Saturday, November 10, 2007

Laxmi Puja

Laxmi Pooja: A festival of Nepalese in which people worship Goddess Laxmi - Goddess of Money. It is the third day of the Tihar or Deepawali. First-Crow Pooja, Second-Dog Pooja, Third-Laxmi Pooja, Forth-Mhaa Puja and Goverdhan Pooja and Fifth-Bhai Tika/Pooja.

It is believed that by worshiping Goddess Laxmi people can have increase their income level or better opportunity of income source. In order to make Goddess happy every house of Hindu is lightened with variety of colors (through electric equipment or typical 'palcha' - a small mud vessel in which oil is poured which is lightened by firing through cotton piece , Houses are kept clean and various kind of flowers and anything thing that makes the house looks beautiful or attractive are used. Moreover in each house 'Gover' (Cow Dung - It is considered the most purified to make the place immaculate) is painted from outside of the house - where people usually worship, to the worship room - the most decorated part of the house. And after all these the Goddess is worshiped, usually at night. These procedures are performed to make the Goddess happy and invite Goddess to their home. People also worship their safe-deposit during this day.

Moreover in order to make this day interesting girls visit different areas to play 'Vailee' - A traditional program where the group of girls sings and visit different houses and in return they will be provided with some cash- usually. Some lines of Vailee goes

Vaileen aaeen aagana
Gunyoo cholo....

Forgot the Rest of It

Some of the snaps of Laxmi Pooja

Mhaa Pooja

In the forth day just after Laxmi Pooja Maha Pooja is celebrated. This is the festivals of Newar and is the New Year of Nepal Sambat. During this day a rally is organized through vehicles - usually on bikes these days, small or big trucks and on foot. Other than Newars, they celebrate this day as Goverdhan pooja - people worship their vehicles, machineries, equipments etc. from which they could generate revenue. This is the day where the Newars celebrate by worshiping their body. A 'pathi', a form of measurement is used in which flowers, abir-red color, raddish etc. are used to worship they body. These are poured by the lady of the house, usually. A 'mandap' - an artistic art, is drawn as in the figure in front of every member. The below pictures depicts the huge mandap to display to the people and foreigners.

Gai Jatra

On 29th August 2007, we Leo Club of Kathmandu Mahankal distributed the drinking water to the street walker during the occasion of Gai Jaitra. People have to walk a long way for this festival, so we thought of distributing the drinking water to make them feel ease to walk under the bright sunlight. First we thought no one would drink the water, but the response was overwhelming. We bought 5 huge jars in the beginning and again we had to order next 5 jars.

About the FESTIVAL

The festival of "Gai Jatra", the procession of cows, is generally celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August-September). The festival of cows is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal. The whole complex of Gai Jatra festival has its roots in the ancient age when people feared and worshipped Yamaraj,"the god of death". However, the ironical sessions synonymous with the Gai Jatra festival came into tradition in the medieval period of Nepal during the reign of Malla Kings. Hence, the present form of Gai Jatra is a happy blending of antiquity and medievalism.
According to the traditions since times immemorial, every family who has lost one relative during the past year must participate in a procession through the streets of Kathmandu leading a cow. If a cow is unavailable then a young boy dressed as a cow is considered a fair substitute. In Hinduism, a cow is regarded as the most venerated among all the domestic animals. It is believed that the cow, revered as a holy animal by Hindus, will help the deceased relative's journey to heaven.
In terms of historical evidences, once when King Pratap Malla lost his son, his wife, the queen remained dumbstruck. The king was very sad to see the condition of his beloved queen. The king, in spite of his several efforts, could not lessen the grief of his wife. By all means he wanted to see little smile on the lips of his sweetheart. He announced that someone who ever made the queen laugh would be rewarded adequately.
During the festival of Gai Jatra, the cow procession was brought before the griefstricken queen. Then the participants began ridiculing and befooling the important people of the society. Finally when the social injustice and other evils were highlighted and attacked mercilessly, the queen could not stop smiling. The queen laughed, and Pratap Malla, the king ensued a tradition of including jokes, satires,mockery and lampoon in the Gai Jatra days.

After the procession is over, in the afternoon, nearly everyone takes part in another age-old tradition in which the participants dress up and wear masks. The occassion is filled with songs,jokes, mockery and humour of every kind become the order of the day until late evening. Hence, Gai Jatra is a healthy festival which enables the people to accept the reality of death and to prepare oneself for the life after death. According to Hinduism,"whatever a man does in his life is a preparation to lead a good life, after death". - Source: