Samir Pradhananga

People pulling rope of a Chariot in Bisket Jatra at Bhaktapur, Nepal

The festival of the new year in Nepal, Nava Varsa or Navabarsha, is celebrated with exchanges of greetings and in some areas with ritual bathing. The most important celebration is Bisket Jatra, which means the "festival after the death of the serpent." In Bhaktapur, the new year is celebrated by parading images of gods in chariots. The main attraction of the festival is the erection of a ceremonial pole—a lingam or phallic symbol. This is a peeled tree trunk as much as 80 feet in length that is erected using bamboo and heavy ropes while crowds watch. On New Year's Day, the pole is torn down.There is a legend behind this ceremonial pole. The daughter of the king of Bhaktapur was insatiable and demanded a new lover every night, but she left her lovers dead by morning. Then a brave prince appeared to try his luck. He managed to stay awake through the night, and saw two thread-like wisps emerging from the princess's nostrils. These wisps turned into poisonous snakes, so the prince drew his sword and killed them. Of course the prince and princess lived happily ever after. This story is recalled with the raising of the pole of Bisket Jatra.Most holidays in Nepal are set by the lunisolar calendar, but New Year's Day is an exception and always falls in the middle of April.Source:

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