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Nepal’s Capital city celebrates religious festival Gathamangal today

KATHMANDU: The Newar community, especially in Kathmandu Valley, is celebrating Gathamangal or Ghantakarna festival today. The festival falls on Saun Krishna Chaturdashi (the fourth day of the waxing moon in the Nepali month Saun as per the lunar calendar).
As per the cultural tradition, this festival is considered as the precursor to a series of other festivals observed by the Newar community.
The festival is celebrated in commemoration of rejoice at the killing of a men-eating demon called Gathamangal. In the morning today, people make a three-legged effigy of Gathamangal from green narkat grass, a species of bamboo and the wheat straw and install it at road crossings.
People take holy bath, offer prayers and worships and clean the house and courtyards early in the morning today. The children put up a rope on the road as a road toll and ask for money (alms) from the road users. In the night, the effigy of Ghantakarna is dragged to a distance and burnt.
As per the Gopal Vamshawali scripture, Gathamangal is considered to symbolize Bhairab, the fierce incarnation of lord Shiva. It is also taken to represent the three gunas (quality, attribute or property) namely satwa, raja and tama.
The gunas are a key concept in nearly all schools of Hindu philosophy. There are three gunas, according to this worldview, that have always been and continue to be present in all things and beings in the world. These three gunas are called: satwa (goodness, constructive, harmonious), raja (passion, active, confused), and tama (darkness, destructive, chaotic).
The newly-married couples are supposed to pay obeisance to Gathamangal. Its worship is taken to be important for protection from hardships and adversities.
In Bhaktapur, people thronged various gods and goddess shrines for worship from early morning today, on the occasion of Ghantakarna or Gathemangal festival. They brought the holy water from the shrines and sprinkled at their houses.
Gathemangal is also celebrated as ‘Sinaja Byangkegu’ or the festival marking the conclusion of the rice planting. From this day, the Newars start teaching the novices their traditional cultural and religious dances and musical instruments.

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