Saturday, 9 December, 2023

Govardhan Puja and Mha Puja being celebrated today

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By TRN Online, Kathmandu, Nov. 15: Govardhan Puja, Goru Puja (Ox worship) and Mha Puja (Self worship) are being worshipped throughout the country today (Sunday).

“Today, being the fourth day of Tihar, people worship the sacred Govardhan Mountain and the ox,” said Priest (Purohit) Harihar Mishra.

According to Mishra, Govardhan Puja is associated with the legend of Lord Krishna who lifted the Govardhan Mountain with his bare hands to protect the people of Gokul from the heavy rains caused by an angry Indra.

Similarly, the ox is worshipped today to acknowledge its importance in agriculture, Mishra said.

The Newar communities across the country are also marking the day with Mha Puja. “Mha Puja literally means worship of the self and is performed to purify and empower the soul,” said Bhakta Ram Kayastha.

Kayastha, 82, described that mandalas (sacred diagram) are drawn on the floor and worshipped. Family members then sit in front of the mandalas and the lady of the house presents each of them with a burning wick, sacred thread Jajanka and fruits symbolising long life and good fortune.

“The next part of the ceremony is the offering of Sagun,” Kayastha explained. “The woman holds a pot of yogurt. Everybody dips their finger in it and puts the yogurt on their temple. They are then offered foods like egg, fish and rice wine.”

Kayastha said that the ritual of Mha Puja was intrinsically linked with the first day of the new Nepal Sambat year. “You are beginning the year by paying respects to your body and the divinity in it.”

But this year, Nepal Sambat 1141 begins a day after Mha Puja is supposed to be. This has caused confusion and some Newa families are celebrating Mha Puja on Monday to line up with the new year. “You can’t begin the year without Mha Puja,” Kayastha said.