After Ghatasthapana, the next major excitement arrives with Fulpati, also known as Saptami, which is the seventh day of the festival. Today is Fulpati. Phool(Ful) means flower and pati means leaves and plants in Nepali. FulPati literally means flowers, leaves and plants.
On this day, in the past when the Nepal was ruled by a king, the jamara to be used by the royal family was brought from Gorkha Palace, their ancestral house. The Fulpati (jamara and the other items that are necessary for tika) is brought after a three day walk from Gorkha district which is about a hundred and sixty nine kilometres away from the valley of Kathmandu. A parade is held at Tundikhel ground in Kathmandu.
However, since 2008 when the monarchy was abolished, the two-century old tradition was changed so that the holy offering of Fulpati goes to the residence of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has taken over the king’s social and religious roles after the fall of the royal government. The Fulpati is brought from Gorkha to Dhading district from where six Brahmins carried it to Jamal. From Jamal, the Fulpati filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara and sugarcane tied with red cloth to be offered to Goddess Durga, is carried by Bhramans on a decorated palanquin under a gold tipped and embroidered umbrella to the Dashain Ghar in Hanuman Dhoka. The Gurujyuko Platoon, the Nepal army, Nepal police, and high-ranking officials of Armed Police and civil service, band music, and panchebaja bands also join the Fulpati parade. While the sacred items are being placed in Hanuman Dhoka palace, there is a majestic display of the Nepalese Army along with a celebratory firing of weapons that continues for ten to fifteen minutes honouring Fulpati. Army parade in Tundikhel is watched by the President, Prime Minister and other high level dignitaries in conventional formal dress.
All government as well as private offices close down from today encouraging people to go back to their respective ancestral homes and receive blessings from Durga Bhawani as well as their elders.
According to historian Prakash Darnal, the Fulpati celebration was started during the rule of Late King Prithivi Narayan Shah, after he united the small kingdoms into one Nepal.
Though Dashain begins with Ghatasthapana, the festival gets special flavour from the day of Fulpati.
As there is not much happening in Sydney for Fulpathi, we just gather in my house and had Samay Baji. This is a newari style Bhoj that we have in Nepal during Dashain. I will write details about the Samay Baji in my next post. This it what it looks like.
The festival will continue with Maha Asthami on Monday, Nawami on Tuesday and Dashami on Wednesday.