Kathmandu: In Nepal, Janai Purnima, Rakshya Bandhan or Rakshabandhan and Gunhi Punhi are being celebrated on Sunday.
Janai Purnima is believed to be a harbinger of rejuvenation. On this day Hindu 'thread-wearing' men renew their Janai (white cotton string is worn diagonally from the left shoulder to the right waist). The priests tie coloured thread (raksha dhago) around people's wrist which is said to protect people from evil. The day is also known as 'Rishi Tarpani'. Priests visit their Yajman (hosts) and bless them with the sacred thread.
It is believed that Indra, the king of gods was protected by a thread tied around his wrist by his Guru Brihaspati against the war with Bali, the king of demons. Prior to that, he was repeatedly defeated by Bali sans the thread.
Likewise, Rakshya Bandan also known as Rakshabandhan is observed mostly by the Madhesi community on this day.
Lately, the Rakhi culture has found popularity across various parts of the nation.
Sisters offer rakhi (a talisman, a symbol of protection) to their brothers and tie it around their wrists. The Raksha Bandhan or the Rakhi is believed to protect the brothers while the brothers take vow to protect their sisters.
Kathmandu Valley is observing 'Gunhi Punhi' on this day. Kwati soup is relished on as part of festivities today.
Gunhi Punhi is thus popularly known as Kwanti Punhi.
Newar farmers offer different food items to frogs on this day. Frogs are considered as agents of the God of rainfall and as such offerings of different food items to please the frog is believed to increase production of crops.
Besides the religious aspect, Gunhi Punhi falls between Shrawan-Bhadra. In the older times, and even today, people are bothered by common cold, cough, etc during monsoons due to changing climate as a new season approaches. Drinking soup made of different beans rich with many nutrients provided much needed energy to fight off the germs and strengthen immunity.
People also look at their reflection in the Kwati bowls. The reason for such act is that inhaling steam from the soup is considered to be beneficial for one's health.
Likewise, Buddhists observe this day in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautam Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture 'Lalitbistar'. A special fair takes place at Swayambhunath of Kathmandu today for this reason. UNI