Tag Archives: Pasni

Janku (Pasni for older people)

In Newari culture Janku (also known as Buda Janku or Pasni, different from pasni for baby  ) is a celebration when a person reaches a certain age. If it’s a couple, the date is determined by the age of the husband and the couple will celebrate the Janku together irrespective of the wife’s age at the time. If it is a single person, then it is according to their birth date.

There are five Jankus performed during the lifetime of the person if s/he happens to live to be 106 years old.

The first Janku is when a person is of 77 years, 7 months and 7 days where they are worshipped as an aspect of the sun. This is called BHIMRATHAROHAN where the grandsons carry the person’s chariot on their shoulders and visit temples of god and goddess.

The second Janku is at the age of 83 years, 4 months and 4 days where they are worshipped as an aspect of the moon. This is called CHANDRARATHAROHAN as it is believed that a person has seen 1000 full moons in their life and their prayers are directed towards the moon.

The third Janku is performed at the age of 88 years, 8 months and 8 days, which is called DEVRATHAROHAN and they are worshipped as an aspect of god. This time too the grandsons pull the chariot and visit temples. While entering to home the persons chariot is entered from the window of the house.

The forth Janku is at the age of 99 years, 9 months and 9 days, which is called DIVYARATHAROHAN.

The final one is at the age of 105 years, 8 months and 8 days old, called MAHADIVYARATHAROHAN.

Janku is celebrated at such defined ages for two reasons. “Newari texts mention that the particular ages for the ceremonies mark inauspicious times in a person’s life, times when even the smallest hurdle might pose a serious threat to one’s life. The various rituals are performed in order to please particular deities to help the person overcome those problems”.

Before the invention and availability of modern medicine the average life expectancy of the people was 60 to 65 years and reaching the age of 77 and beyond was like getting a new lease on life. The second reason for a Janku is that after their Janku ,they are considered as god or goddess and the title of Thakali is given the as they are one of the senior members of the community.

Few weeks ago, my Ma (maternal grandmother) celebrated her second Janku. I wish I was in Nepal for that as I missed the first one too but I am so glad to see that she has one great grandson with her.

My Ma has four kids, one of them being my mum and all of them are married. She has 10 grand kids and 6 great grand kids but unfortunately all of the grand kids live overseas so it was so rare for a great grand kid to be around during that time.

Luckily my brother, SIL and nephew were visiting Nepal and they were there to celebrate the big occasion.

During each Janku, the person is dressed like a bride or groom and takes seven steps before getting on the Rath (chariot). The sons and grandsons carry them on the chariot take them around town with family and relatives following the procession.

Women shower them with flowers and vermilion powder and when they reach their home they are given Sagun wishing them a long healthy life.

All the relatives and even distant ones visit them to receive their blessings and have a Bhoj (party) after the completion of all the rites and rituals.

Till next time, take care

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Loving Nepali Culture and traditions

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in June 2013 issue.

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I have lived in Australian for over a decade and I have to admit, I love Nepal, its culture and traditions more than the day I left her.

It is funny to remember how relived I was when I received the visa to come here. It was like; finally, I was going to be out of Nepal, far from all the stupid traditions and cultures to a new land where I could start all over again. Even though I was very sad leaving my family behind, I was really excited for the possible future. The preparation to leave the country was done with high spirit and positive attitude.

Finally the big day came. Before I left the house, in a traditional manner, my grand ma put a red tika on my forehead, and blessed me with sagun. I still remember the time I spent at the airport in Kathmandu. I was a bit teary eyed while bidding good bye to all the people who came to see me off. I realised that day that I had so many people around me who loved me. I had my parents, my brother, my relatives, my cousins, my school friends and my college friends, more than 30 people there wishing me well and saying their good byes.

Travelling in a plane to Sydney for the first time, I knew I was blessed with loved one but still at the back of my mind, I was happy about my decision about leaving Nepal and coming here.

The first few weeks in Sydney were really exciting as it was a new place, so much to see and explore. I got my first mobile phone and it surely felt like my dream country. But then reality hit me. For the first time in life, I needed to find a job. It was quite an effort to work, to cook meals and study at the same time. I was missing Nepal and home a lot. I convinced myself that the hardship was just temporary and once I got settled, things would change.

Things did change for the better after I got a job and started making friends but I still missed my family and Nepal a lot. I was surprised that I was missing my morning ritual in Nepal, going to the temples with my dad. I was missing my mum’s puja in the morning, the noise of the chaotic traffic of Kathmandu, the vegetables and fruits vendors’ calls selling their stuffs door to door, the sound of temple bells, and missing all the festivals. Being far from home, I realised and slowly started to value the culture and tradition of Nepal which I used not to like.

The first Dashain and Tihar away from home were really hard ones. Even though holidays were the best part of Dashain and Tihar in Nepal, I missed the tika and other religious aspects of these festivals. I also missed celebrating my birthday in a traditional way, tika with sagun in the morning and visiting many temples during the day.

As time passed by, I started embracing Nepali culture and tradition and started following it as much as possible. I started taking down notes of what happens in our culture and it was a joy to explain to people from other countries the different aspects of Nepali tradition. It felt so good to see their reaction when I explained what we do during our festivals, wedding, birth and death. I realise that our culture is so unique and old that it is worth all the effort to preserve it

I started celebrating Dashain and Tihar in full swing and having more family and friends here definitely helped to make it better. Even though I am from a Newar background, I joined my friends when they celebrate Teej and love every minute of it. Living abroad definitely has made me appreciate Nepal and its culture lot more than before.

I went to Nepal and had a very traditional wedding and I was happy to participate in a very elaborate ceremony over many days. Recently, my brother and sister in law were blessed with a baby boy and we made sure we followed all the traditional rituals here even though we are so far away from home. He had his Chhaithi and Nwaran here and we all went to Nepal to celebrate his Pasni with our loved ones.

These days instead of getting annoyed by the tradition and culture in Nepal, I feel inquisitive. I always want to know more why we do Ihi, Gufa , Bartamanda, Saradha, Pasni, Nwaran or any other ritual. I want to learn the legends behind our every festival and one day wish to pass this knowledge on to my kids. I want them to be proud of Nepal and Nepali culture. Even though I am not in Nepal, Nepal and its culture and tradition will always be in me and I hope to spread this love to the next generation so they can be proud of our heritage, tradition and culture.

Do you still follow your cultures and traditions?

Till next post, take care.

M from nepaliaustralia

XOXO

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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.

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.