A typical Buddhist festival of Nepal celebrated on the third day of the dark fortnight of Shrawan (August), Matya begins early in the morning and although the word Matya means ‘the festival of lights’, it is quite different from the festival of Deepawali or Tihar.
Matya is unique to Patan and is one of the most important festival of the city about 1400year old tradition. Matya festival in Lalitpur is one of the festival celebrated in the Newar community with lots of joy and enthusiam. It is celebrated tomorrow of Gai Jatra. Those who have demise thourgh out the whole year. The relatives and their family member remember them and pray for their departed soul. People also participate in this Jatra to be a part of it and to preserve the culture and tradition and to enjoy.
In this Jatra people visit more than 1300 stupas ie all the buddha stupas in the Patan and offer something like some people published their beloved family members photo along with different prays and other offers coins, rupees, sweets as according to their desire as gift .
This Jatra starts way too early at 4 A.M on morning and concludes at the evening around 7P.M. The participates has to walk all those painful hours and cover the distance as taken by guwaju(head priest of the jatra).
It is believed that offering the lamps in particular to the Buddha on this day signifies great enlightenment obtained by overcoming the Maras (temptations).
On the day, the special routes of the city open up and lead to all sacred places.
In this festival, people who have lost their family members or relatives, participate and walk to all the four Ashok pillars located in different part of Patan. It depends upon the different time for different locations to start the Matya Festival. People wearing joker dresses and others also participated. They walk, joke and dance the whole day….. It’s one of the many wonderful cultures we have in Nepal.
According to the legend, once a Sakya Muni Gautam was in deep penance to attain Nirvana when the jealous Maras came to distract him. They disguised themselves in various forms and some were in the form of fierce-looking demons while some in form of beautiful damsels. They tried a lot to tempt the muni but he overcame the maras and became Buddha, the enlightened one. It is also believed that the Maras later came to Lord Buddha and confessed their sins and worshiped the lord with great honor which marked the origin of this festival.
On this day, during the parade, people disguise themselves as devil dancers, damsels and other funny mask-wearers who are said to represent the Maras. The parade is accompanied by several groups of musicians playing various kinds of tradition musical instruments and the parade moves in an unbroken chain. The seven to eight hours long parade is guided by the musicians at the front.
In every ten years, one neighborhood gets the responsibility of organizing the parade and for that the sponsoring tole of the parade must train a team of traditional drummers to play on this day. The team of the drummers is known as Naubaja Khalah and they perform the show in a very special way only at the member toles which celebrated the festival.
Also, the funny and devil dancers try to scare the kids away whenever they come across those curious ones, some kids are scared away while others join the group and tease them instead. The festival holds great significance for the Buddhists as it represents the day when the Maras surrendered to Lord Buddha, a greatest achievement according to the Buddhist religion.
After 4 days celebrates Ganesh puja
You can find Short video of Matya