A typical Buddhist festival of Nepal celebrated on the third day of the dark fortnight of Shrawan (August), Matya begins early in the morning and although the word Matya means ‘the festival of lights, it is quite different from the festival of Deepawali or Tihar. During this festival, a long parade of the enthusiastic shrine-walkers goes around all the Buddhist shrines scattered in and around the city of Patan which is fascinating because there are more than 1300 Buddhist shrines in Patan alone.
The shrine-walkers who participate are around three to four thousand and consist of both, people who carry a variety of gifts to offer to Lord Buddha. On this day, during the parade, people disguise themselves as devil dancers, damsels and other funny mask- wearers who are said to represent the Maras. The parade is accompanied by several groups of musicians playing various kinds of traditional musical instruments and the parade moves in an unbroken chain. The seven to eight hours long parade is guided by the musicians at the front.