Tag Archives: Mha Puja

Chhori’s Bhai Tika

We just finished our second biggest festival of the year, Tihar on Saturday.

Please click here to know more about the festival.

Sharing some photos of the day as it was so cute to see Chhori independently doing her Bhai Tika to my nephew.

Here are the posts I have written regarding Tihar over the years.

 

Take care,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominate your favourite blog . NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2017

 

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Chhori’s first Tihar

Tihar, the second biggest festival for Hindus after Dashain, was from 28th Oct to 1st Nov this year. Please click here to know more about the festival.

This year was Chhori’s first Tihar celebration so I wanted to make sure she had a great memory of the celebration.

bhai-tika-12 bhai-tika-7

Tihar is celebrated for five days and here are some photos from our celebration this year.

  • Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja

kaj-puja-2 kaj-puja-1

  • Kukur (dog) Puja

kukur-puja-2 kukur-puja-1

  • Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja

laxmi-puja-4 laxmi-puja-5 laxmi-puja-3 laxmi-puja-6 laxmi-puja-2

  • Goru Puja,Gobhardan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat

As my parents are here this year, it was great to have a whole family celebrating Mha puja.

mha-puja-3 mha-puja-4 mha-puja-1 mha-puja-2

  • Bhai Tika

Chhori does Bhai tika to my nephew. It was so cute to see these little ones performing the ritual.

bhai-tika-15 bhai-tika-14 bhai-tika-13 bhai-tika-1 bhai-tika-9 bhai-tika-16 bhai-tika-4 bhai-tika-5

Hope everyone celebrating had great Tihar too.

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Happy Tihar!!!

Today we start the second biggest festival, after Dashain, for Hindu from Nepal.

Tihar

This festival is celebrated in five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October.

 The five days are called

Mha Puja (10)

Hope all of you are enjoying with lots of yummy food like Selroti, Lal mohan, Besan ko ladoo and other sweets.

Sel roti (4)

With gleam of Diyos
And the Echo of the Chants
May Happiness and Contentment Fill Your life
Wishing you and your family
Happy and Prosperous Tihar!!

Take care everyone,

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

P.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2014

Celebrating Tihar

Like every year, we celebrated Tihar this year as well. For the details of the festival, please click here. I am sharing some of the photos from the festival.

Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja

Kaag puja (2)Kaag puja (1)

Kukur (dog) Puja

kukur puja (2) kukur puja (1)

Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja

laxmi puja (9)laxmi puja (7) laxmi puja (1) laxmi puja (3) laxmi puja (4) laxmi puja (5) laxmi puja (6) laxmi puja (8)

Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat

mha puja (2) mha puja (5)mha puja (4) mha puja (3) mha puja (6) mha puja (7) mha puja (1)

Bhai Tika

IMG_3217 IMG_3237 IMG_3259 IMG_3265 IMG_3269 IMG_3361 IMG_3390

This year, I have one more person to put tika on and that is my little nephew. It was so much fun and amazingly he even managed to sit still on his father’s lap in front of the mandap for the whole puja.

IMG_3246

Hope all of you had great time celebrating the festival.

tihar

P.S: Do not forget to nominate  your favorite blog .

Nominations open for NEPALIAUSTRALIAN’s Blog Award 2013

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Living in the west with values of the east

This article was published in DREAMS online magazine on 3rd October 2013.

dreams

When I was living in Nepal, I used to be annoyed and irritated by Nepali culture, tradition and values from time to time. Sometimes, I wished that I could run away from all that and live my life the way I wanted. And my wish was fulfilled when I left Nepal to come to Australia.

Having lived outside the country for more than decade now, I know how wrong my thoughts were. These days, I miss our culture, tradition, rituals and values that I used to ignore before. Not only do I miss it, I actually want to be a part of it and hope to pass it on to my kids and grand-kids one day, like my mother and grandmother did.

The festive season of Dashain and Tihar is here, and it is one of my favourite times of the year. This festive time has helped me connect with Nepal, Nepali culture and tradition. Before, I used to wish things could be as good in Australia as in Nepal, but that was just wishful thinking. So instead of being sad and depressed, this time I decided that we would celebrate the festivals with whatever we could.

