Udhauli and Ubhauli: Festivals of Nepal
Nepal is a country of ethnic diversities. Different ethnic communities follow their own traditions and cultures. Fairs and festivals have been a part of each and every ethnic community. Thus one or another kind of fair and festivals are observed throughout the year. Most of the fairs and festivals people observe here are based on religion, culture, and mythology. We are going to explain one of the famous Kirati festivals Udhauli and Ubhauli.
Many of us are familiar with these festivals taking place in our localities but not with those that people or community residing in other parts of the country. Many festivals and it’s celebrating culture marked by citizens in the hilly regions of Nepal are unique and different from others.
Udhauli and Ubhauli are the main festivals celebrated by Kiratians. Mundhum (The holy book of Kirats) mentions that there are Two phases in a year that are a Ubhauli and Udhauli. The word Udhauli is a conjunction of the word (उद्यो + औली = उद्यौली ) Uhdo + Auli which means downward.
While Ubhauli is a word made up by Ubho + Auli which means upward. Udhauli festivals are celebrated in the summer season and Ubhauli festivals celebrate in winter seasons of the year. While Udhauli festival is celebrated in the month November and December of Gregorian calendar. The Ubhauli festival is celebrated in the month April and May of Gregorian calendar.
The Kiratis are the residents of the eastern hilly regions – Dhankut district, Khotang district, Bhojpur district, Dharan( a part of Sunsari district) and. Like many other cultural groups, the Kiratis are the worshipper of nature. Agriculture is the lifeline of this community, the Kiratians celebrate the Udhauli (downward) festival to express thanks nature for providing them with the good harvest.
They arrange an extensive meal to celebrate the festival. On the time Sakela dance is performed. Hence this festival is also called Sakela Udhauli. Full Moon day of the 8th month (Mangsir Purnima ) is the exacting day when Sakela Udhauli is marked.
Since the Kirats are the inhabitants of hilly areas they migrate to downwards to protect themselves from a severe cold during the winter season. This live out of migrating downwards is called Udhauli.
similarly, Baisakh Purnima (full moon day of the first month) is the particular day of the Ubhauli festival. The festival marks the arrival of the summer season and an opening of the farming season. With the celebration of Ubhauli upwards journey begins.
although that the Kiratis are keeping their tradition and celebrating Udhauli (Downward) and Ubhauli (upwards) as their festival no matter where they have been residing. Apart from entertaining the people, fairs and festivals impart valuable messages.