Picture Credit: Wonders of Nepal
Sithi Nakha is celebrated by the Newa community on the sixth day of the waxing moon of Jestha (May/June) in the Bikram Sambat calendar. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Sithi’ originates from the words ‘Shashthi’, which means sixth, and ‘Nakha’, which means festival. “Dugu Puja” is also performed on the day of Sithi Nakha.
It’s a day dedicated to cleaning all water resources and worshiping the god Kumar.
Prior to the monsoon, the Kathmandu valley becomes increasingly dry and the water level drops to its lowest level, so this is the ideal time to clean water resources. On this day, ancient water sources like ponds, wells, and stone spouts are cleaned.
During this day, ‘Nagas’, the serpent deities who rule over water resources, are also worshipped. In conjunction with the festival, the Newar community cleans public water resources. In Newari, today is a day to conserve water resources.
The Sithi Nakha festival is dedicated to preserving nature and culture. On this day, while some family members are away cleaning water sources, other family members prepare special Newari delicacies like ‘Wo’ (a lentil chapati) and ‘Chatamari’ (a rice flour chapati).
During the festival, six different types of ‘Wo’ and varieties of vegetables are prepared.
Worshiping the god Kartikeya or Kumar
The festival is observed by worshipping the elder son of God Mahadev and Goddess Parvati, Kartikeya, or Kumar. This is why it is also known as Kumar Khasti. In addition to celebrating Kumar’s birthday on this day, it signals the beginning of monsoon season.
This is also a day to worship Kumar’s resemblance “Pikhalakhu.”. Each Newar household has its own Mandal.
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