With the motto, “If the mountain will not come to M, then M must go to the mountain”, we bring Nepali style Dashain and Tihar to Sydney. For the last few years, I have been having a lot of fun in Nepali festivals here.

For Dashain, I plant Jamara during Ghatasthapana, and it is ready for Tika day. During Asthami, Nawami and Dashami, we plan a Newari bhoj to mark the days.

Last year we had Kuchi Bhwey, a Newari bhoj consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice), Chicken curry, Spinach, Methi kerau (fenugreek and peas), Thulo kerau (big peas), Golbheda achar (tomato pickle), Butan(meat fry), Aloo tama(potatoes with bamboo shoots), and Methi(fenugreek) salad on Asthami.

On Nawami, we followed the tradition and performed a worship of our car. Later we had Samay Baji, a Newari dish consisting of Baji/Chiura(beaten/flattened rice) , Haku Mushya (black soyabean), Chhwela (smoked meat), Puka-la (spicy roasted meat), Aalu achar (cold potato salad ), Bhuti (boiled beans with spices), Khyen (boiled egg), Panchkwa (bamboo shoot, potato, beans mixed curry), Wo or Bara (shallow fried pancakes made of black lentil), Lava-palu (ginger and garlic), Achar (pickle), Wauncha (green vegetables) and Aayla (Newari liquor).

On Vijaya Dashmi, we normally take a day off from work so we can have fun with our loved ones. It is always fun to be blessed by elders with red Tika and Jamara. Following Tika, there are a few days where we get invited for tika, and this normally concludes the celebration of Dashain.

After a few weeks, we celebrate Tihar in full swing as well. I know people overseas normally celebrate only Bhai Tika but I didn’t want to miss out on the other days. So I perform Kag Tihar, Kukkur Tihar, Laxmi Puja and Mha Puja as well.

I haven’t seen many crows around in Sydney, so I decided to print a photo of a crow to perform my puja with. I know it sounds a bit silly, but it helps me to celebrate the festival. I did the same during Kukur Puja, printed the photo of a dog that my parents have in Nepal. If you ever feel like celebrating Tihar in full swing, you may want to follow my ideas.

I love Laxmi Puja as it make me feel happy and there is so much to do. We start the evening by lighting fairy lights and candles. Then I perform Laxmi Puja to the best to my knowledge. I normally print out the Mandap and Laxmi’s footsteps so I can perform the puja. Living overseas, we have to make do with whatever we can rather than missing out in the belief that we can’t do it.

Following Laxmi Puja, we performed Mha Puja with my brother, cousins, and friends. Mha Puja is such a great way to come together and have fun in our Newar culture. For this puja too we used printed mandaps, which made it easy for us to set up the puja. Like in Nepal, we have Shagun (a traditional plate typically consisting of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a “bara”, haku chhoila”  and “aila”, which ends with “dhau”) and bless our body for good health.

And finally, there is the Bhai Tika, which is always a big deal for me. I have two brothers on whom I perform the Puja, and I wanted to make sure it is a great celebration. I and my cousin even learned how to make Sel Roti, so our celebration is a lot like Nepal’s. I prepare for Bhai Tika weeks in advance, making masala (pack of dry fruits & nuts) and buying fruits, snacks and clothes. I prepare Shagun on the day and bake cakes for puja as well. I am always happy to see my brothers enjoying the day with me, and blessing me with happiness and gifts.

Not only celebrating Dashain and Tihar, but we try to do whatever we can to be in touch with Nepalese tradition and culture. Recently, my nephew had his 6th birthday, and it was celebrated with yomari (a newari delicacy made of external covering of rice-flour and an inner content of treacle) mala like in Nepal. One of my nephews was born here in Australia, so we did his chatti and nwaran (naming ceremony) according to Hindu rituals. We celebrate Teej every year wearing red and eating yummy Nepalese cuisine. And whenever possible, we go to Nepal to celebrate milestones like marriage and pasni. We had a traditional Newari wedding which went for over a week, and my nephew had his pasni in Nepal with our relatives and friends.

