Newar Rites of Passage
There are many pre natal rituals, however majority of those : pusawan kriya, simatopanayan, for example are no longer in existence. Nevertheless, Dhau baji nakegu (offering yogurt and flattened rice along with yomari, sweets etc) during pregnancy is still practiced by many castes.
After child birth, it is informed to maternal home of the mother. It is done by sending sugar candy, nutmeg, ginger etc. After the birth, concerned family becomes ritually impure. They become pure after 'Machaboo byanke' tradition which is done on forth, sixth or tenth day after the child birth.
There is also a tradition of offering different kinds of foods from maternal home of the mother within a month of delivery, which is known as 'Baji nakah wonegu' or ' Machaboo swahwanegu'.
Macha Janko (the rice feeding)
The rice feeding is done in 6th or 8th month (in case of a boy) and in 5th or 7th month (in case of a girl). After worshipping Ganesh, the child is offered rice pudding with verities of food. It is believed that the child gets similar food throughout his life as the food offered on that day.
Busankha means shaving of hair. it is done at the age of 6 or 7. Shaving of hair is done by the maternal uncle of the boy, sister of the boy's father holds the shaved hair. These days, busankha is done at the time of 'kayatapuja'.
Kayatapuja or fixing of loin cloth is done to mark the attainment of puberty. Bajracharya and Shakyas perform the tonsure ceremony, Chudakarma. During this, one has to visit shrines and pay homage to Kwahpahdyoh and make offerings. After kayatapuja, Jyapus and Sayamis undergo Ohla (which is less practiced these days.)
This is a ritual symbolic marriage with a bel (byah) fruit, the symbol of lord Vishnu. This ceremony, celebrated at the age of 5-11 , is done to prevent widowhood. As they are married to immortal lord, the Newar girls never become widow.
The girls are also taught household works in Ihi.
After Ihi, a Newar girl undergo bahra, ritual confinement of a girl before the onset of menstruation. A girl is kept separated from all males and from sunlight for 12 days. On 12th day the girl has to pay homage to the sun.
Marriage in Newar culture is social union of two families. The parents arrange marriage for their sons and daughters. After the groom's and bride's families decision, the marriage is confirmed by giving 10 betel nuts along with fruits, sweets etc (known as lakha) from groom's family to the bride.
Marriage ceremony is performed at the time scheduled by the astrologer. Swayamber, Honkegu, Chipa Theeke (symbol of sharing everything) is performed. Bride presents 10 betel nuts to all her family members. Brother of her mother, paju, takes on his back and carries her out of the house. He then presents her to the groom's family.
The bride's family visit the groom's house on the 4th day , to see how the bride is being treated , which is known as Khwah soye (seeing the bride's face).
Jyah janko is old age ceremony to mark one's longevity. It is celebrated for five times.
- First - Bhimratharohan - At the attainment of 77 years, 7 months, 7 days
- Second - Chadraratharohan - At the attainment of 83 years, 4 months, 4 days
- Third - Devaratharohan - At the attainment of 88 years, 8 months, 8 days
- Forth - Divyaratharohan - At the attainment of 99 years, 9 months, 9 days
- Fifth - Mahadivyaratharohan - At the attainment of 105 years, 8 months, 8 days
As soon as a person dies, all the Guthi (social organisation) members are informed. Four lamps are set around the four direction of the corpse. Mha gele, adoration of the corpse is marked. Funeral procession is accompanied with Nayahkhin drum followed by a lot of people wailing and crying. Cremation is different in different castes.