October 28, 2019 08:29 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Oct 28: Gai Puja, Goru Puja or ox worship and Govardan Puja are being observed throughout the country today on the fourth day of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated mainly by the Hindus across the country.
This year, Gai Pooja and Goru Pooja have fallen on the same day, today. The cows are fed with sweets and delicacies as part of the Gai Puja rituals.
As per the tradition, the sacred thread tied around one's wrist on Janai Poornima festival would be tied on the tail of the cow while performing Gai Puja today. The myth has it that by doing so, the person's soul crosses the Baitarani River, a mythical river, to heaven, after his/her death.
Similarly, the Govardhan Puja rituals are being observed today with the replicas of the Govardhan Mountain made out of the cow dung. People prepare a mixture of the cow dung and ochre formed into a paste and apply on the courtyard of their homes and the floors today.
The rituals are linked to the Hindu God Sri Krishna who, according to the legend, lifted the Govardhan Mountain by his hand and protected the people of a place called Gokul from torrential rains caused by Indra, the God of rain. As the legend goes, the Rain God was angered and thereby caused the heavy downpour.
Likewise, the ox is also worshipped today as it is a very useful animal in different agricultural works in Nepal which is a predominantly an agricultural society. Nepal Calendar Fixation Committee has decided to celebrate Mha Puja today, but people from the Newar community have been divided over whether to celebrate Mha Puja today or tomorrow.
However, people from Newar Community of hilly areas have been preparing to celebrate Vaitika on Tuesday after observing Mha Puja today. It also falls on the Newari New Year which is based on the Newar calendar, Nepal Sambat. Mha Puja refers to self-worship, making an offering to one’s body.