Dugu puja is a ritual of worshipping the linage god of the clan a person belongs to. Some people call it dewali puja or digu puja as well. Besides newars, the non-newars also perform this ritual. They all do it to re-establish the feelings of oneness among the members who have the same ancestors. In the context of the Newari community, dugu puja can be considered as an annual puja of the Newars. People worship the ‘Kul Devta’ ( the idol god of the clan) on this day. The deity of Dugu Puja or Dewali puja is called as ‘Digu dya’. As the word, dugu refers to the male goat in the Newari tongue, they worship it first and sacrifice it in the name of their linage god.
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The deity of Digu Puja can often be seen as an open diety. You can see the shrines worshiped on Digu Puja in open places. However, the whole process of worshipping and sacrificing on that day remains completely hidden from the people of another lineage. Along with the different caste systems in newar communities, the day for calling Dugu Puja also varies as per their caste. People celebrate this occasion from the day of Vaishaka Sukla Tritiya. After that, people perform dewali puja either on Sunday or Thursday up to Jestha Sukla Shashti. The mentioned dates are fixed all according to the lunar calendar.
The establishment of this ritual dates back to the Malla period. By some means, if they cannot perform this ritual on the mentioned day, then they can perform it on the day of Sithinakha too. Newlywed brides, children who had had their ihi (females) and bratabanda (males) done on the previous year are taken to the place to introduce him/her as an official member of the lineage in front of the ancestral deity.
Dugu puja and Ihi
From the period of the Mallas till this day, people celebrate this day as one of the most important occasions for the prosperity and blessings for their family and lineage. Also, on this day, the Ihi macha ( the girl whose ceremony of Ihi has been done in the previous year) is worshipped and offered the ‘sheu’ as well. Sheu is a piece of meat from the sacrificed goat. Normally, the females of Newars neither eat nor get offered the ‘Sheu’. However, the females get to receive it on that day. Thereafter, they never visit digu dya on the day of the puja. Nevertheless, this practice has changed to some extent. Nowadays, females are also seen participating actively in the puja.
People follow certain rules and regulations as well as some restrictions on food contracts to perform the puja. There is a belief that this puja will lead their ancestors to privilege.
Twayana’s Dugu Puja celebration
Video Source: Workers Voice
Date : 8 April , 2018 ( २०७४ चैत्र २५ आइतवार )