Fri, 24 May, 2024

Diversity of Food with Festival

By Dipesh Poudel

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Nepal is a country with great cultural diversity. There are many different communities and they celebrate different festivals. In one way or the other, each festival is associated with some kind of food item, indicating us, the Nepalese, as being foodies. Let’s see some of the festivals and food items related to those festivals.

Janai Purnima (Rakshya Bandhan):

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Janai Purnima  is observed on full moon day in the month of Shrawan.  This festival is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. On this day, Hindu men, especially the Brahmans and Chettris   (also called tagadharis) perform their annual change of Janai (Janai is a cotton string worn across the chest by Hindu male) which they are given after the ceremony call Bhartabanda (literally means: tied by rules) . In the morning of Raksha Bandhan, the people go to Brahman who ties the yellow  thread around the wrist intoning a quick prayer which goes "Thus I tie the Raksha round your wrist, the same which bound the arm of the mighty Bali, King of the Danavas. May its protection be eternal', which means Janai is supposed to protect the person who wears it.

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Food item associated with this festival is Kwati. Kwati is a type of soup prepared from nine different kinds of beans; it is a special delicacy, hot food, which is very good for health. This festival is also called Kwati Purnima.

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For more information on Kwati:

Maghi/ Maghe Sankranti:

Maghe Sankranti (Maghi) is celebrated on first day of Magh (10th month of Nepali calendar). Sankranti refers to transmigration of the Sun from one Rashi (sign of the zodiac) to another or in simple word according to Nepali calender Sankranti means first day of a month. Then obviously, there are 12 such Sankrantis in a year. It is believed that Makar Sankranti is beginning of new holy seasons, which ends with the start of winter. Maghe Sangkranti is also called Maghi. Maghi is New Year for ‘Tharu’ community in Nepal.

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In different places in Nepal, on the occasion of Maghe Sankranti people organize bull fighting competition. In ancient time, the owner of winning bull used to take the losing bull but nowadays it is organized only for fun.

‘Till ko laddu’ (Brown Sesame seed Fudge), Chakku (hardened black molasses), Ghee (Clarified Butter) and Yam’s curry is cooked as Maghe Sankranti’s special food.

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For more info on ‘Till ko laddu’:  

Yomari Punhi:

Yomari is a Newari food and Punhi means full moon. Yomari Punhi is celebrated in full moon day by making, eating and distributing Yomari. This festival is very popular in Kathmandu valley. Yomari Punhi is a Newari festival marking the end of the rice harvest.

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For More info on Yomari:

Ashar 15, Sharawn 15:

These two dates are also celebrated as festivals in Nepal. Both these dates have their respective significance.

Ashar 15 (Ashar is 3rd month Nepali Calender) is very special day for farmers. This day is observed as start of monsoon along with which the paddy farming season begins. On this day people eat Dahi-Chura (Beaten rice and yogurt).

Ashar 15 is also celebrated as National Paddy Day (Rastriya Dhann Dewas). On various places of tourist attraction like Pokhara, race and football are organized which are played in wet mud (hilo).

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Sharawn 15 (Sharawn is 4th month of Nepali Calendar) is day for eating Kheer (Rice pudding).

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