Even though I don’t have kids of my own right now, I know that they are affected by many thing in life, but their strongest main values are learned from their parents, society and surrounding environment. I know that even in Nepal, with globalisation we are losing some of our traditional values fast, while we adopt easily imitable aspects of western culture. Nepal has a unique blend of culture and customs, and people travel millions of miles to learn and observe these in Nepal. It will be a shame for our kids not to know their own customs, traditions, and rituals.

I hope my effort in bringing our eastern culture to the west will help my kids and their kids to learn more about Nepal, Nepali culture, traditions, rituals and values, so that they know their root and can be proud of it. I have been away from Nepal for a long time, but I still cherish the values that I have learned, and I hope one day, our next generation will do the same.

Happy Dashain and Tihar to all readers. No matter where you are, enjoy it in full swing!!!!

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Goru Puja, Govardhan Puja, Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat

Today is Goru Puja, Govardhan Puja, Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat.

Goru Puja

Nepal is mostly an agricultural country so oxen are considered important animals as they help in ploughing the fields. That is why on this day they are worshiped with tika, garland and offered nice food.

Govardhan Puja

Govardhan Puja is performed by making a hill called govardhan parbat using Cow dung. Cow dung has big importance in Hindu culture. In the olden days it was used for everything from light at night (Methane) to polish mud floors of traditional houses. Even now no Puja is complete without cow dung in Nepali Hindu culture.

It is believed that once there was a drought in a village in Vridavan. The villagers were very worried and they wanted to perform a big Puja in honour of Lord Indra, the God of rain. But Lord Krishna convinced them that, they should not pray to Lord Indra since it was the Mount Govardhan that brought the rain and not Lord Indra. This made Lord Indra very angry and in his wrath he sent forth a big thunderstorm to flood the village. Lord Krishan lifted the Mount Govardhan as an umbrella above the village to protect the villagers and their cattle from the rain and flood.

Mha Puja

In this day, after sunset Newar community perform Mha Puja.

“Mha” means body in the Newari language so on this day the Newa people worship their body and their inner self in the evening. They believe that the soul never dies and our body is only a vehicle and so we need to understand and respect our body as it is the chosen vehicle for this incarnation. This Puja is believed to bring prosperity and physical well-being.

Members of the family, first males followed by females, sit cross-legged in a row. The elder group of females plays the role of facilitators for each member. A mandap, decorated with different colours and various grains, fruits and flowers, is drawn for each member of the family.

In between the grains and fruits lies a mini mandap of oil, which represents the human soul. The human soul is placed between various grains and fruits so that a person will prosper throughout the year since each object represents a particular God and it is believed that each deity will bless the person. An oil lamp with velvet cloth wick equal in length to one’s own face is lit on top of the mandap facing all four cardinal directions so that a person will be renowned in all the places of this earth.

Apart from worshipping oneself, all the household entities like brooms, water pots, utensils and machines are also worshipped in the same way.

I performed Mha Puja with my brother and his family this year. This year my cousins are in Nepal so there were only 4 of us unlike 9 last year. For the Puja, first the floor was purified by sprinkling water on it then we made mandaps in front of a row of seats on the floor where we were sitting. Our mandap was designed by AS and I had printed them out on A4 paper but in Nepal they are made by hand on the floor using oil, rice flour, vermilion, puffed rice and sometimes beans.

The number of the mandaps needed is three plus the number of people doing the puja. We need three smaller mandaps at the top of the row for the Family Deity (Kuladevata), Yamaraj and Janmaraj, one mandap for each of the member performing Mha Puja. Then at the end of the row, we had a crow drawn symbolising Yama the God of death.

Normally the puja is done by the eldest member of the family but this year I did the process as my elder cousin is not in Sydney.

Process of doing Mha Puja (according to my knowledge):

  • First I gave Nasala, a few drops of water, in the palm of the right hand of everyone to sprinkle some into the mouth and rest over the body for purification.
  • I worshipped the Family Deity and Yama’s mandap with water, rice, flowers, and vermilion powder.
  • I gave water, rice, flowers, and vermilion powder to each individual to worship their own mandaps. The mandap is used as a medium to present the various offerings to the self.
  • Then I put tika on everyone’s forehead and gave them flower to put on their head.

