Newars: its Culture and Traditions

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Introduction

Newars are the modern inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley, are believed to be an intermixture of Aryan and Mongoloid Strains resulting from the union between the kiratas and the Aryan migrating from the plains of India, wrote Robert heavy in his book "Mesocosm"

Daniel Wright in his work in "History of Nepal" writes an introduction of Newar armymens to Nepal. He writes "At the time when Raja Jayadeva Malla was ruling over halit-Patan and Kantipur and Ananda malla over Blaktapur, in the Saka year 811, and Nepal Sambat 9 (889AD) on the 7th of Sravana Sudi, a Saturday Nanyadevi Raja came from the South Karnataka Country and entered Nepal. He brought with him the Saka Sahkala era, and introduced it. Among the troops that were with him were Newaras, from a Country called Nayera, who were Brahman-putra Chetris and Achars.

But there is a Controversy in it, Indian history finding say during those days Raja Rampal reign had started and Nanyadeva Raja was independently the ruler of Tirhut province.

Today the Newar Community is associated with high culture and economic values and their trade practice are unmatched to other Communities. The Newars are an indigenous of Nepal and their history traces back to early 10th century, when Malla dynasty was at the peak

The Newars were the farmers, the Craftsmen and the Merchants that slowly migrated to other places in the Himalayan ranges including Sikkim, Darjeeling (then the British Sikkim) and North East India. Newar are rich in cultural traditions and rituals. Apart from following Hindu customs the Newar too follow Buddhism and mostly prevalent in the countryside of Nepal. Customs and culture are found from the time of birth to the death. Some of the astonishing culture followed by the Newar includes performing marriage with a fruit, its festivals, its language and food.

Those old rituals

Rituals in Newar are found to the pre natal where dahi, Chewra (flattened rice) and sweets are offered during pregnancy. This is known as Dhau baji nakegu and also found in other castes too. Maternal parents are informed after the birth of new baby where sweets, ginger, etc are sent. Till forth, sixth or tenth day of the birth of the child the family becomes impure where after performing the pujas they are purified.

Macha Janko the rice feeding ceremony is performed in sixth or eighth month in case of a baby boy and in fifth or seventh month in case of a newborn girl. Ganesha is worshiped and the child is offered rice pudding along with other varieties of food. It is believed that similar food eaten by the child on that day shall remain throughout the life span. In case of boys Bushankha is done where at the age of six years paju (mother's brother) shave off the hair from the boy's head while sister of the boy's father nini holds the shaved hair.

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