Newar people observing Sithi Nakha festival today

Published On: June 8, 2019 01:34 PM NPT By: RSS

KATHMANDU, June 8: The Newar community is observing the Sithi Nakha festival today as per time-honored tradition.

This festival falls on the sixth day of the waxing moon in the Nepali month Jeth as per the lunar calendar. The Newar community takes this festival as the last of their cultural festivals marked before the start of the monsoon season. The day also marks the birth of Kumar, one of the Hindu deities.

Kumar is worshipped on the occasion and people cook 'bara', a special pancake made of the paste of lentils and peas. Farmers also cook and partake 'mhuchhyamadhi', a special kind of bread made out of the flour of the newly-harvested wheat crop. Also on this day, the Newar people clean the water sources, wells, water springs, ponds and water spouts in their locality. The act of cleaning the water sources, community ponds, wells and water spouts on the day of Sithi Nakha has special significance in the Newar culture.

This cultural ritual ensures that the water sources are kept clean and the drainage around them is cleared so as to avoid the pollution of the water sources by the runoff during the rainy season. Sithi Nakha festival also heralds the coming of the monsoon (rainy) season and the rice planting time.

Culture expert Prof (Dr) Purushottam Lochan Shrestha said Sithi Nakha is important in the Newar community for two reasons: first, it is the birthday of Kumar, the older son of Hindu god Mahadev and goddess Parbati and second, it heralds the coming of the paddy planting season as well as teaches the need of cleaning the water sources. According to legend, Kumar is considered the commander of the deities.

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