Kathmandu (AP) — Thousands of farmers and their families across Nepal celebrated an annual paddy festival by planting rice, splashing in the muddy fields and enjoying a special feast.
The farmers were joined by other villagers, visitors from the cities and tourists visiting the Himalayan nation.
Rice is a staple food for millions of Nepalese and the crop is generally planted once a year in July and harvested about four months later.
Farmers and their families sang traditional songs to welcome the rain that is needed for the rice to grow and thanked the gods for sending the precipitation on time.
After planting lines of rice, they splashed in the muddy fields, smeared each other with mud and sand, and danced more before culminating the celebration with a feast.
The day is also known as “dahi chiura” for the yogurt and beaten rice that comprises one of the main dishes eaten during the feast.
Elsewhere in the country, people ate yogurt and puffed rice with mangos and bananas to mark the day at home.
The government has declared National Paddy Day a holiday and tried to encourage people to continue or return to farming rice, as many increasingly look to take up other professions.