  • Normally in Nepal, they use Itaa (hand woven long strands made using white cloth soaked in mustard oil) but here we used tea light candle instead. I gave each person the candle and everyone took the candle from my hand, lighted them and put them on their mandap. This light is believed to brighten the inner self and keep evil at bay.
  • I used rice and flower to shower each individual and worshipped the god within.
  • Then I gave every a plate with roti, sweets, fruits and masala.

  • Then,I gave Sagun to everyone. For Sagun, you put a plate of egg, bara (lentil cake), meat (chicken), a piece of garlicand fish in the right hand and yougurt in your left hand.

  • Once everyone finished eating the sagun, we used kucho (broom) to sweep the mandaps from top of the row to the bottom touching each mandap to conclude Mha puja.

Nepal Sambat

This day is also New Year’s day for Newar community and is called Nepal Sambat. Nepal Sambat is the national lunar calendar of Nepal. The era started on 20 October 879 AD and was in widespread use for all daily purposes until the beginning of the 20th century. It appeared on coins, stone and copper plate inscriptions, royal decrees, chronicles, Hindu and Buddhist manuscripts, legal documents and correspondence.

The customs of celebrating Nepal Sambat started from October 880 AD. According to a popular legend, there used to be a learned person in Bhaktapur who ordered porters to get sand from Lakhu Tirtha, a river in Kathmandu because he knew that it would turn into a heap of gold the next day. A person named Shankhadhar Sakhwaa came to know about it, and he enticed the porters to leave the sand in his place.

The next day, the sand turned into gold and with that gold he paid off the debt of all the people in the Kathmandu Valley. So from that day, people started celebrating it as their New Year to commemorate their happiness.

Even today, people are very enthusiastic to welcome the New Year. Every year, the day starts with a rally and the greeting of “Nhu Daya Bhintuna!” which means “Happy New Year”. Different programmes and functions are also organised in the Kathmandu Valley every year on this day.

The months of the year in Nepal Sambat are

Nepal Sambat month Corresponding Gregorian month
Kachha lā November
Thin lā December
Pohe lā January
Sil lā February
Chil lā March
Chau lā April
Bachha lā May
Tachha lā June
Dil lā July
Goon lā August
Yen lā September
Kau lā October

 It is Nepal Sambat 1133 this year. Nhu Daya Bhintuna everyone!!!

Also from this day, boys in groups go door to door singing special songs called Deusi similar to the Bhailo sung during Laxmi Puja. You can write just about any Deusi song as long as each line ends with the word `Deusi’ or `Deosuray’. A group of males get together, carry what-ever musical instruments they have or can play, and sing Deusi door to door blessing the home and family in return for money and/or refreshments. Teenagers perform various Deusi songs to collect money for their picnic.

It is considered auspicious to have these groups come to your front door. The house owner will offer them some rotis, fruits and money and they sing Deusi songs blessing the household with good fortune.

A Sample of Deusi Song. Includes a similar meaning in English

Bhana Mera Bhaiho Deusuray. (Say it my brothers, Say it. Deusuray)

Sormelai Kana Deusuray. (Say it louder and say it in tune. Deusuray)

Rato Batoo Deusuray. (Red mud trail. Deusuray)

Chiploa Batoo Desuray. (Slippery trail. Deusuray)

Laddai Paddai Deusuray. (Slipping and Sliding. Deusuray)

Akeya Hami Deusuray. (Finally we made it to your home! Deusuray)

…. …. Deusuray

…. …. Deusuray

…. …. Deusuray

Yo Garma Laxmi Deusuray. (In this home Lord Laxmi. Deusuray)

Sadthai Aaun Deusuray. (May always come. Deusuray)

Hamilai Denus Deusuray. (Give us what you have money or meal)

Bidtha Garnus Deusuray. (Please give us now, say good bye to us, so we can go sing for the next house!)

 Happy Tihar!!!

Tihar

Today we start the second biggest festival, after Dashain, for Hindu from Nepal.

This festival is celebrated in five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October.

 The five days are called

  • Kaag / Kag (crow) Puja
  • Kukur (dog) Puja
  • Laxmi Puja and Gai (cow) Puja
  • Goru Puja,Gobhardan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat
  • Bhai Tika

We also refer to Tihar as ‘Panchak Yama’ which literally means ‘The five days of the Lord of the underworld’. We also worship ‘Yamaraj’ in different forms in these five days.

