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‘Gathamuga’ festival being celebrated today
Photo credit : Bijaya Rai
The Newari festival which marks the death of mythical demon ‘Ghantakarna’ is being celebrated today by the locals of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
‘Gathamuga’ is also called ‘Ghantakarna’ or ‘Gathemangal’. People believe this day as the day of driving out evil spirits from their homes. Figures of evil creatures are made and burned. Offerings are also placed at crossroads around localities.
In Kathmandu and Lalitpur, a human representation of Gathamuga’-‘Halahulu’ from the lower newar caste, sits on top of the figure and is dragged away and thrown in a nearby river. In Sankhu, Bhaktapur, this festival is called ‘Bhu-dyo’ meaning the ghost god. The figures are made from reeds and a plant called ’Bijaha’. And there is absence of Halahulu.
This Chaturdashi is also considered as Dhatu day. On this day, leaves or bohota, cooked rice and food are placed on the path for demons. It is believed that by keeping such foods and performing puja, one is protected from ghosts, vampires, wind, fire and various tantra mantras. Making children run over the burning effigy is believed to end the bed-peeing habit.
Moreover, during this day, huge iron nails are hammered in the main door of the house (Pikalukhu). This festival is observed on Shrawan Shukla Chaturdasi according to the lunar calendar.
- by Republica
- by Samiksha Shrestha