Among various festival’s in Nepal, this is another agricultural festival celebrated to start the planting of rice. Ashad 15 (Asar 15) is considered the auspicious day to start rice planting for better crop production. The day has been celebrated for ages by the farmers in Nepal. On recognition of the tradition, Nepal government on 14 December 2004, decided to call it an official holiday and named it the “National Paddy Day”.
Prior to that, in 1966, the United Nations had announced to celebrate the year as the year of rice with the slogan ‘freedom from hunger’. The organization also announced rice as the ‘crop of the year’. Nepal Government started marking the Asar 15 as the National Paddy Day in the year 2005.
The government decided to honor the festival with the aim to “increase rice production for self-sufficiency and prosperity”. According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, around 1.425 million hectares of land is suitable for paddy cultivation. As the young generation loose the interest in traditional form of agriculture, the government has decided to create this awareness through the celebration of the festival.
National Paddy Day (राष्ट्रीय धानरोपाई दिवस) – 15th of Ashadh (usually late June or early July) every year. This year it is on June 29, 2021. Other names of the festival are Ropain Diwas (रोपाइँ दिवस), Dhan Diwas (धान दिवस), and Ashadh Pandra (आषाढ १५).
– People wear Nepali traditional clothes
– It usually starts with people making a parade in their village/towns before entering the rice fields.
– Rice planting responsibilities are shared among men and women. Men usually plough the field, arrange drain water, level the fields and make fine mud slurry for the plantation. Female usually plant the rice seedlings.
– On the process people splash each other with mud and play in the mud
– They have a festive party with traditional dishes. The dish that shouldn’t be missed include curd and beaten rice
– Singing folk songs is another important part of the celebration.
– Some communities also schedule cultural programs to mark the festival.
In addition to the locals, the festival is also very popular among tourists. There are some tourists, who schedule their visits to celebrate the festival. In that way, this festival is also a part of agrotourism.