The 2018th year of Gregorian Calendar has begun today. As most of the world was preparing to celebrate New Year, I was busy counting the number of New Years celebrated in Nepal. I remember 7 of them.
Bikram Samvat New Year: Bikram Samvat is the official Solar Calendar of Nepal. Baishakh 1st (Mid-April) is the first day of the Bikram Calendar. This day is also known as Mesh Sankranti, the first day the sun reaches the Mesh Rashi or the Aries constellation.
Nepal Samvat: It is the official Lunar Calendar of Nepal, at least in papers because the adoption has taken a long time. There is an interesting legend behind the calendar. In the year 941 B.S., a merchant named Sankhadhar Sakhwa obtained gold from the Bagmati River and helped the citizens of Nepal pay the debts of the king. Marking this freedom, the king issued a new calendar the Nepal Samvat.
The first day of the Nepal Samvat is Kartik Shukla Pratipada, the first day of waxing phase in the month of the Kartik (October-November). This day is also the fourth day of Tihar. Newas, the indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley celebrate the Nepal Samvat New Year (Nhu: Daya) with much pomp and show in the day. In the evening, they do Mha: Pooja, in which each individual worships their Self or the Soul.
Tamu Lhosar: Tamu Lhosar is celebrated as the New Year of the Gurungs, the indigenous people mainly in the Gandaki region. Tamu Lhosar falls on 15th of Poush (December 29-30) every year.
Gregorian New Year: This New Year is celebrated in majority of countries and in Nepal as well. It falls on Poush 17-18 of the Bikram Calendar. It’s been used along with the Bikram Calendar for long but is the only one New Year in which the Government does not issue a public holiday.
Maghi: This day is also known as Maghe or Makar Sankranti, the day in which the Sun reaches the Capricorn. Maghi is the New Year of the Tharus, the indigenous people of the Terai region.
Sonam Lhosar: This is the New Year of the Tamangs, the indigenous people of the Central Nepal Himalaya. This Lhosar coincides with the Chinese New Year.
Gyalbo Lhosar: This is the New Year of the Sherpas, the indigenous people of the Eastern Nepal Himalaya known for mountain climbing.