Tag Archives: Pasni

Update from Nepal Part 3

Skinny and photogenic

90% of the people I meet in Nepal told me that I am too skinny and I need to put on some weight. I am not underweight so I am happy with it and as you all know I try very hard with exercise and healthy food to maintain my figure but most people in Nepal have their own ideas about my weight.

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In the beginning I used to get annoyed about it but now I am so used to it that I ignored all these comments with a smile :). Also if you look around Kathmandu, most gals are either similar weight like mine or even skinnier than me so I have no idea why they think I need to put on weight. I have a feeling being married is one of the factor.

Anyway I am learning to just ignore and concentrate in good eating habit no matter what people say. Also AS is on my side telling me I am OK and we just need to concentrate on being healthy. I am very happy to have such a wonderful hubby who understands me so well. But I think he has an ulterior motive as well. He doesn’t want me gaining weight and buying more clothes as I won’t fit into my current ones then 🙂

Most of the people especially from AS’s side has seen me only during the wedding. That time I was a bride so I was fully made up in the traditional attire. After the wedding, lot of his relatives added me on their Facebook. So that is the only way they have seen me in causal dresses.

Anyway, I have heard from lot of his relatives that I am photogenic. I am not sure I should take that as a compliment or not. I am just wondering because, normally I think photogenic means I look good on photo but at the back of mind I was wondering, does that mean I don’t look good in person.

Anyway I got that comment from many people so just sharing what’s on my mind here 🙂

Maghe Sankranti

According to Nepali calendar, it was Maghe Sankranti (1st of Magh) a few days ago.  Please click here to read more about this festival.

As I am married now, I was invited to AS’s grandparents house to celebrate the festival with my in-laws. AS missed the occasion but I was glad I was there as I got to meet all his relatives again.

As I mentioned in my post, this day we eat laddoos (sesame seeds candy ball), chaku (molasses), ghee (clarified butter), sweet potatoes, yam, khichari (mixture of rice and lentils), ginger and salt  and green leaf spinach. So a big feast was ready in the house when we got there.DSC04802DSC04800DSC04799

First his grandma put mustard oil on our head and blessed us then we all enjoyed the food. It was fun catching up with my new family.

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After a few days of Magh 1, AS’s Mama (Mum’s brother) also invited us for Maghe Sankranti. In Newari culture normally, daughter’s family invites SIL, daughter and their kids after the festival as nakhatya (festival invitation in newari) to celebrate the festival.

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I got to meet more family members in this function as well. As you must have guessed,there was a feast prepared which included laddoos, chaku (molasses), ghee (clarified butter), sweet potatoes, yam, khichari, green leaf spinach and many more  dishes. .

Ma fussy chu ( I am fussy)

Sometime words have two different meaning in different languages and I got caught into that recently.

The other day I was in a departmental store trying on few make-up items. The sales gal was doing her job well convincing me to buy something so in reply I said, “ Ma fussy chu ( I am fussy), so let me think about it.” But she understood completely different thing.

Fussy (pronounced Fashi ) means con in a gentle way in Nepali language. So she thought I was telling her that she tried to con me into buying something else. For a minute I didn’t understand her reply as it was out of context when she said, “Don’t worry I am telling you the truth” but after a while I understood that she thought I thought she was conning me into buying something different.

Now I think before I say something as it might have a different meaning here.

Pasni Party

While AS was here we were invited to a Pasni of one of our friends’ kid along with my parents. They live in Sydney near us but they came here to host the function like my brother. It was nice to go to this function and enjoy Nepali way of socialising. I met a few friends and relatives in this function because in Nepal, somehow everyone seems to be related. 🙂

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Wedding party experience

I am writing this as my own experience and have no intention to disrespect any caste.

As I have told you in my post here, Nepal is a country of four castes and thirty six sub castes which means all of these castes have their own tradition and rituals.

