatras Festival in Nepal
Buddha Jayanti is the most important religious festival for Buddhist Tamangs. Tamangs pay a visit to Monasteries and offer khatag to Lord Buddha. In Swayambhu, Kathmandu, there are thousands of Tamang visitors on this Day. In Boudha, Lord Buddha’s statue is carried on an elephant and a religious procession marches around Boudha. Religious mass meetings are organized were Rinpoche’s & larned personalities talks about Buddha Dharma and various topics related to Buddhism. This festival falls on Baisakh Purnima of every year – the special day Lord Buddha was born, enlightened, gave first teaching about four noble truths, and went into nirvana on the same day. Tamangs in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Burma and all over the world celebrate Buddha jayanti on similar ways.
Lochar is the festival celebrated by ancient Tamangs. It was celebrated before the introduction of Deshain and Tihar among the Tamangs. Tamangs have realized the importance and originality of it and have started celebrating Lhochar. That does not mean they don’t celebrate Deshain at all which is celebrated by majority of Nepalese people. On Lochhar day Tamangs go to visit monastery and honorable Rinpoche and offer khatag to Rinpoche and others Buddhas in the monastery. While offering khatag they pray for good crops, good job, good health and better life in the new year to come.
They invite relatives for feast as well as they visit the respectable people in the community. They dress themselves the best they have and dance, sing and dine together with the family members. In Kathmandu, Lochhar was celebrated in open field at Swayambhu, Patan etc, Boudha. Lhosar should be celebrated at open fields as it was celebrated in the ancient times with damphu the traditional musical instrument simply made up of wood and animal hide.
Nepal Tamang Ghedung, the most popular and powerful organization of Tamangs organize the Lhosar celebration. Distinguished Tamangs join the Lhoshar festival celebration ceremony guests are invited. While celebrating Lhochhar they forget all their sorrows, hardships, difficulties and celebrate in joyful and happy mood among Tamang shelo and beating of Damphu the traditional musical instrument.
Deshain is also celebrated by Tamangs. Tamangs celebrate deshain as all people celebrate it. They buy new clothes, visit the house of the senior most person in the family. Drink, dance and be in joyful mood.
Tihar is the festivals of brothers and sisters. Small kids make small groups and goes from door to door saying “Deusi re” and get blessings from houses. Sister’s organize special celebration of Tihar for brothers.
Ropain Jatra, Boudha.
This jatra (festival) is celebrated by Tamangs of Boudha. Each year after the summer is over, people come to a joyful mood and celebrate Ropain jatra. On this day people cross dress (boy dress up as girls) and people dress up in weird way. Simple vulgarity is allowed on this day.
Mostly this is the day to make satire to the local people as well as to the government. Boudhanath Area Development Committee organizes this festival. The best performers are rewarded a cash prize.
Cross dressed man on the festival.
Hey….hey…..run away… run away….they are coming.
Timal / Boudha Jatra
Tamang people gather at Boudha stupa on this day to offer butter lamps to the deceased family members. They celebrate the whole night by singing around the stupa. Mostly young Tamang boys and girls are seen taking active part on singing competition. It is called dohori, question’s are asked in song and replied in song accordingly. If the boys and girls like each other they can also get married. Locals put stall for Tea, Momo, Chhyang, Aaludam etc. all around the stupa. Early in the morning the next day they go to Balaju to take holy bath. Some people go to Jamacho (top of the hill at Balaju) to visit mela.