Janai Purnima, an important Hindu festival of Nepal
August 31, kathmandu Janai Purnima, an important Hindu festival in Nepal, is observed by many families. It falls on the full moon day of Shrawan or Bhadra in the Nepali calendar. Diverse ethnic groups across the regions celebrate the festival with their distinct customs. The Brahmin and Chhetri communities mark this occasion as Janai Purnima, while it's referred to as Raksha Bandhani or Rakhi in the Terai region. Additionally, the Newar Community celebrates it as Kwati Purnima.
Janai Purnima holds deep significance in the Hindu faith, symbolizing purity and protection. "Janai" refers to a holy thread worn by Hindu men, particularly Brahmins and Chhetris. On this day, they ritually replace their Janai after a purifying bath in rivers like Bagmati or Vishnumati.
This sacred thread is reserved for males who have undergone the Bratabandhan ritual, signifying their transition to manhood and commitment to religious principles. Comprising three cords representing body, speech, and mind, the thread is thought to grant control over these aspects upon tying the three knots.
The rituals include paying homage to ancestors and Saptarishis (legendary sages), followed by the replacement of the Janai. Those not wearing Janai receive a protective colored thread called "Doro" from priests, which is later fastened to a cow's tail during the Tihar festival to ensure a safe journey to the afterlife.
During Janai Purnima, devotees visit places like the Kumbheswar temple and the sacred Gosainkunda Lakes, a renowned pilgrimage site. Trekking to Gosainkunda at this time is believed to cleanse sins and alleviate suffering.
Additionally, the festival Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, is celebrated in the Terai region. Sisters tie colored bracelets on their brothers' wrists to symbolize protection. Similarly, the Newar Community prepares and enjoys Kwati, a special dish made from nine types of sprouted beans.
In essence, Janai Purnima is a revered Hindu festival in Nepal, marked by various ethnic groups in distinct ways. It signifies purity, safeguarding, and spiritual growth through the renewal of the Janai thread and associated rituals.