Bazaars come alive with jingle of bangles, beads

July 31, 2014

KATHMANDU, JUL 31 – Sellers of bangles, beads and mehndi have been all smiles since the start of the holy month of Shrawan with devout Hindu women thronging the bazaars to buy these beauty products needed for their religious observance. Shrawan  lasts from mid-July to mid-August.

Kathmandu’s swanky shopping malls and traditional markets like Asan, Indra Chowk and Makhan Galli are abuzz with shoppers checking out the latest products on offer.

According to traders, bangles and glass beads worth Rs 300 million are sold annually in Nepal, and the month of Shrawan alone accounts for 25 percent of the total sales. The bangles sold in the local markets are imported from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh while the beads come from the Czech Republic.

“I am selling bangles worth Rs 12,000 daily since the last two weeks compared to Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 on normal days,” said Swaraj Bhakta Shrestha, a retailer of bangles at Chokhachhe Galli, Indra Chowk. Read more

Lower Mustang set for the Yartung festival

July 30, 2014

KATHMANDU, JUL 30 – On the day of Janai Purnima, August 10, the settlements of Lower Mustang will wake up to the boisterous festivities of Yartung Mela. And as in previous years, the residents are all set to welcome visitors from near and far to enjoy the scenic beauty of the hidden valley and participate in an age-old ritual.

Regarded as one of the major festivals in Lower Mustang, Yartung Mela is celebrated primarily by the Thakali people of the Mustang region, to mark the end of the harvest season. The three-day celebration sees enthusiastic participation by the locals, who take part in various activities like horse racing, dancing and singing—all accompanied by liberal amounts of sumptuous food and drinks. Read more

Muslim’s biggest festival Eid-ul-Fitr today

July 29, 2014

KATHMANDU, JUL 29  – Eid ul-Fitr is being observed with gaiety and gusto across the country. The government has declared a public holiday today on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest festival of the Muslim community.

Eid celebrations mark an end to the month-long fast of Ramadan. The month, the most rigorous period of the Islamic lunar year, is when Muslims observe Roza (fasting)—abstaining from taking food, water and all other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is marked with the breaking of the fast and enjoying of various delicacies with relatives and friends.

They fast over the month from dawn to dusk in the belief that they would thus ascend to heaven and their sins would be cleansed. During the fasting month, some Muslims do not even watch television or listen to music after the daily fast.

Ever since the country was declared secular in 2008, the government has been declaring public holidays on both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha (Bakr Eid), the second biggest festival of the community celebrated in November.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice on Monday informing about the government’s decision to declare public holiday on Tuesday. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala extended his best wishes to the Muslim community for their progress, happiness and prosperity on the occasion. The PM said the festival would help strengthen religious harmony in the country.

Festivities in Nepal: A jubilant affair

July 28, 2014

Nepal may not be a prosperous nation when it comes to financial affluence, but it is definitely rich in culture, tradition and festivals. People, their customs, values and traditions have been adding charm to Nepal’s identity. Hence it can be said that Nepal is not only a land of Himalayas but also a land of festivals. For Nepalese, festivals are not merely the annual spectacles, but also a living part of their rich cultural heritage. Nepal witnesses more than 50 spectacular festivals in a year that any visit is almost certain to coincide with at least one. The best part about the festivals in Nepal is that all the events are celebrated with the same enthusiasm and galore the way it used to be hundreds of years ago. Here is a quick rundown of top 10 Nepali festivals: Read more

Gathe Mangal Battling the Evils

July 25, 2014

Celebrating the good and battling the evil is the crux of Gathe Mangal.

Long ago, there lived a demon in Kathmandu who had bells on his ears, and for that reason was known as Ghanta Karna. He took great pleasure in hunting down women and children. Everybody was terrified of him but nobody dared to fight against him for he was extremely evil and powerful. During the rainy season, the local farmers needed to go to their fields to sow the seeds and tend the crops. But they were too scared of Ghanta Karna to venture out of their homes.

At last, some frogs came up with a brilliant idea to vanquish the demon. They started croaking at a swamp near the demon’s dwelling. Ghanta Karna got so irritated with the unmelodic sound that he went after them to kill them. But the moment he entered the swamp, he drowned while the frogs remained unscathed. The farmers were so happy that they decided to celebrate the day of victory as Gathe Mangal and worship frogs for their courage and wisdom.

What seems like a fairytale is the actual legend behind one of the oldest festivals of the Kathmandu Valley observed by the resident Newar communities. It is called Gathe Mangal. A ritualistic ceremony to ward off ghosts and evil spirits and ensure good health and fortune, Gathe Mangal is celebrated every year on the day of Shrawan Shukla Chaturdashi. Read more

Mithila women observe Madhushravani festival

July 20, 2014

RAJBIRAJ, July 19: Madhushravani–a festival celebrated by married women in the Mithila region for the long life of their husbands– kicked off in the southern parts of the country Wednesday.

Married women, and especially those newly married, in the Mithila region-mostly a geographical area stretching from Rautahat to Morang district in the tarai- observe Madhushravani and it will continue for 15 days.

The significance of the festival lies in the fact that it celebrates a uniqueness of culture, language, customs and lifestyle.

The festival that began from Krishna Panchami (the fifth day of the new moon or naag panchami) of the month of Shrawan this year will conclude on Shukla Tritiya (third day of the waxing moon). During this period of about half a month, newly married women generally pray to the snake deities Naag and Naagin, to the Goddess Gauri and to Mahadev, for a happy conjugal life and the longevity of their husbands.

Bhawana Jha, a newly married woman from Tilathi, said that married women avoid garlic, onion, fish, meat and salt during the Madhushravani. Read more

Women set to go green as holy month of Shrawan starts

July 18, 2014

KATHMANDU: The holy month of Shrawan began today with Hindu women decking themselves out in colourful glass bangles and artistic henna tattoos.

Women were seen busy buying colourful bangles and having their hands decorated with henna tattoos in major thoroughfares of the capital.

Each Monday of this month has a special religious significance and women, both married and unmarried, observe fasting dedicated to Lord Shiva. On this day, married women clad in red attire and flaunt green and yellow glass bangles and visit Shiva temples to pray for the long life of their husbands whereas unmarried ones wish for good would-be husbands.

Legend has it that fasting in Shrawan bring blessings to the devotees and their wishes are fulfilled. Priests also perform rituals at Shiva temples, including Pashupatinath and Doleshwor Mahadev in the Kathmandu Valley.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: July 17, 2014

Ropain festival in Pokhara

June 30, 2014

POKHARA: Pokhara Tourism Council on Sunday organised Ropain festival at Buduwaphant in Pokhara sub-metropolis. Pokhara Tourism Council Chairman Surya Bahadur Bhujel said apart from locals, many tourists also participated in the festival. “Both locals and foreign tourists played with mud and smeared it on each other,” he said. To attract tourists even during off season, tourism entrepreneurs have been organising Ropain festival in different phants (plains) for the past one decade on Asar 15. Tug of war, race for tourists, smearing mud, catching fish and planting paddy were major highlights of the festival. “The festival has been organised to promote tourism through culture,” coordinator Ramu Gautam said.
Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 29 June, 2014