Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Teej ( Haritalika Teej)

Teej in Nepal 
Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. It falls in the month of August or early September. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband. Teej celebrations lasts for three pious days. Traditional dances and songs form an important feature of Teej celebrations. Red color is considered auspicious for women observing Teej fast and so most of them dress up in red or bridal clothes.

Teej Celebrations in Nepal
This is an annual festival of Nepali women. The festival is celebrated with utmost dedication and love by the women in Nepal. Preparations for the festival begin well in advance. Fabric stores, sarees and suit outlets are stocked with the bridal red color fabric. Women spend most of the time shopping when Teej is near.

Teej festival celebrations are carried further with sumptuous feasts and traditional performances. On this day, women dress up beautifully. They clad themselves in red colored apparels, wear glass bangles, heavy ornaments and apply henna. Teej gives women an opportunity to dress like the newly wed. They worship the epitome of divine marriage - Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, for longevity and prosperity for their husband and family.

Three Days of Teej
 Teej is a three-day-long festival in Nepal and each day has its own significance.
1. First day is called 'Dar Khane Din', the day to make merry.
2. Second day is a 'fasting day'.
3. The third day is called 'Rishi Panchami' in Nepal which is a day to
perform Teej Puja.

Dar Khane Din
 The first day of Teej in Nepal is called the 'Dar Khane Din'. On this day, the womenfolk dressed in the finest clothed gather at one place and perform traditional dance and sing devotional songs. A special food called 'dar' is eaten. Celebrations continue till midnight after which the 24-hour-long fast begins.

Fasting Day
The second or the fasting day of the Teej festival is dedicated to pujas and prayers. The holy Pashupatinath temple is thronged by women in red sarees to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. Women gather in the temple and circumambulate the Lingam (phallic symbol of the Lord) adorned with flowers, sweets and coins. The beautifully decorated idols of Shiva and Parvati are offered fruits and flowers to seek blessings of the divine spirits. Lighting of an oil lamp is very important part of the puja ceremony. It is said that the oil lamp should be kept lit all night to avoid bad omen.

Rishi Panchami
The third day of the Teej Festival is called Rishi Panchami. On this day, the seven sages of the Hindu pantheon are worshiped by women in a belief that it will cleanse all sins of the previous year. Womenfolk take a holy bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush, along with its leaves. After three hours of rigorous cleansing, they come out purified and absolved from all sins. After this they sit in a semicircle while a priest sitting in the middle chants devotional prayers. 

Festivals (Jatras) on the Month of Shrawan

The month of Shrawan Lets open the floodgates for jatras in the Valley


Bungamati Kumari waiting to be led out in the streets
The Bugumati Kumari waits to be led out into the streets. Huge crowds greet the annual procession of the Bungamati Kumari on the first day of the month of Shrawan, and onlookers gather to catch a glimpse of the Living Goddess and offer her their respects.


Priest carrying a silver & gold Shiva linga
A priest carries the silver-and-gold Shiva Linga during the Kumbeshwor Mela at midnight on the night before Janai Purnima. Large crowds gather at the Kumbeshwor temple complex in Patan on the occasion.

Tall wooden structures with images of dead family members
Bhaktapur local celebrate as tall wodden structures with images of dead family members are paraded around. During Gai Jatra or the 'cow procession', families who have lost a loved on commemorate their dead by leading a decorated cow or a young male in a walk around the city. The details of the procession differ in the case of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.

Sacred yellow thread

A young Brahman boy performs the janai (sacred yellow thread) ceremony on Raksha Bandhan. The thread is tied on wrists, signifying year-long protection for the wearer.


Performing elaborate skits for Matya
Residents of Patan perform elaborate skits for Matya. the festivals is celebrated on the day following Gai Jatra, and is characterized by the gathering of locals in main squares, where they put on costumes and perform comic shows that generally satirist social and political issues.


Devotees of Shiva in rituals
On each Monday of Shrawan, devotees undertake a pilgrimage, collecting water from sundarijal in pots and walking with these to the premises of the Pashupatinath temple in a bod to earn good health, wealth and happiness.

Figure of demon/bad spirit burned

Also called Gathe Mangal, this is a day of driving out bad spirit. Effigies of evil creatures are made and burned amidst fanfare in a symbolic end of their reign. Offerings are also placed at cross- roads around localities on the occasion.

