A Travellerspoint blog

My temporary life in rural Nepal

An unexpected celebration

sunny 30 °C

When I say unexpected, I only mean for me. I daresay the families had been planning the celebration for months or longer, once the auspicious date had been identified. The celebration in question was a Bratabandha ceremony for three related boys - Brahmin Hindus. It is one of 16 rituals performed throughout a lifetime, and it marks the boys’ transition to manhood.

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I wasn’t there for the actual ceremony part of the day, where the priests passed on the relevant teachings, and where the boys’ heads were shaved, leaving just a small tail of hair on top, but I arrived in time for lunch. That’s why I’m making the distinction between ceremony and celebration.

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Each of the boys had a staff, a small bow to protect himself from the wild animals and other bits and pieces for his journey through the forest. It’s just a symbolic journey, walking around the ritual offerings laid out in front of them. The most important symbol though, is the 9-strand sacred thread which is meant to be worn for the rest of their lives, and is the sign of manhood.

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Relatives, friends and neighbours had gathered up in the Brahmin neighbourhood of the village, where the celebration was taking place across a few different houses. It was a really hot day, and very crowded, so after we had mingled a bit and paid our respects to the priests and the boys, we escaped down to Suraksha’s house (one of my lovely Class 7 students) where members of the extended family showered us with hospitality.

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Later that night we returned to the celebration to listen to the traditional music, and watch all the dancers, young and old. By this time the boys had changed out of their ceremonial yellow, and were joining in the festivities.

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As this all took place on my second last day in the village, I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

Posted by Andrea R 17:40 Archived in Nepal Tagged religion village dancing nepal celebration

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