KATHMANDU, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Nepali people across the country celebrated the National Paddy Day on Friday, which marks the beginning of paddy plantation in monsoon season.
The day that is observed annually on Asadh 15 as per the lunar calendar holds a national significance for the country, whose economy is dominated by agriculture.
On the occasion, farmers gather and plant rice saplings in the field with joy while they also sing the traditional folk songs and splash muddy water to each other.
There is also a tradition of eating sweet delicacies known as "Dahi Chiura" in local language which includes beaten rice, curd and fruits on the day.
Some 15 km away from Ring Road of capital, a special rice plantation program was organized in Lele village of Lalitpur district by a tourism-promotion organization Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF).
"We have been organizing rice plantation program in different villages annually to bring together agriculture and tourism. We are glad that the day is becoming an attraction for the foreign tourists," Basu Pandey, general secretary of VITOF, told Xinhua.
Dressed in traditional attires, women planted the rice saplings amid musical environment and fanfare while many foreigners joined the celebrations. Tourists said they were glad to experience Nepal's Paddy Day which is enriched with tradition and culture.
"This is my first time to witness such festival. I am glad to participate in rice plantation along with other women. It's an amazing experience," Paula Takahashi, a 33-year-old Brazilian tourist, told Xinhua.
Nepal has been marking Asadh 15 as the National Paddy Day since 2005.
Paddy contributes around 20 percent in total agricultural gross domestic product and 4.5 percent in the Nepal's economy. According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development, paddy plantation has been carried out in the country's 1.42 million hectares of rice fields.
The country is largely dependent on rainfall for agriculture as only 25 percent of the total cultivation area is covered by irrigation facility.