I am from Newar caste and in our culture wedding parties goes till late at night. It is common to see Newari party starting around 6 pm and finish at 12 midnight but other castes like chhetri or bhaunu may have wedding parties that start in the afternoon and finish a bit early like 6-7pm.

One of my friends (a chherti by caste)  had invited me for his sister’s wedding. He asked me if I needed a physical invitation card but I said it’s OK as I didn’t want to bother him. So I went to the party hall where he had told me in that day with one of my cousins.

When we reach the hall, the hall was almost empty so I thought either I mix up the day or the venue. But as I entered, I saw my friend. It was 7 pm at most but there were only a few people left there. Even the bride and groom had left as they had to travel few hours to reach their home.

He informed us that the party was almost over. I was a bit embarrassed because I didn’t know what to say. I had tried to contact him earlier to find out the details but he was unavailable as he was flying in from the US the same day. Even my mum had reminded me to check the time but I just assumed that it would be same as ours but I was so mistaken.

I was happy to meet my friends after a while but it was a bit embarrassing situation and for the first time in my life I reached a party when it was almost over.

Latest update

I am having a great time with my parents. I am spending lots of time with them talking and having a great time. We have been to many temples around Kathmandu which I will post details of later. I am really glad that I extended my 2 weeks holiday to spend with them as they are very happy to have me here and I am very happy to be here.

I still miss AS a lot but I will be seeing him soon. We talk on the phone or Skype everyday so I am happy to be in Kathmandu in my birth home.

Take care everyone till my next post.

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Nwaran for my nephew

Baby BJ was 11 days old last Friday so we had a ceremony held for him called Nwaran.

The ceremony is also known as Machabu Byakegu in Newari. It takes place on the  11th day from birth. This ceremony is performed to give a birth name to a child according to his/her lunar horoscope, this is usually not the name by which he/she will be known. This ceremony is normally small and celebrated amongst close family.

We are lucky to have a friend who is also a priest. He gave us a list of things that are required for the day and everything was ready when he arrived at my brother’s place at 8.30 am.

The main ceremony was conducted in the balcony of my brother’s apartment.  Before the priest arrived we had cleaned and mopped the place. So, when he arrived, he started making a Mandap on the balcony. Once it was ready he asked my brother to come and join him for the Puja.

He had all his books of mantras and it took more than an hour for the first phase of the Puja to finish. It involved lots of mantra reciting from the books and lots of different Pujas to God, with candles on the Mandap.

Then he asked my Sister in law and Baby BJ to join the Puja. He chanted more mantras from the book. Then he asked my SIL to perform Puja to the sun. Then he put tika on Baby BJ’s forehead and gave him a piece of paper which had details required to make his Jaata (lunar horoscope chart). It will be done by my parents in Nepal.

Then we took little BJ for Surya Darshan, i.e. to let the sunray fall on him as a blessing. He was also given a holy cloth with his birth name written on it.

Then he put Tika on my brother, SIL and then the rest of us. He also put Janai (holy string) around our wrists.

After that all of us put Tika on baby BJ as our blessings.  Little BJ got lots of gifts from all of us, mainly clothes and toys.

After the Puja was concluded we had our morning brunch.

Chhaithi for my nephew

AS I mentioned in my post Nwaran and Pasni previously, there a so many rituals in Hindu culture when one has  a baby. Now that I have a nephew, we need to follow the rituals and one of them is called Chhaithi (sixth day) as it is performed on the sixth day after a child’s birth. So yesterday I went to my brother’s place after work to celebrate the Chhaithi of my little nephew.

For Chhaithi, the fufu (baby’s dad’s sister, or the baby’s paternal aunt) will need to bring some koseli (gifts for the baby) which includes fruits and sweet along with a new pair of clothes for the baby. She will also bring a notebook and a pen/pencil.

So to start the Chhaithi, the fufu sits with the infant on the ground and they are be surrounded by 12 oil lamps (diyo, we used tea light candles instead) and one more diyo is also lighted for god.  A puja thali is prepared which is used to put tika on baby’s forehead. Then the baby will be changed into the new clothes.

