A Scientific Festival That Marks Beginning Of Newars’ Festivals
As every country has its own festivals and way of observing them, these age-old festive-activities of course, form the culture of a country.
Thus, Nepal, being the land of heady mixture of unique culture, is also a nest of diversity where 70 ethnic groups with their own religious, cultures, languages and life-styles exist in harmony.
The peaceful coexistence of a multi-religious system and beliefs is one of the most fascinating aspects of Nepal.
Ethnic castes, festivals, social activities, traditional values are the lenses through which the culture of a country is brought into focus. Numerous festivals of Nepal show that she is rich in cultural heritage where festivals are dynamic, enthralling events for every foreign visitor.
Among those, Sithi Nakha (which is celebrated by the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley is being celebrated Today—May 28th Thursday this year) which falls on the sixth day of the bright half of the month of Jetha (in the month of May).
This festival is said to have been observed to mark the birthday of Kumar, the Hindu deity of war and one of the sons of Lord Shiva, to worship his birthday as a mark of gratitude for fighting a battle with demons and helping the gods regain their kingdom.
This festival is also a beginning of festivals of the year. The faithful celebrate Sithi Nakha by visiting Kumar’s temple in the southern part of Kathmandu.
It is one of the main festivals to be observed by the native inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley.
On this day especially the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley prepare a typical Nepali dish made of maas ” black lentil” and mugi “kidney beans”, kasu “small peas ground”, bodi “beans” and offer it to Kumar.
They take these dishes and enjoy themselves. Next day Kumar beginning from Hanumandhoka Durbar Square is seated on a chariot and carried by men in accompaniment with musical instruments played by a nominate party of men along the streets of Kathmandu, Kumar, being a war-lord, his conveyance has been a peacock, a bird of slow and cautious motion, quick change and flights – all the qualities needed in an advancing army.
The festival also marks the end of Dewaali, a festival when the Nepalese worship their family deities annually. Those families which do not or cannot observe the Deewali for vivid reasons, worship the family deities by way of apologizing and also Kumar on this day.
Another special feature of this festival is the cleaning of the wells and springs from which people, before the supply of filtered drinking water through galvanized pipes and taps, used to drink water.
In Bhaktapur, a palanquin with an image of the Hindu goddess Bhagawati is carried in a colourful procession through Nyatapole Square.
Festivals also offer a dramatic glimpse of Nepalese people whose wonderful cultural heritage is an invaluable resource, one which the Nepalese are striving to preserve.
Nepal’s festivals rooted in the country’s history, mythology and religion, honour and propitiate the multitude of gods, controls malicious spirits, or celebrate mythological victories over evil.
Every festival in Nepal traditionally begins with something religious and moves with spontaneous spirit into a pleasant family feast. This is because, for Nepalese, religion has always influenced and has been the core of Nepali culture.
Nepalese festivals are celebrated from religious to historical aspects, agricultural to seasonal changes and for legendary fun. Above all, a festival is a social occasion, and an affirmation of the ancient and strong bonds of religion and culture.
Festivals in Nepal are reckoned not only as occasions to indulge in eating, drinking and making merry but also as occasions when one is to devote some of one’s time to the worship of and meditation upon gods and goddesses in different forms.
Festival celebrations feature common ingredients like the offering of puja, or worship, to the honoured deity, the carrying of the deity’s image in a rollicking chariot ride, and the flinging of red tika powder and coins into the air in hopes that they will bring luck by landing on the deity or the chariot.
Festivals are the mirrors of the culture. Thus, being a rich nation of festivals Nepal is known world-wide as the City of festivals and temples.
Anyway, every country’s cultural heritage needs to be made known to the world. This would help make cultural borrowings made possible.