3 years ago
Shrawan festivities in a package
With the onset of New Year, Nepalis await a trail of festivals. Nepal is a country adorned with diverse culture, while 123 languages are spoken within the territory. These festivals reflect our cultural identity and are reminder of solidarity. Among other months, Shrawan marks several auspicious occasions celebrated across the country. This year, major Shrawan festivals, including Janai Purnima, Rakshya Bandhan and Naag Panchami have arrived in package on Friday.
The Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti had decided to mark Naag Panchami and Janai Purnima on the same day because of the Khandagras (partial lunar eclipse).
Janai Purnima, also known as Rakshya Bandhan, is a festival widely celebrated by Hindus in the month of Shrawan. Since it falls on the full moon day of Shrawan, and is celebrated by wearing a sacred thread called janai, the festival is named Janai Purnima. This festival is celebrated by performing the annual change of janai which is worn across the chest by Hindu males.
Since the belief prevails that tying janai ensures longevity and leads to a progressive life, the festival is initiated with taking a ‘Shrawanik Snan’, a bathing ritual carried out with five holy substances and after-bath pujas.
Raksha Bandhan is a similar thread tying ritual which manifests the belief of protection against misfortunes. This ritual is performed by tying doro, a sacred colorful thread, by diverse group of people regardless of caste, class, sex and age as a bond of protection. It is believed that the doro tied on the wrist makes wishes come true if it is tied to the tail of a cow on the day of Laxmi Puja. A mixture of beans known as Kwati is also consumed by the followers for the celebration of this day.
Naag Panchami is another major festival observed by Hindus celebrated in the Shukla Panchami of the month of Shrawan. This festival marks the importance of harmony and respect to nature as well as ecology. Because Shrawan is the month mostly suited to worship Lord Shiva, Naag Panchami is celebrated in the Shukla Panchami of Shrawan.
Since snakes are viewed as the manifestation of serpent gods, 12 types of snakes, including Ananta, Vasuki, Shesha, Padma, Kambala, Karkotaka, Ashvatara, Dhritarastra, Shankhapala, Kaliya, Takshaka, Pingala are worshipped on the day. Drawn to the belief that the prayers offered on this day would be well received by the serpent gods, followers worship these serpent gods by pasting the gods’ picture with cow dung, dubo and doro on the entrance door.
With Khandagras (partial) lunar eclipse occurring on the full moon day, Janai Purnima that previously fell on the full moon day is to be celebrated on the Shrawan Panchami on Friday. “Since the Khandagras lunar eclipse casts a bad omen to celebrate Janai Purnima on the very full moon day, this year the festival will be observed on the day of Shrawan Panchami. Despite falling on the same day, devotees are expected to celebrate the festivals mid much exuberance,” said Sanskrit lecturer of Balmiki Campus, Narayan Prasad Niraula.