Mohani or mohni festival is an analogous festival to the biggest festival of Nepal, Dashain. The difference between these festivals is that mohani is a newari term to allocate the Dashain festival. It’s unique as well as traditional at the same time to call a festival by its local name. Furthermore, mohani is one of the biggest festivals. That newar people celebrate with a blend of joys. A festival that brings happiness and holidays. Meanwhile, It also binds all the family members together. They then have feasts and welcome a pleasant environment.
This two weeks long festival starts with the Nalaswane ritual, which is similar to the ritual of ghatasthapana. This day marks the starting of the festival. People plant the barley seeds along with paddy and corn seeds in sand mixed clay. Subsequently, above the banana’s leaves. All of the mentioned stuff is then covered by a basin. And offered holy water every day until the day of tika. It is worshipped twice per day, once in the morning and again in the evening.
While the newar of Bhaktapur is more influenced by tantrism. They believe the story of goddess Durga diminishing the demon mahishasura. Afterward, they started to celebrate this festival. To give tribute to the goddess Durga, Bhaktapur held one of the most popular masked dances of Nepal. i.e navadurga dance. During the mohani, all the navadurga deities are worshipped. That also consists of a kind of mela in different temples during the Navaratri. Here is the sequence of those temples.
- Bhadra kali,
- Mahalaxmi, and
- Tripura Sundari
They are in their sequence respectively. However, the Brahma Yeni is again worshipped. Right after the Tripura Sundari and on the day of Dashami.
This auspicious festival brings a kite season along with it. And a musical fiesta too. In the presence of malashree dhun, people enjoy flying the kites, playing cards and bamboo swings. In short, malashree dhun is instrumental music played in the Dashain season. While newari people additionally have gatherings and feasts like kuchhi bhwey. Kuchhi bhwey is a feast where all the family members sit in a row. And have a feast with traditional newari food, samyabaji. Though newar people call this feast as kuchhi bhwey. There, they offer two manas of bitten rice to each of the family members. The kuchhi means two mana and mana is a traditional newari measurement equipment. This feast occurs on the eighth day of the mohani. That particularly is the day of Maha Ashtami.
The very next day is the day of mahanavami. This day is popular for doing sacred rituals. People made sacred offerings to their working tools like weighing scales, looms, machinery and vehicles. Newari people called it syakwa tyakwa. The temple, with a tutelary deity Taleju, becomes available for common people on this day.
Respectively, the tenth day of the lunar fortnight, Dashami is the day of blessings. In the Newari tongue, people call this day as chalan. Also, they passed the red and orange tika with mohni ( a black colored tika) on foreheads as blessings. With that, they decorate their hair with the jamara. The plants, planted on the very first day of the festival. Similarly, people go to relative’s houses for feasts. Or you can say this process, nakhatya as newari people do. Nevertheless, this is the most adored festival. Not only in Bhaktapur but also in the whole of Nepal.