Among all the jatras that are celebrated in Nepal, one of the most unique is the Ropai Jatra. Ropai Jatra or Rice Planting Festival is celebrated by planting rice saplings all along the fields. Ropai Jatra is celebrated all over Nepal on the Nepali month of Ashadh the 15th (end of June).
As most of the Nepalese people are dependent on agriculture for their food, monsoon comes with a lot of prospect for them. As Ashadh is considered to be the peak of monsoon season, it is a really important month agriculturally for farmers as well as other people. Although rice plantation begins from the starting of Ashadh, 15th of Ashadh is accounted as the optimum day for plantation.
It is a unique festival in Nepal because of the fact that it does not involve religion at all. In fact, the majority of people in Nepal have a deep-rooted relationship with rice. People here consume rice with lentils commonly known as dal-bhat with vegetables at least two times a day. This festival is not only limited to planting rice though, but it is also extended for you to get drenched in the muddy fields under the rain. This might not sound so tempting to most but you’re bound to have a special experience.
If you’re in Kathmandu during this festival, then you might want to head up to either Kirtipur or Bhainsepati. You’ll get to see buffalos ploughing the fields, men digging it and the women sowing the seeds. This is a typical type of scene you get to witness during the festival. Apart from the plantation, you’ll also see people dancing and singing to the “Ashare Geet”, which is an old folk song which portrays the life of a farmer.
Enjoy the festival as you are treated warmly by the local farmers. They serve you their traditional meal with either Ai-La (local raksi) or Chhyang (rice beer). Aside from the traditional meal, this day is also famous for eating Dahi Chiura (yoghurt with beaten rice). Everyone in Nepal considers this day as a culture to consume yoghurt, beaten rice and sugar mixed together. On the whole, Ashadh 15 is a special day to have a lot of fun and get into the festive mood.