After that everyone else (starting from the fufus) will put tika on the baby’s forehead and give some money or other gifts to the fufu. The last one will be the baby’s father who will give some gift to his sister and take the baby from her.

After the ceremony when the baby goes to sleep, the notebook and pen is kept on his bed side along with one of the candles. It is believed until that day , the baby’s fortune is not written so that night, god will come and write his fortune using that notebook and pen.

Proud Parents

It was my first experience to be a part of baby’s life from their early days. I really enjoyed it. This Friday we will be celebrating his Nwaran.

BTW, they have a name for the baby now and I will be referring him as Baby BJ from now on.

Nwaran and Pasni

As you must have noticed by now, Nepali people have lots of celebrations and functions. When a baby is born there are many celebrations as well.

The first ceremony is called Nwaran (analogous to baptism ceremony). It is also known as Machabu Byakegu in Newari. It takes place on the 11th day. This ceremony is performed to give a birth name to a child according to his/her lunar horoscope, this is usually not the name by which he/she will be known. This ceremony is normally small and celebrated amongst close family.

Then there is Pasni ceremony which is also known as rice feeding ceremony or Weaning Ceremony. This ceremony is also called Annaprashan which in Sanskrit term, literally means grain initiation. It is the first time the baby is fed solid food. It is called Macha Junko in Newari.

Pasni is normally held after 6 months from birth for a baby is boy while if it is a baby girl, it is held after the fifth or seventh month. The day and time will be fixed after consulting a priest/astrologer.

As I have attended a few Pasnis lately, I am sharing the photos and procedure of Pasni here.

The ceremony begins at home. On the morning of Pasni, the baby will be showered and wrapped in a towel for the ceremony to begin. The Fufu (Babies dad’s sister) of the baby will hold the baby during this ceremony. Normally Fufu and other women in the family wear red sari.

Special Pasni dress

kalli

The place where the ceremony is to be held is cleaned and all the required ritual puja plate and food are arranged. Then the elder lady of the family will start the puja with the help of the priest. The first step is to put tika on the forehead of the baby, then the baby is given a special outfit, usually made of red velvet and embroidered with silver and golden threads. Gold and silver ornaments are also given to the baby, like heavy silver anklets (kalli) carved with dragon at both the ends to keep the bad omens away from the baby as well as gold bracelet.

Once it is handed over, the baby is dressed in this special outfit and the ornaments and further ritual starts. First the baby is given dubo ko mala (a garland of holy grass). Then it is followed by puja and symbolic feeding of kheer (rice pudding) or the first bite of solid food. The baby is then offered all kinds of foods to taste from Thaa bu (a plate which has eggs, yogurt, wine, fruits, Roti, meat, fish) .

Thaa Bu

Baby will be also offered a tray of stuffs like books symbolising learning, jewels symbolising wealth, a pen symbolising wisdom, clay symbolising property, food items symbolising a love for food (There can be anything symbolising a career. A friend of mine had stethoscope symbolising a doctor) and it is believed that depending on what the baby pickes, it will determine his/her future career. Family and friends have a great time cheering the little one while he makes his choice.

Baby trying to pick a object during pasni ceremony

There are lots of food and gifts given to the child from his/her mother’s family. It will also include Sagun. Sagun typically consists of a boiled egg, smoked fish, a bara (pan-fried black lentil patties), haku chhoila (smoked buffalo meat) and aila (wine) and ends with dhau (yogurt). Also all the family and relatives bless the baby with gifts or money. It’s a beautiful and elaborate ritual.

Sagun

After that maternal uncle (mum’s brother) carries the baby to the nearest temple so the baby can get blessing from the gods. In front of the temple, the baby is fed with some Prasad (offerings) and this will conclude the ceremony.

It is an occasion for celebration, and family and friends are invited to attend. These days Pasni ceremonies in Kathmandu are very lavish and are held in party function rooms much like a wedding ceremony. The guests, numbering in their hundreds bring gifts for the child and party late into the night.