Nepal: Newar community in Bhaktapur celebrate Sithi Nakha festival

May 25, 2023

Bhaktapur (Nepal), May 25 (ANI): Newa community in Nepal celebrated the annual festival of Sithi Nakha to mark the beginning of the monsoon season by cleaning water sources such as ponds, wells, and stone spouts. According to Hindu mythology, it is said that the day is dedicated to Lord Kumar Kartikeya, the first son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The act of cleaning the water sources, community ponds, wells and water spouts on the day of Sithi Nakha has special significance in the Newar. It is celebrated at the onset of the rainy season. People believe that the rulers of water Nagas (Snake) leave the wells for other destinations, as the water reduces because of the driest period of the year. People also prepare traditional pancakes such as Bara and Chatamari as a tribute to their ancestral god. As per the folklore, the food items are not just for taste. Two delicacies consumed on this day are high in carbohydrates, protein, and iron. As the monsoon approaches, bodies are exposed to different types of bacteria and these types of food increase the immunity of one's body. Apart from it the religious side of the 'Sithi Nakha' festival also highlights the importance of water source conservation and the need for clean water. It is customary to worship around wells, boreholes, and ponds and clean up before worship. It is believed that the water resource should be closed for a few days after cleaning in Sithi Nakha to stabilize the water level. The cleaning is done by entering inside the dug wells, ponds, and boreholes, and by doing so, the underneath wastes like mud, silt, and sediment come up to the surface of the water. Sithi Nakha also marks the end of the one-month Dewali period, when Newars of related ancestry gather for great feasts and complicated rituals to honour their family gods and goddesses.