Valley marks Sithi Nakha to clean up wells

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, May 26: Newari communities of Kathmandu and adjoining cities celebrated Sithi Nakha, one of the most popular festivals among their community on Thursday by cleaning the water sources situated near their localities.

The festival is celebrated by cleaning all water sources - well, stone spout, royal cannel, water tank and pond the onset of monsoon season.

The word "Sithi" was modified from the Sanskrit word 'Shashthi’ which means sixth and "Nakha” means festival in Newari language. The festival also celebrated in honour of Lord Kumar on his birthday as Kumar Shasthi. It is related to water, livelihood, public health, environment and personal hygiene.

As per the religious belief, snakes and other aquatic living creatures leave the water sources and attend their cultural event ‘Dewali’. So, the time is safe for the people to clean them and make the aquatic creatures and snakes happy.

Every festival celebrated by the Newar community has its own legend and religious significance. Sithi Nakha, which is celebrated before the beginning of the rainy season, also has religious significance and popular belief.

It is customary to clean water sources such as wells, ponds, stone streams before the rains so that the water sources are not blocked by the rains. But recently, most of the wells, stone streams and wells in the valley have dried up and some have already dried up.

However, today the tradition of cleaning water sources especially around your house and big wells is a very old culture.

On the day, people get up early and take holy bath and perform Kulpooja (ancestor worship) which is related to the personal health hygiene and prepare traditional pancake ‘Bara’ with eight kinds of beans and ‘Chatamari’ as a tribute to their ancestors.

On the day, especially the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley prepare a typical Nepali dish made of maas (black lentil), mugi, kidney beans, bodi “beans” and offer to God Kumar.

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