Janai Purnima (Rakshya Bandhan)

Janai Purnima
Janai Purnima festival. Image form adma.com.np

Janai Purnima, which falls in the month of Shrawan, is one of the most sacred thread festivals of the Hindus. On this auspicious day, Nepalese men especially the Brahmins and the Chettries, bathe in sacred rivers such as the Vishnumati and the Bagmati and perform annual change of their “janai”. Janai is a cotton string worn across the chest by Hindu men. It is only given to males during the religious ceremony of Bratabandhan, which is a formal process of accepting individual in their religion.

It is believed that sacred Janai protects them from the dangers of the coming year. Meanwhile, the rest of the Nepalese people who celebrate this festival, put a sacred thread around their wrists. The thread signifies good wishes of the friends and family for security and bliss. The thread tied on this day is believed to bring favorable circumstances and protect the individual further in his/her life.

According to the legend, Lord Vishnu once punished his proud devotee who is known as Bali. Then Lord Vishnu tied Bali with the scared thread and sent him to Hell. Then from that day it was introduced as sacred threads(Janai) which was tied around the wrists or other parts of body by Hindu people to get free from their sins. So from that time it has been celebrated in great way.

KKwati Punhi at Janai PurnimaThe Newars celebrate it as “Kwati Punhi” whereas the people of the Terai also celebrate it as “Rakhsya Bandhan”. On the day of Janai Purnima, healthy nutrious food is prepared and eaten by people with their families. There is a special dish arranged on this day which is known as ‘Kwati. Nine varieties of beans are used to make kwati. The beans are soaked in water for three to four days until they have sprouted. They are boiled with various spices to make a thick soup. Lovage seeds are bloomed in oil and added to it as the special seasoning. Flatbread cut into one-and-a-half-inch squares can be boiled with the kwāti for variety.
It has been said that eating kwati on this day readies the body against monsoon rain. Likewise, kwāti is eaten by the farmers who have been planting rice during the rainy season to get them back to physical wellbeing. Moreover, Janai Purnima is the day when people pause their work, forget their misfortunes if any and invest some energy with the friends and family in order to be cheerful. In Janai Purnima, Newar farmers offer different food items to frogs. They consider frogs as an agent of the God of rainfall and making offerings of different food items help to increase the production of crops.

Raksha bandhanCorrespondingly, many Nepalese people celebrate Rakshya Bandan on this day. It is celebtrated as the day when siblings and sisters praise their connection with each other. Sisters prepare delicious meals for their sibling and make a ‘Rakhi’. The Rakhi is then exhibited to the siblings among other customary ceremonies that are performed on this day. The Rakhi implies the sister’s desires for the sibling’s prosperity and wellbeing in his life. It is tied around the wrist of the sibling and consequently, the sibling offers endowments to the sister. Wishes are traded and delightful dinners that the sister has arranged is eaten. This denotes the day of the uncommon bond that is shared between the siblings and sisters.

Regardless of the different names and beliefs behind it, Janai Purnima observes the bond of purity and security. It is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. On the day of Janai Purnima, thousands of devotees worship Lord Shiva at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu and Kumbeswor in Lalitpur and take holy dips in ponds and lakes to eradicate their sins. A very great religious fair takes place at Gosaikunda lake in Rasuwa District.Ganga Dhanus Sagar at Janakpur and Tribenidham mela is also observed.

Photo: Trip to Gosaikunda on Janai Purnima


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