“Mani Rimdu” – is the major festival celebrated, precisely at Tengboche, in the Everest region. It is celebrated in the month of October and trekking program will be rewarding if it happens to be during this festival. The festival continues as long as 9 days with various ceremonies as well as meditations (Drupchen), and to ultimately conclude it by a special blessing ceremony given by Tengboche’s ‘Rinpoche’ (high priest)to the public. The famous ‘Mask Dance’ is performed by the monks at the Tengboche Monastery.
Usually, the festival is celebrated as per the below schedule/celebration. The festivals dates are based on the Tibetan lunar calendar.
- Preparation including making the sand “Mandala & Tormas” (symbolic offerings made out of colored butter & barley flour).
- Drupchen ceremonies going on interrupted for 8 days.
- Monks practicing dancing without masks.
- Giving the blessings to the general pu
- Famous ‘mask dance’ performed by the monks in a special day long ceremony. Afterwards, the Sherpa community sings & dance the entire night.
- Concluding “Fire Puja”.
“Lhosar” – This festival is most impressively observed in the month of February and celebrated by the Sherpas in the Khumbu region. They welcome the New Year with feasts, dancing; sing folk songs & family visits. On this occasion, they dress in finest clothing & jewellery, exchange gifts, as well as visit the monasteries to get blessing from the monks for good health & prosperity. Streets and house’s rooftops are decorated with colorful prayer flags. These can be witnessed in the Kathmandu Valley too at Swayambhunath & Boudhanath areas.
“Dumji” – Celebrated in the months of May or June each year, “Dumji” is a very special festival celebrated in Khumbu. In contrast to other festivals with monks performing more serious rituals & ceremonies, “Dumji” happens to be lively with dancing, drinking & with much amusement. In fact, this festival is celebrated as the anniversary of “Guru Rinpoche’s” birth on the lotus flower. Lama “Sangwa Dorjee”, the founder of the earliest monasteries in Khumbu, first started the Dumji festival in Pangboche about 360 years ago so as to coincide the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche.
Dumji festival is celebrated throughout the major places in Khumbu (Everest Region) such as in Tengboche, Namche Bazaar, Khumjung & Junbesi. Though, the festivities around the Namche area are most interesting & popular. The festival dates may also vary by 1 or 2 more days on various locations around Khumbu due to the Tengboche’s “Rinpoche” modifying the schedule depending upon the local events.
“Everest Marathon” – To honor the historical ascent of Mt. Everest by late Tenzing Norgay Sherpa & Sir Edmund Hillary on May 29th, 1953, “Everest Marathon” is organized on the similar date annually. This is an international high altitude adventure sports event participated by people from all over and open to all high altitude running enthusiasts. Up till now the event has witnessed participation from both Nepalese & western runners making it the world’s highest & the toughest marathon and the ultimate mountain race. “Everest Marathon” is covered by BBC, NHK- Japan as well as numerous other national & international lectronic/paper Medias too.