Happy Janai Purnima / Rakshya Bandhan

Today I learned it was a festival day, which explains the more than usual women I met walking up to Chandeshori Temple this morning.

Rakshya Bandhan is a festival celebrated at full moon during the month of Shrawan (this is a busy month for festivals!).

Doro being tied around the left wrist of this lady. Photo credit: Trekking Mart

Doro being tied around the left wrist of this lady. Photo credit: Trekking Mart

According to the time-honoured tradition, people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread (doro), which is tied around the wrist as a bracelet.  Generally men wear the doro on the right wrist, whilst women wear theirs on their left wrist.  The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by priests and is a symbol of protection from fear and disease.  The doro is generally worn until the festival of Diwali in October.  That is unless it falls off the wrist on Day 1 like my friend today!

Men can take things a step further and don a sacred thread around their torso over ther left shoulder 0 this is called a janai and is worn year round  Celebrating Janai Purnima requires the men to head for the nearest sacred pond, bathe and have a haircut before change the janai for a fresh one for the year ahead.

A devotee receiving janai, a sacred thread, during Janai Purnima festival in Lalitpur. Photo credit: Skanda Gautam, Himalayan Times

A devotee receiving janai, a sacred thread, during Janai Purnima festival in Lalitpur. Photo credit: Skanda Gautam, Himalayan Times

Kwati soup is a 9-bean very thick soup which is traditionally eaten for breakfast today.  Given I am preparing my own breakfasts, I missed out on the pleasure.

Kwati soup. Photo credit Pinterest.

Kwati soup. Photo credit Pinterest.

Hope everyone had a Happy Janai Purnima / Rakshya Bandhan Day!  It’s quite the upbeat festival, so I thought I would treat you to some traditional Nepali music & instruments by the brilliant Kutumba.  The piece of music is called Pariwartan.

Incidentally, Buddhists observe today too, in commemoration of the day the Lord Gautama Buddha defeated the evil power of lust. This episode is well-described in the Buddhist scripture ‘Lalitbistar’ so I am told.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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5 Responses to Happy Janai Purnima / Rakshya Bandhan

  1. Mick Canning says:

    Kwati soup for breakfast – now you’re talking!

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