5 Days Tihar Festival

5 Days Tihar Festival

Tihar is the five days celebration in Yama Panchak.

Tihar is the most celebrated festival after Dashain in Nepal. It is a five-day festival celebrated in late autumn. It has its unique ways of celebration.

Story behind Tihar
There are various stories about the celebration of Tihar. One of the famous stories behind the celebration of tihar is related to Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Yama had been staying away from his sister for a long time. His sister wanted to meet him so she asked various sources to visit him and ask him to give her a visit. She sent crow, dog, and cow and at the end she went herself to see her brother. She worshipped him with tika and flowers, she put him five colored tika. Yamuna made a circle with mustard oil, Dubo Grass (Cynodon Dactylon) and put Makhmali Mala (Globe Amaranth) and asked Yamaraj not to go till the oil, Dubo Grass and the flower gets dry. Therefore, every sister worships her brother keeping him in the circle of mustard oil, putting mala (garland) of Makhmali flower and Dubo grass.

tihar-depawali-festival

Happy Deepawali

First day – Kag Tihar (Crow Puja)
On the first day of Tihar, crows are worshiped and fed early in the morning. People leave different food items outside for crows to eat. Crow is considered to be the messenger of death. People believe the crow gets the messages to the house in the morning. People worship it to bring good luck themselves.

Kaag Tihar

Kag Tihar (Crow Puja)

Second day – Kukur Tihar
The second day of tihar is dedicated to the most loyal friend of mankind. Kukur, the dog, Puja is done by putting a red tika on dogs forehead and flower garland around the neck offering him foods and sel roti. Generally male dogs are worshiped. It is said dog can see endangers and the death coming.

Kukur Tihar

Kukur Tihar (Dog Puja)

Third day Gai (cow) Puja and Laxmi Puja
On the third day of tihar Cows are worshipped in the morning. Cows are worshipped with sesame oil light, garland of flower and red color (abir). Wheat flour, sel roti, rice and dal are feed to cows. Disciples try to pass in-between four legs of the cow. Cow is regarded as mother in Hindu religion, as we grow up drinking her milk. Some look cow as Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity.

In the afternoon we clean our houses, paint floors with Red Mud (Rato Mato) and cow dung (gobar). Small circle are made in front of the main gate and decorated with colorful designs. Some people call it rangoli.

Small designs of footsteps are painted from the main entrance to the puja kotha. These footsteps are believed to be the footsteps of goddess Lakshmi. Candles or pala are lit all over the house making it bright and beautiful.

Gai (Cow) Tihar

Gai Tihar (Cow and Laxmi Puja)

There is a long tradition of going housed in the evening singing songs to ask for money and foods. Generally girls and kids go out to neighbors sing traditional songs called Bhailo songs. The tradition is called “Bhailo” and songs are called Bhailini songs.

The song starts with “Bhailini aain agana gunyo cholo magna, hey ausi ko din gai tiharo bhailo”. Badali kudali rakheko, laxmi pooja gareko, hey ajako dina gaitiharo bhailo…” Meaning Bahilini are at your door to ask for a gunyo cholo (Nepali traditional dress), today is no moon day and Cow pooja and Bhailo day, the house is clean and you have done Lakshmi puja, today is cow pooja day and Bhailo”

Fire crackers are blown in this day. People play cards in Laxmi puja to welcome goddess Laxmi in the night. People believe, laxmi comes to the house which is clean and bright.
In the evening the goddess of wealth Lakshmi is worshiped by lighting numerous lights and lightening works. It is believed that by worshiping Laxmi and pleasing her in return she gives us wealth. People worship wealth and food store this day.

Fourth day – Goru Tihar (Govardhan parbat ko puja) and Mah (aatma or self) Puja: On Govardhan puja Goru Tihar, three different Kinds of puja are performed. We perform Goru Puja, or worship Oxen. We also perform Govardhan Puja, which is done by making a hill of govardhan parbat using Cow dung. Cow dung has big importance in Hindu culture. In the old days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish mud floors of traditional houses. Still now no Puja is complete without cow dung in Nepali Hindu culture.

Mha Puja Nepal Sambat 1137

Mha Puja Nepal Sambat 1137

In this night Newar community perform Maha Puja also known as self-puja. It is done to purify our body. In this puja a Mandap decorated with Saipatri (marigold flower), sweets and fruits and a special Mala (garland) which is made of thread is kept. Each member of the family has one Mandap. A female member of the family offers the person sitting on the Mandap a Sagun with her hands crossed. Shagun usually consist of fried eggs, fruits, sweets, meat, fish, lentil and pastries. In the left hand with egg and fish and in the right hand Rakshi (homemade alcohol). This day is also the beginning of Nepal Sambat, Newari New year.

In the evening many Nepali children and young men go house to house singing Deusi song (Aahai bhana mera bhai ho deusi re bhana na bhana deusere). Deusi is very similar to Bhailo. Bhailo is primarily for female and Deusi for male. However, now a days there is such distinction. People go in group with males and females members to celebrate Bhailo and deusi both.

