siti 01On the sixth day of bright fortnight “Tachhalathwa”, the opening fortnight of the eighth month in Nepal Samvat, the Newa community celebrates Sithi Nakha, dedicated to Sithi dyaa(the name for Lord Kumar in Nepal Bhasha). The main essence of this day is cleaning ground water sources. This is the last day of the puja of Kuldevta known as “Dwigu Dyaa” which starts off on ‘Akshay Tritiya’, the third day of the bright fortnight of Bachhalathwa.Thereafter, any family missing this day for making offerings to Kuldevata need to wait for another year to hold a Depuja.The main places of reverence for this day are temples at Jaisideval, Kathmandu and Goddess Chandeshwari, Bhaktapur.

SitiNakha in Kathmandu Four days before the festival of Sithi Nakha, the attendants bring the idol of Sithi dyaa and place it on a platform, strip the garments and ornaments off the idol and give an annual ritual bath to the idol on the platform especially built for this purpose at Jaisideval. First, the idol is cleansed with ‘Pancha mitra’ meaning five items of the elixir (milk, yogurt,ghya (homemade butter) made of cow’s milk, honey and sugar) . Some other attendants collect all these five items flowing out of the idol and distribute it as the blessing of the God. The idol is then decorated in his finery with ornaments, and placed at the public place called ‘Phalcha’ for public reverence. Local people and some people from other villages also come to make offerings to Sithi dyo. The main items of the offerings are different types of ‘wa’ made of black lentils, kidney beans, small peas ground and soybeans, and ‘chatamari’ made out of rice flour in addition to the items of the regular offerings

Then, on the day of Sithi Nakha, attendants bring fully decorated Sithi dyaa for public reverence. In the evening, devotees carry him on a portable shrine (“khaa”) on shoulder poles and take him to Goddess Taleju at the Kathmandu Durbar Square for the annual audience with the Goddess. However, Lord Kumar travels on a portable shrine without a musical band. This is a unique feature of the festival of Lord Kumar, as none of the deities travel without a musical band. Another unique thing is that the attendant to Lord Kumar is a lady.

Chandeshwari Jatra of Bhaktapur

In Bhaktapur, the Newa community celebrates the festival of Goddess Chandeshwari on his day. From the early morning, devotees come to the three-tiered temple to Goddess Chandeshwari for reverence. In the evening, devotees carry the goddess on a portable shrine around the neighborhood. Festival of cleaning water sources The Newa community does not take the natural resources they receive for granted. They understand that all the resources are blessings from the deities. Thus, they celebrate the resources on certain occasions. This day is to show utmost respect for water resources, which shall bring them the crops and thus prosperity for the entire year around. The Newa community worships the Nagas, who are believed to be the rulers of water resources, and clean water sources like wells, ponds and spouts on this day.

siti 2This festival is believed to celebrate the birthday of Lord Kumar as well as the welcome of monsoon. The rulers of water, the Nagas are believed to leave the wells for other destinations, as the water level goes down almost to the bottom during the driest period of the year and the monsoon rains have not come yet. So the water sources are cleaned to welcome them back to their homes on this day. Houses, courtyards, streets and alleyways are also clean during this day. The communities worship for good rain and thus good crops on this day. Thus, the Sithi Nakha is an important day for the Newa community that revels this day as the day of Sithi dyo, Goddess Chandeshwari and cleaning water sources, particularly the water wells. This day is an example that the Newa cultural values are made on scientific bases, which contributed to strong and sustainable economic growth for our ancestors.