Sunday, 19 September, 2021

Ghantakarna festival today

file Photo

By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Aug. 6: The Newars of the Kathmandu Valley will be observing the Ghanta Karna festival on Friday to commemorate the age old tale of the good triumphing over evil.
The colourful ritual celebrates the defeat of a mythical demon known as Ghanta Karna. According to popular legend, a demon named Ghantakarna (translates to bell-ears) once roamed the ancient streets of Kathmandu Valley terrorising the inhabitants. He wore a pair of bells on his ears and they jingled everytime he walked across the streets, announcing his arrival to the fear-stricken locals. The notorious demon is said to have kidnapped children and women while demanding costly gifts and money as ransoms.
During the festival, at several intersections of Kathmandu’s numerous Newari towns and villages, people erect the effigy of the demon. The structure of Ghanta karna is like a ghost with three legs which are made of hay and different kinds of grass (Narkat). Locals also place pots of cooked rice at such intersections beside the dummies.
Chants and music fill the atmosphere by sundown as people watch the spectacle of the burning effigy. Before marking the end of the festival each household brings rice paddy, alcohol, lungs of he-buffalo, garlic and eggs and various other items as offerings to the dummy Ghanta Karna.
On the day of the festival, women also adorn themselves with heena and children bring dolls and play with them. Additionally, individuals also wear metal rings, which is believed to have the ability to defend from all ills and shrewd spirits.
During the festivity, the main market of Ason comes alive with vendors selling iron rings, henna and other items.
The festival is believed to ward off evil spirits, and bring peace and prosperity.