Fifth Day: Bhai Tika or Bhai Duj:
The fifth and last day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. This day sisters put “Tika of five colours” Paanch Rangi Tika – Yellow, green, red, blue and white on forehead of her brothers, to ensure long life and pray to Yamraja for her brother’s long life and prosperity. Sister offers brothers Shaguns of dry fruits especially walnut, hazelnut (Katus), fruits and sweets and in return the brothers give their sisters gifts and money. The brothers also put Pancha Rangi Tika to sister and bow her on her feet and assure her to protect her till the end of life.

Bhai Tika Tihar

Bhai Tika

On this day, Rani Pokhari Temple (located at central Kathmandu) is opened for those who do not have any brother or sister. This is the only time in a year the temple is open to general public.

Source: weallnepali

Bada Dashain festival begins

Bada Dashain festival begins

Dashain Festival

“Navaratri Parba” or the nine-night festival of Bada Dashain, the great festival of the Hindus of Nepal, commenced from Wednesday.

The first day of Bada Dashain festival is called “Ghatasthapana” that falls on Aswin Shukla Pratipada, the first day of the bright half of the lunar calendar in the month of Asoj.

On the day of Ghatasthapana, all Nepalis worship Diyo (an oil-fed lamp), Kalas (auspicious jar) and lord Ganesh in accordance with Vedic rituals and sow maize and barley seeds in a jar filled with soil and cow dung for germination of the auspicious Jamara (barley shoots). The auspicious hour for observing Ghatasthapana is 07:15 am today, according to Nepal Calendar Determination Committee.

Goddess Durga Mata

Prayers are also offered to Durga Bhavani, the goddess of power today. Germination of the auspicious “Jamara” is also initiated at Hanumandhoka Dashain Ghar in accordance with Vedic rituals, today.

There is also a tradition of sacrificing animals while initiating the germination of the “Jamara”.

Also today, prayers are offered to goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati at the Dashain Ghar, marking the beginning of the Navaratri (nine nights).

The golden barley shoots and the auspicious Tika are given by parents to their children and by elders to their juniors on the tenth day of the Bada Dashain festival with blessings for peace, progress and prosperity. The auspicious hour for receiving Tika this year is 09:51 am on October 19, according to the Committee Chair Dr Ram Chandra Gautam.

Dashain Tika

During the Navaratri, thousands of devotees visit Naxal Bhagawati, Shobha Bhagawati, Maitidevi, Guheswori, Bhadrakali, Kalikasthan, Sankata, Mahankalsthan, Naradevi, Bijayeswori, Indrayani, Dakshinkali, Chamunda and other shrines of goddess Durga Bhavani in the early morning.

People also recite sacred verses and hymns dedicated to Durga Bhawani at temples and shrines as well as at their homes throughout the Dashain period.

Majority of the educational and academic institutions start Dashain holidays effective today. The public holiday unlike the past to mark the Ghatasthapana has been deducted from this year.

Happy Vijaya Dashami

Source: Kathmandupost

Gai Jatra Festival

Gai Jatra Festival

People who lost their family members last year marked Gai Jatra on Monday by taking out processions led by cow’s effigies in the streets of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur to pay tribute to the departed souls. The government had declared a public holiday in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur on Monday.

Gaijatra-Festival-in-Nepal

Customarily, photos and names of the deceased family members are hung around the toy cows made of bamboo and colourful clothes, and followed by kids wearing moustache and dressed like ascetics from each household that lost a member. A traditional Lakhe dance also accompanies the march on the streets during the unique festival which means the procession (Jatra) of cows (Gai).Previously, real cows used to lead processions by marching around the city. The cow, considered a holy animal in Hindu religion, is believed to help the souls of the dead kin cross the eternal river, facilitating their passage to heaven. The festival has been celebrated since the medieval period. It is believed that the culture of celebrating Gai Jatra started when the then King Pratap Malla lost his son and the queen was overwhelmed by grief. The king then decided that every family which lost a member in the past year would take part in Gai Jatra so that the queen would realise she was not alone to be struck by the tragedy. Gai Jatra is also celebrated with great fanfare as the festival of satire and comedy, with leading personalities of the country being lampooned by making them the subject of ridicule and laughter.

PRO_Ktm_Gaijatra-2

Actor and comedian Haribansha Acharya, however, said that it will be quite monotonous to just poke fun at a few. “We give first priority to humour and entertainment whenever we perform stage shows during Gai Jatra. Of course, we make fun of people from various backgrounds, but that is only secondary, “said Acharya. The actor finished a ‘MaHa Jatra’ comedy show in Kathmandu, Pokhara and a few other cities in the run up to the Gai Jatra festival. Acharya added that such satires should never be angry outbursts pointed at someone, something which he has been seeing in the country of late. “Satire should be done for laughter, but not at the expense of anyone specific. So, Gai Jatra should not be used to vent your anger at anyone, even if they be politicians or any other person whom people want to ridicule,”

He further said that Gai Jatra should also have an underlying message against social anomalies.

