GHT Blog

The Muddy Mayhem of Ropain

July 8, 2015

Rice is to Nepalis what pasta is to Italians. And like any respectable staple food responsible for fueling the population, it deserves a special day of reverence. For pasta, this is World Pasta Day on October 25th. For Nepal, this is National Paddy Day, celebrated during the Ropain festival.

Ropain, which means ”rice plantation” in Nepali, takes place on the 15th of the Nepali month of Asar (June/July in the Gregorian calendar), and marks the period when farmers plant new seedlings of rice crops and welcome the favorable rains of the monsoon.

Being a farmer in Nepal is by no means an easy livelihood. Women, who are traditionally tasked with planting the rice seedling, stand doubled over and ankle-deep in muddy waters while the men put their backs into ploughing the fields. Oxen are still used to help with the heavy shifting as Nepal’s challenging terrain make modern-day tractors difficult to use.

It’s no wonder that hard-working farmers need a good shindig to celebrate weeks of toil.

The Ropain festival is in some ways quite similar to many other Nepali festivals in that it includes a large number of guests, delicious food, a splash of homemade brew and plenty of singing and dancing. The noticeable difference from your average Nepali party, however, is that the guests leave their Sunday best at home.

While singing traditional folk songs like Asare geet (a song about the joy and pain of the farmers) the participants take to the muddy fields for games of tug-of-war, friendly wrestling matches and lots of unprejudiced splashing. Meanwhile spectators pass around plates of Dahi Chiura (curd and beaten rice) and enjoy a lot of Chyang, alcohol made from fermented rice.

Needless to say, the Ropain festival has become very popular with tourists who travel from all over the world to join in on the muddy mayhem in the rice paddies.

Fortunately, rice is planted in almost all districts in Nepal, so if you are visiting the country during the month of Asar, there is no reason to miss out on one of the most colorful and cheerful festivals in the country. Check in with your local tour operator for tickets to arranged Ropain events for visitors or venture out to the villages and join in on the fun.

ropain

Ropain in Nepal – Photo by Madeleine Dolling

Back to MyGHT

More on MyGHT

View all

Destinations

  • Rara & Jumla Rara & Jumla More species of birds (236) nest around Rara Lake ...
  • Kanchenjunga Kanchenjunga Circling the Kathmandu Valley on the descent to th...
  • Makalu Barun Makalu Barun Catch breathtaking views of Makalu, Everest and Lh...
View all

Sign up for GHT Newsletter

Signup our monthly newsletter to get the latest news and updates from GHT.