Friday, February 1, 2008

One festival: Three Names (Gunupunhi, Rishi Tarpani and Janai Purnima)

Nepal is ‘The land of festival’ which have religious, cultural, social, educational, and economical character. The festival falls on the full moon day of Shrawan and is celebrated by both Hindus and the Buddhists is known by several names such as Gunupunhi, Rishi-Tarpani, Raksha-Bandhan etc.

Janai Purnima, the Sacred Thread Festival, is for Hindu men specially Bhramhans and Chettris who performs their annual change of Janai. Janai is is the symbol of being manhood and during religious ceremony called ‘Bratabandhan’, the thread is given only to males. From the day onwards, one must wear this Janai. Triple strings of Janai are the symbol of body, speech and mind. Therefore the wearer is supposed to gain complete control over each.

The wearer of Janai makes himself clean by shaving, cutting hair and bathing on the preceding day and undergoes partial fast avoiding meat, onion and garlic. Next morning, family priest performs a ceremony to sanctify the new thread reading from a holy book and place it about the recipient's neck across the chest.

The day is also called ‘Raksha Bandhan’. On the day, people wear sacred yellow thread around the wrist. The males tie the thread on the right and women on their left wrist. Raksha means ‘Protection’ and Bandhan means ‘Bond’. The thread is removed after three months on day of ‘Laxmi Puja’ and tie to the tail of a cow with the belief that it will help to cross the river Bhaiarna when death comes. On the morning of Raksha Bandhan, Brahman ties yellow thread around the buyers’ wrist intoning a quick prayer.

In Newar communities, the festival is also celebrated eating “Kwati”, a soup of nine different beans that is very nutritious and tasty. In terai, the day is celebrated as the day of brothers and sisters. Sisters offer “Rakhi” to brothers and brothers offers gift.

Thousands of people worship lord Shiva on this day. Religious fairs are held in Kumbheswor, Baraha Chhetra and Gosaikunda, among other places.


Blogger dilip vala said...

Rakshabandhan has always been an important day for you and me. I remember each year you would call me first thing in the morning and always wish me Happy Raksha Bandhan. I will send you Rakhi Gifts to India very soon. Ok bye

July 12, 2008 7:25 AM  

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