Kathmandu, December 19
Various communities across the nation are celebrating different festivals today, coinciding with the full moon day of the month of Mangsir as per the lunar calendar.
Today is Yamari Punhi also known or called as Yamari Purnima or Yomari Purne or Yamari Punhi which is an important festival especially for the Newar farming community, Yomri is also called Yamari. In Newar Community (Newa: Community), this festival holds a very important significance. In the language of Newa:, Yomari is the favorite bread and Punhi means the full moon. Yomari/Yamari is thus a festival of the Newa tradition of making a special kind of bread made with the flour (dough) of the new rice which has entered the house from the field after the harvest. Thus, to celebrate the entering of the new harvest into the house as a celebration a special kind of bread is made and after offering it to the gods, the ancestral gods and the ancestors, it is consumed.
There is a myth associated with Yamari Purne / Yomari Punhi, which gives some information about the use of Yamari, as well as the origin of the practice of consuming this sweet food. According to the legend, a (mahajan) moneylender named Suchandra used to live in the “Panchal kingdom”, now known as “Panauti”.
Hearing that Mahajan Suchandra was very generous, the god of wealth, God Kuber, in the guise of a poor man, as a beggar came to their house. The Mahajans on the morning of the full moon day (2cel Y60) after the daily purification, bathing etc in the early morning used to make a kind of bread using molasses and sesame from new rice flour and keeping it in a Bhakari (a big round vessel especially made of bamboo) used to worship different deities including Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity) and Kuber (God of wealth) When Lord Kuber god of wealth came in disguise of a beggar at the couples house, Suchandra’s wife welcomed Kuber
wealth came in disguise of a beggar at the couples house, Suchandra’s wife welcomed Kuber with lot of respect as possible, served him the best meal and the special kind of bread mixed with sesame seeds made from new rice flour. Then Lord Kuvera was very pleased with their welcome gesture and showed them his true nature. Then, giving a bimiro (Citron) in the hand of Suchanda’s wife, he also taught them the method of worshiping the paddy (dhan / grain) in the paddy Bhakari from that day i.e today onwards.
In this way, Kuber, the god of wealth, very much pleased returned by making Mahajan even richer. This incident slowly was known by the people of the town. In this way, as the people of the town also came to know about this incident. They also started to make Yomari from new paddy flour, put it in the Bhakari worship it and all other deities as well as their ancestors etc. After four days taking the yamari out of the Bhakari, finishing the procedure of worshipping their ancestors, their ancestral gods etc they consumed it. In this way the tradition of making Yamari, worshipping it in Bhakari later to consume it and to distribute it to those who come to ask for some was also established.
From that day onwards, i.e today Suchandra’s wife started to use the method taught by Lord Kuber to make flour from freshly imported rice of their own farm, with which she made idols of Sri Lakshmi, Sri Kuber, Sri Ganesh and Shri Kumar in the shape of Bimiro (Citron). Because of this story, as of today also the belief that the family can become prosperous by doing so is still very famous. Due to this reason, it is customary to consider and celebrate this day as Dhanya Purnima. Nowadays, as in the past, not everyone had a Bhakari at home, but instead as everyone has a rice storage container at home, people worship that container considering it as a Bhakari during this day to celebrate Dhanya Purnima. The date on the full moon of Margashirsha Shukla Pakchya is called Dhanya Purnima. Dhanya Purnima is celebrated to express gratitude to Mother Earth after the main crop of paddy sown in Asar is harvested during the month of Mangsir. On this day, mother earth is worshiped by expressing gratitude for the paddy given by her. This full moon day, which is celebrated with the wish that “the paddy in Bhakari should never be short and always full of riches”, is the reason why this day is called ‘Dhanya Purnima’.
Dhanya Purnima is a Hindu festival celebrated to mark the conclusion of the rice harvest season across the country. Hindus celebrate the festival by stocking new grain and making offerings to god and goddesses to ensure plentiful supply of grains throughout the year.
According to the Kirant mythology, Paruhang who used to live in heaven, saw a beautiful girl Sumnima on Earth. He fell in love with Sumnima and married her. They had four children. But later Paruhang left Sumnima in a hut on the bank of Dudhkoshi River and did not return for a long time. One day, while searching for food, Sumnima saw a creeper on a stone. She tasted the creeper and found out that it was full of power and happiness. She took the creeper with her and made a buti, an intoxicating religious garland out of it. She kept it safely. The buti inspired everybody, who saw it, to tell the truth of their life. One day, Paruhang returned suddenly. Sumnima gave the buti to Paruhang which made him tell what he had done all those days.
So, Sumnima came to know how Paruhang had spent the time looking at the heaven and Earth from the top of Chomolongma (Mount Everest). He told her that he had meditated, and visited the whole universe. Paruhang promised not to leave her, which made Sumnima dance with joy. It is believed the dance is the Sakela Dance. So there is also a tradition of young boys and girls participating in Sakela Dance to meet each other and find love.