KATHMANDU, July 16: Today is Shrawan 1st as per the Nepali calendar. With the beginning of the month, cosmetic shops are filled with red, yellow and green bangles, pote, tika and henna. Despite the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, women are seen visiting shops to purchase varieties of cosmetic items.
Women generally pair their bangles with the color of their dresses, but during the month of Shrawan women wear green, red, and yellow bangles. Married women prefer wearing green and yellow along with red but the unmarried ones pair green and yellow. Red is the color associated with husband and it is also considered as one of the symbols of shaubhagya. This is why married women are supposed to wear red, while unmarried women are seen wearing green and yellow bangles.
Even girls in jeans are seen wearing bangles during the month of Shrawan. It is widely believed that unmarried girls who wear green bangles and worship Lord Shiva can get ideal husbands. During the month of Shrawan each year, Hindu women show their devotion to Lord Shiva by applying henna on their hands and wearing green-yellow bangles. It is believed that if women worship Lord Shiva during the month of Shrawan, their wishes come true and their husbands live longer. With this belief, hundreds of Hindu Nepali women follow the ritual of wearing green bangles and applying henna on the first day of Shrawan. Some women rigorously observe fast every Monday during the month of Shrawan and visit temples of Lord Shiva praying for good fortune. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they may not be able to do so.
Women wear green and henna during the month of Shrawan for prosperity and their husbands’ long life. With devotion on the one hand and the charm of cosmetics on the other, Hindu women across the country celebrate womanhood in full swing during Shrawan. Married women decorate themselves for the love of their husbands, while unmarried girls pray for better partners
The devotion for Lord Shiva and the love for green is not only limited to the Kathmandu Valley and the women here. Owners of various cosmetic shops across the country witness a brisk business in this holy month.
“Many females follow Shrawan rituals without knowing the reasons or logic behind them. If thought logically, it may seem that there is no sense in wishing for your husband’s longevity by staying hungry and wearing green color. But, once you understand the meaning behind any ritual, your faith becomes strong," said Kalpana Ghimire, 61, of Imadol.
Here are some of the photos taken by our photo journalist Monika Malla in Kathmandu: