Happy new year Nepal, Happy 2075

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Nepal, a territory at the foot of the Himalayas, with an area of 150,000Km. square, is a beautiful country where more than 30 communities coexist in peace and harmony, as a consequence, more than 30 different ways to live life and celebrate it. Besides, it´s said that in Nepal, every edifice is a temple and every day a celebration. We can not agree more, since Nepal is one of the countries with the biggest number of festivals in the world.

 

Today we specifically want to tell you about the Nepali New Year celebration, better known as Bisket Jatra. This festival is celebrated during nine consecutive days, and, due to its calendar, the Vikram Sambat, it goes 56 years and 8 months ahead of our calendar, the Gregorian calendar.

 

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A tale of history

But we can´t talk about the celebrations, without first to researching one of their oldest legends. The story tell that one of the kings of Bhaktapur had a beautiful princess as his daughter, who was so passionate that each night she demanded a new lover. But unfortunately, every morning, the lover with whom he had spent the previous night, appeared dead in mysterious circumstances. This continued like this until a brave foreign prince offered himself as a pretender to the princess.

That night, the princess lay down next to the prince, who, instead of falling asleep, hid in a corner of the room to observe the scene. A short time later, the prince understood what was causing the deaths of the previous suitors, seeing two poisonous snakes emerge from the nose of the princess. When he saw the two snakes, he drew his sword and cut off the snakes’ heads. The next morning, the entire city was glad that the princess’s suitor was still alive, and that the snakes were dead.

In this way, the king decided to hang from a large stick in the middle of the town square the two snakes, so that everyone could see them, and from that day, a party is commemorated in honor of his death. The inhabitants of the city of Bhaktapur walked around the city with the goddess Bhadra Kali in a large ceremonial chariot so that she could bless the stick and clap the death of the snakes.

Unique and spectacular celebration

Now that we know the origins on which this celebration is based, we will talk about the wonderful celebration that today is still celebrated in the beautiful city of Bhaktapur, which was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1979 of our calendar. The start of the New Year’s party in Nepal takes place when the figures of the gods Bairavh, one of the manifestations of Shiva, and Bhadra Kali goddess consort of Bairavh, are installed in two large wooden carts with four wheels, making it authentic mobile temples, which are moved by a large crowd of men, who are accompanied by musical groups as they walk the images of the gods throughout the city, until they reach the center of the city. At this moment, a unique competition took place.

The habitants of one half of the city and the other half, dispute the wooden car in a tug of war, to see who moves it to its territory. This competition can be a little dangerous since in some occasion some stone or stick can fall from the sky in order to undermine your energy and proclaim yourself winners. The winning half acquires the right to lodge the gods in their neighborhood during the seven days following the celebration.

During the next three days, long queues of women take offerings to the temples. Dances, masks, gifts, music and animal sacrifices are made in front of the images of the gods. The day before the new year begins, the cart with the images of the gods is taken to an open space on the outskirts of the city where the lifting of a gigantic ceremony stick, known as “yosin”, takes place. The later is demolished the next day on the occasion of the announcement of the beginning of the new year. From the top of this great stick, two long banners hang, representing the two poisonous snakes, symbols of the defeat of evil.

It is a wonderful party, full of color, energy, and enthusiasm. A trip to the future, specifically the year 2075, that is worth living and celebrating.

 


 

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