“We need more humour and laughter in a country like ours going through so much stress,” the popular comedian said.

Janai Purnima Festival

Janai Purnima Festival
Janai Purnima

A toddler gets her wrist colourful with doro (Hindu’s traditional threads of different colours) from a Pandit (Hindu Priest) celebrating Janai Poornima

The tagadharis or those who wear the ‘Janai’ (the sacred thread) around their bodies from the left shoulder change the sacred thread on Tuesday after having a haircut and a bath on the occasion of ‘Janai Purnima’, also known as ‘Rishi Tarpani’.

This festival observed by the Hindus, especially of the Shaiva sect, on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Saun is also popularly known as ‘Gunhu Punhi’ in the Newar community.

According to the time-honoured tradition, the people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread, which is tied around the wrist as an amulet. The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease. They also observe the occasion as ‘Kwanti Purnima’.

Kwanti Purnima

Kwanti a soup prepared from nine different beans, is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today.

The ‘Kulabarna Tantra’, a Tantrik scripture, says that the soup is highly nutritious and keeps diseases away.

In the Terai region, there is a tradition in which sisters tie an attractive ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of their brothers wishing them long life and prosperity.

Thousands of devotees worship lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and at Kumbheswor in Lalitpur and take holy dips in ponds and lakes.

Janai Purnima

People in Pashupatinath Area gather to get Raksha Bandhan tied around their wrists on the occasion of Janai Purnima.

Religious fairs are held at Gosaikunda, an alpine area in Rasuwa District, and at Dansanghu, Triveni in Jumla district to observe the festival with offerings of worship to Lord Shiva. A big religious fair takes place at the Gosaikunda Lake and pilgrims come from faraway places to take a holy dip in this lake and other lakes nearby.

Religious fairs take place today at Pashupati and Manichud of Kathmandu; Gosaikunda of Rasuwa; Kumbheshwar of Lalitpur; Panchpokhari of Sindhupalchowk; Janakpurdham, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar of Dhanusha; Dansanghu of Jumla and Trivenidham of Nawalparasi.

Janai Purnima

The Buddhists observe this day in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautama Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture ‘Lalitbistar’. A special fair takes place at Swayambhunath of Kathmandu today for this reason.

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival at Lele

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival at Lele
VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival

Rice Planting Festival 2018

The Village Tourism Promotion Forum Nepal (VITOF-Nepal) is going to celebrate Rice Planting Festival in Kathmandu this year. VITOF Nepal is going to organize the rice planting festival in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board on 29 June at Godawari Municipality of Lele, Lalitpur. According to the Chairman of the Forum, Ram Sapkota, this festival is organized to promote the culture, tradition, monuments, and sights of Newari culture.

Dipak Dahal, vice president and media coordinator of VITOF Nepal said that most of the works have already been completed and this festival will play a great role to strengthen the agricultural sector. The festival is coordinated by Rajkumar Dhamala.

VITOF Nepal organizes Rice Planting Festival

Rice Planting Festival

He also mentioned that that the festival will be accompanied by Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation minister, Rabindra Adhikari, and other organizations. VITOF Nepal has been organizing this festival since many years. Lele holds a different culture, traditional community and beautiful natural geography. Thus, it has a great potential of tourism. A short trek will also be organized that day.

Source: Tourismmail

Holi The Festival of Colours

Holi The Festival of Colours

Holi-Festival-Celebration

Holi is festival of color. This festival is also farewell of winter and welcoming of summer in Southern Asia. Holi is celebrated in full moon day in Phalgun . Hence, Holi is also called Fagu Purnima. Holi is called Dhuli in Sanskrit.

Holi is welcoming of spring and summer. It is also observed to get blessing of God for coming harvests and fertility of the land. This festival is celebrated in most of South Asian counties. Actually Holi is the night of Falgun Krishna Chaturdasi but celebration starts from the very next day on Purnima. Holi is the festival of color, friendships and love.

The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated. The festival is of a week. However, it’s only the last day that is observed by all with colours. The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated.

© Quamrul Abedin | www.quamrulabedin.com | 2014

The festival is of a week. However it’s only the last day that is observed by all with colours. Phagu is another name for Holi where Phagu means the sacred red powder and Pune is the full moon day, on which the festival ends. People can be seen wandering through the streets either on foot or on some vehicle, with a variety of colours smeared over them. Families and friends get together and celebrate the occasion with a lot of merry making. This spring time celebration is also an outburst of youthful exuberance in which throwing colours and water bolloons (lolas) on passer- by is acceptable. But, the Indian community, that is, the Marwari class who has settled down in Nepal for centuries and the people of Terai celebrate it a day later with more pomp and ceremony.

Happy-Holi