Feb 26, 2024

Happy Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan: A Celebration of Culture and Bonding

Happy Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan: A Celebration of Culture and Bonding

Today, on August 31st, 2023 at approximately 11:15 am and eventually throughout the day with faint drizzles it started raining in Kathmandu, Nepal. This rainfall is believed to be a result of the offerings made by the Newari farmers to the Frog, who is considered an agent of the God of rainfall, during Janai Purnima, where "Janai" means a sacred thread "Purnima" means the full moon. Janai Purnima is a sacred and an essential festival of the Hindu religion in Nepal that is celebrated on Bhadra 14th 2080 (according to the Nepali calendar) or August 31st 2023. 

 This auspicious day, also known as Raksha Bandhan, is celebrated as a public holiday in Nepal. And, the market is full of different colors of rakhis.

Raksha Bandhan, which in Sanskrit means "the bond of protection, purity, obligation and care" is one of the most sacred and important festivals of the Hindu religion celebrated worldwide. On this day, sisters tie a rakhi, a holy thread, on the wrist of their brothers to symbolize the bond of protection, purity, obligation, and care between them. In return, brothers offer gifts to their sisters and promise to protect them.

Today’s chant:

“येन बद्धो वलीराजा दानवेन्द्रो महावलस् ।

तेन त्वां प्रतिबध्नामि रक्षे मा चल मा चल ।।"

Meaning:

I will tie you with the same threat that protects (the black colored thread) that was tied to Bali, the great king of the demon.

This year, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the month of Bhadra (month of August) and is commonly referred to as Raksha Bandhan. During this time, the market is filled with different colors of rakhis, which are exchanged between brothers and sisters. For example, a red or golden or similarly colored thread is offered by a sister to her brother at Raksha Bandhan.

Nepal's festival season officially begins with Janai Purnima. It marks the beginning of August, though the exact date varies. On this day, Brahmins gather at the holy riverbanks to take ritual dips and offer ablution to the gods. The sacred thread, known as Janai, is changed during this festival. Brahman priests tie yellow sacred threads around the wrists of the faithful.

In the Newari language, Janai Purnima is referred to as 'Gun Punhi'. During this festival, people indulge in various sweet dishes and Kwati, a soup made of nine different types of sprouted beans.

Besides all these, this festival also sees a large number of Brahmins at the holy riverbanks who take ritual dips in the water and offer ablution to the gods. 

Visitors to Nepal can also partake in the festive atmosphere by traveling from Patan (residents of Patan celebrate a different ritual festival known as Kumbeshwar mela) to the Kumbeshwar Temple, Pashupati Temple, and Gosaikunda in Langtang. Here, they can witness the devotion of hundreds of worshipers as they gather to worship Shiva. Additionally, they can visit holy rivers and shrines.

Celebrate Janai Purnima, the festival of bonding and protection, with love, compassion, devotion, and joy as Nepal embraces tourists from around the world as their brothers and sisters. Discover the cultural richness and vibrant celebrations of Nepal during this special time. 

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