Nepal is immersed in the holy celebrations of the sacred festival ‘Janai Purnima’ today, i.e., August 3, 2020.
Janai Purnima, also known as ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ or ‘Gunhu Punhi,’ is a Hindu festival celebrated across the country on the full moon day in the month of Shrawan every year.
However, different communities celebrate this festival differently, depending upon their tradition and culture.
Brahmins and Chhettri ethnic group celebrate Janai Purnima. On this day, Brahmins and Chhettris perform their annual ritual of changing their Janai, the sacred thread, after having a haircut and sacred bath. The ritual celebrations represent the bond of pureness and security.
Other people, who are not wearing Janai, wear a sacred yellow thread called ‘Doro’ around their wrist.
“The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by Brahmin priests as a symbol of protection from fear and disease,” said Prof. Dr. Ram Chandra Gautam, Chairperson of Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti.
People mainly residing in the Terai region celebrate this festival as Raksha Bandhani or Rakhi. Sisters tie a thread bracelet known as ‘Rakhi’ or ‘Doro’ to their brother’s wrist, wishing them a long life and prosperity. The brothers, in return, offer gifts to their sisters and swear to protect them.
The Newar Community of Nepal celebrates this day as Gunhu Punhi or Kwati Punhi. On this day, Newar people prepare a special delicacy called Kwati, a soup made from nine different beans.
Moreover, Newar farmers offer different food items to frogs. They believe that frogs are agents of the god of rainfall, so such offerings increase crop production.
Meanwhile, Buddhists celebrate this day in commemoration of Lord Gautama Buddha’s victory over the evil power of lust.
On this occasion, thousands of devotees worship Lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, Kumbheswar in Lalitpur and other Shiva temples across the country.
However, the celebrations this year are quite different in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Nepali Government has banned public gatherings of more than 25 people to contain the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, it urged people to follow social distancing and hygiene practices while celebrating the festival.
Stay Tuned to Nepali Sansar for the latest news on Nepal culture!