In other words this festival is meant for life and death.The five-day festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crow, cow and dog, who maintain an intense relationship with the humans. It is also a time for cooking great meals at home, brothers and sisters shopping for gifts, flying kites, decorating homes and streets, playing cards with friends, resting and relaxing.

Tihar is also called The Festival of Lights, as many diyo or candles or decorative lights are lit both inside and outside the houses to make them bright at night. All the houses are cleaned and decorated with the belief that Goddess Laxmi will enter the house that is clean so people light candles, oil lamps and other lights and thus during the night the entire village or city looks like millions of sparkling gems.

There is a story, which tells why this revelry is celebrated so widely. Once there was a king who was living his last days. His astrologer had told him that a serpent would come and take his life away. The king did not want to die so he asked the astrologer if there was any way to escape death. The king was advised to sleep with lit oil lamps all around his bed and decorate the palace with oil lamps on the day of Laxmi puja so that Goddess Laxmi would talk to the serpent not to take his life. It did happen; the serpent was convinced by Goddess Laxmi. The serpent took the king to Yama Raj and told him that it was not yet the king’s time to come to the underworld. So Yama Raj opened his ledger and in it the kings remaining age was written zero, but the serpent cleverly put seven before zero. Thus the king lived for seventy more years. So form then onwards Tihar is widely celebrated worshipping the lord of the underworld and Goddess Laxmi.

Another mytological reasons behind the celebration  is that Lord Ram return to Ayodhya  after 14 years of exile. He killed Ravan on Nawani of Dashain thus we celebrate Dashain and his home-coming is celebrated in Tihar with lights and flowers.

Tihar is also celebrated by playing Langurburja. It is a game similar to the British dice game “Crown and Anchor”. I remember taking money from dad and running to play a game with my friends. The game is played with 6 dice and a mat. The mat has similar symbols, as the dice, and they are spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, crown and flag. The player can choose one or more symbols to bet his money on. If he gets at least one die with the same symbol which he bet on, he wins. If he gets two then he wins 2:1, the more he gets on the throw the more money he wins. As a kid we used to play for 25 paisa (equivalent to less than a cent in AUD now) a game. It was more for fun than for the money. I am sure they now play with more money than that.

Adults mostly play cards instead of Langurburja.

It also incorporates the Newar’s New Year, which is called Nepal Sambat.

Last weekend, I went shopping in preparation of the festival and bought lots of sweets, fruits and food.  I couldn’t find all the things I will need for Tihar and I was a bit disappointed in Nepali/Indian grocery in Sydney who are charging arms and legs for things we use for Tihar. Just an example, we need jajanka for Tihar which normally would cost around Rs 10 in Nepal but are selling for $2 (Rs180) each in Sydney!

Kaag Puja / Kag Puja

The first day of Tihar is Kaag / Kag (crow) puja which falls on 12 November this year.

Crow is supposed to be a henchman for Lord Yamaraj. Hindus believe crows to be messengers of good or bad news. With its croaking, it conveys messages like visitor coming to the house etc. It is also believed to be a messenger of Yama, the God of death

To avert grief and death in the family, Hindus worship crows during Kaag / Kag Tihar offering it sweets and various dishes. On this day crows are offered food on a plate made out of leaves in the morning before anyone in the house takes in food. In Nepal a crow is not killed cause as a legend says that one crow had happened to drink the water of life. Thus you can see crows everywhere sitting without the fear of human beings. Once you leave offerings on the balcony, a crow will come and eat the food.

Where there are no crows, any winged animal of the heavens (bird) will enjoy the feast.

In Australia, I haven’t seen many crows around so I printed a photo of a crow and performed the Puja this morning. I had a shower and then prepared puja. Here are some photos of Kaag / Kag puja from this morning 🙂

Happy Tihar everyone!!!

I will write about other days like Kukur Puja, Gai Puja and Laxmi Puja, Goru Puja , Govardhan Puja , Mha Puja and Nepal Sambat and Bhai Tika as the festival progresses.