National Rice Paddy Plantation Day
Nepal is predominantly an agricultural land,where till the 1980s, 90% of the population were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Nowadays there are other opportunities but agriculture still plays a dominant role as 70% of the population depend on agriculture. Agriculture contributes to almost 35% of Nepal’s GDP. and rice contributes 50% of the total agricultural produce. Hence, rice is the most important crop in Nepal.
Rice needs plenty of water and monsoon naturally is the right season for its plantation. It takes about 190 days from seedling to plantation and harvesting. Monsoon used to begin in Nepal on June 10 but taking into account the record of the last 30 years, Nepal’s Meteorological Forecasting Division and the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum have set June 13 as the monsoon onset date and October 2 as the end date.
Rice is the staple diet of the Nepalis and its plantation is celebrated with much gaiety and festivity. The people have added importance to it by celebrating Ashad 15 (June 29) as the most important day for its plantation. The government, in turn, has declared Ashad 15 as the National Rice Plantation Day to highlight the importance of its cultivation for food as well as agricultural economy. Merriment, laughter, singing and mud slinging takes place during the plantation being one of the most cherished cultural festivals among different communities including the Newari community as well. Men level and ready the field while women do the plantation. It’s an event worth experiencing.
In recent times, this cultural event is celebrated with women wearing their traditional clothes as per their ethnicity, playing music, singing and a traditional Newari feast. Rice plantation has lately become a tourist attraction making it one of the must-do activities when in in Nepal where both foreign and local guests are allowed to participate and join in the merriment, with extra mud slinging, romping in the muddy field and tasting local delicacies — a lifetime experience to take home.
Hotel Roadhouse being located centrally in Kathmandu, the rice paddy fields can be seen after travelling for a distance of 10 km away. During the season, as per request Hotel Roadhouse can also offer rides and help join the rice plantation activities being hosted around the valley.
Ashad 15 is also celebrated as “ dahi chiura khane din” or the day for relishing curd and beaten rice mix. It is also a nutritious meal that regenerates worn out and tired farmers. During monsoon hygiene issues cause stomachache and diarrhea, curd helps in controlling the diarrhea and the mix restores lost energy. If you have not experienced this joyous rice plantation event, plan your visit for one.