Udhauli Parva is a major festival celebrated by the Kirat Community like Limbu, Sunuwar, Yakkha, Thami, and Khambu Rai. On the full moon day of the eighth lunar month, known as Mangsir Purnima, Udhauli Parva is observed as a public holiday. This suggests that, according to the Western calendar, it happens around late November or early December. The winter season is thought to begin with Udhauli Parva. Rather than being limited to a single day, Udhauli is a week-long celebration with a wide range of vibrant customs and rituals.
The rich variety of Kirat tradition includes Udhauli’s origins, which date back to written history. Because the word “Udhauli” means “downwards,” it represents the spirit of the festival, signifying the movement of people, animals, and birds from higher places to warmer lowlands as winter draws near.
Legend paints a captivating picture. The Kirat King Yalambar dreamt of a divine being asking him to celebrate the harvest with joy and music. This divine dream birthed Udhauli, a celebration that transcends generations, connecting the Kirat people to their ancestors and the bountiful land they cherish.
Kitchens hum with activity as families prepare the traditional feast of Udhauli. The star of the show is “Dhunge Khule,” a dish made with millet and local herbs, bursting with earthy flavors.
The Sacred Sakela Dance: The rhythm of the “Dhol” drum sets the stage for the iconic Sakela dance. Men and women form circles while wearing colorful clothing, their flowing motions following the migration of animals and birds. The dance serves as more than just entertainment it’s a celebration of unity, a prayer for health, and a link to their cultural history.
Using the blessings of Falgunanda and Surya Deva, among other gods, the elders express their appreciation for the harvest and ask for good fortune in the upcoming year.
The communities play classic games like tug-of-war and stick fighting, laughter resounds throughout the area. The streets are filled with dancing and music, creating a vibrant, joyful scene.
Udhauli is more than a mere harvest celebration it serves as a significant symbol of values that overtake the occasion. It acts as a unifying force, strengthening the Kirat community’s ties by building joyous gatherings among families and friends and honoring life, heritage, and tradition. This festival represents deep gratitude, acknowledging the plentiful production of the land and urging us to treasure the rewards of labor and the blessings of nature. Moreover, Udhauli stands as a bridge between generations, attaching the fabric of Kirat culture through its time-honored rituals, ensuring the transfer of a rich heritage to the upcoming eras.