Statue of Serpent deity being washed with milk


This is the annual day set aside for the worship of snakes. Pictures of Nags are punt on display over doorways and families gather to perform pujas. Snake Gods are widely worshiped as controllers of rainfall and evoke in times of prolonged drought

Source: The Kathmandu Post

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


For the Nepalese, the continuous flow of interrelated festivals throughout the year is literally a way of life, reflecting their joys and fears, dreams and sorrows. The festivals become a calendar, marking the changing seasons, the revolving of the years and ages, giving continuity and meaning to thie lives. They cement the strong and vital bonds between individual members in each family, as well as the ties within established groupings of case and clan and class.

Most of the celebrations originated centurions ago and have carried down through the ages from some mythological or perhaps actual event. vital for all good Hindus and Buddhists is the accrual of religious merit during one's time on earth to assure that life in the next world will be better. Towards this end offerings are made to the gods. especially on feast and festivals days. At certain festivals jatras are performed, when the idol is decorated and carried about in gala religious procession for a variety of reasons -  to honor him, present him to other gods and goddesses, or simply allow him the opportunity of watching some festival or ceremony with the celebrating populace.

Excerpt from the The festivals of Nepal by Marry M. Andreson

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gai Jatra (Cow Festival) In Bhaktapur

In Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Gai Jatra, one of the oldest festival is celebrated by the Newar community is believed to have initiated by the Malla Kings which is celebrated every year to bring joy and happiness to the people who suffer from grief from the death of the close relatives, also it is believed the soul would rest in peace. In Bhaktapur it was started by King Jayasthiti Malla where as King Pratap Malla started it in Kathmandu. This festival is celebrated for 8 days beginning from shrawan shukla pratipdaa.

Entrance of Bhaktapur Durbar Square
At 55 windows Durbar
This festival is quite different in Bhaktapur than in a way it is celebrated in Kathmandu. The dance ghintang ghisee, the ancient musical instruments and the picture of a demise person that is clinged on the long bamboo decorated with various stuff and carried by four person. The sequence of the group celebrating this festival is such that in the front there are dancers followed by the insturment players (these days new instruments have also come into played like in marriage) and at the end there are people carrying the pictures on the long bamboo. This is what makes it quite unique from Kathmandu.

ghinee twang - ghinee twang
ghintang ghisee twang

Foreigners in ghintang ghisee rhythm
This is the rhythm that is followed in the festival. When this rhythm is reached at twang the participants hit each other stick to sound twaakaa. The rhythm is very melodious when the large number of participants dance and hit the each other stick. It's quite easy to learn and that is why some of the foreigners were seen dancing ghintang ghisee.

Kids playing in ghintang ghisee
One of the interesting thing that could be noticed in the recent Gai Jatras is the number of girls participating in the festival which otherwise they have to sit around the home and just watch. In the last 2-3 years such participants have increased tremendously breaking the old traditional myth which states girls should be allowed to participate. The boys who are decorated as girls now have decreased after the increased participants of girls. However the glamor of the festival have increased by the girls and boys participation who dance along the rhythm.

At Kathmandu Durbar Square

At Kathmandu Durbar Square
In Kathmandu, the kids (boys) are dressed and decorated in a way that looks humorous sometimes by making them dressed like cow or girl. Some of the adult also participate in this festival who are decorated as jogis, beggar, mad person or anything that makes people laugh or just give a kind of statement that adds humor. During the festival the people revolve around mainly in the inner Kathmandu. The participants are given food, chocolates, biscuits, water, milk etc. by the visitors that makes this festival more entertaining. Likewise in Bhaktapur, Kathmandu also observed the increased participants of girls.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

smoking banned

slowly, lately but the law came into existence at the end. Smoking has been banned in the capital city in the public areas. this has its benefits. don't know how much it will have its benefit on the part of the smokers but it will inevitably have its good impact on the health of the non-smokers. the passive smoking will be almost become null. this step have been very much welcomed by the society. Talking about society, how many of them are there who don't smoke? In public area, or with friends, or the the narrow space of the street (gallis), just chilling out with friends, when being alone, just to get that relaxation from the work or any other occasions how many of them are there who don't smoke. sometimes i just think the ratio of smokers  have surpassed the non-smokers. so given this scenario will this law come into effect, even if it does how long? does the implementing body of the government can exercise this law into effect. the government official themselves i mean most of them have a habit of smoking in the office room its self. I saw a picture of one of the government official on the daily news paper other day in which he was smoking in the Singha Durbar. What makes more serious on this law issue is that the regulating body has claimed that they have not received any such order from their senior to ban smoking in the public places. well the written order might have been delayed to reach to the destination. well like the law slowly and lately it may reach to the regulating body destination and make this place a little good.