The Newa community celebrates Sithi Nakha on the sixth day of the waxing moon of Jestha(MAY/JUN) in the Bikram Sambat calendar. The word ‘Sithi’ came from the Sanskrit word “Shashthi” meaning sixth and “Nakha” which means festival. The day of Sithi Nakha is also considered the last day to do “Dugu Puja“.
This day is specially meant for the cleanliness of all the water resources and worship of god Kumar.
Before the monsoon, Kathmandu valley becomes increasingly dry and the water level falls to the lowest level so it is the best time to clean water resources. The ancient sources of water like ponds, wells, and stone spouts are cleaned on this day.
‘Nagas’, the serpent deities who are believed to be the rulers of water resources are also worshipped on this day. As a part of the festival, the Newar community works together to clean public water resources. In simple words, we can call this day a Water resource conservation day in the Newari community.
Sithi Nakha is a festival to care for nature and culture. While few of the family members are off to clean the water resources, the members at home prepare special newari delicacies like ‘Wo’ (chapati made of lentils) and ‘Chatamari‘ (chapati made of rice flour) on this date.
Six different types of ‘Wo’ and varieties of vegetables are cooked during the festival.
This festival is celebrated by worshipping god Kartikeya or Kumar, the elder son of God Mahadev and goddess Parvati. That’s why it is also called Kumar Khasti. This day is also celebrated as a birthday of Kumar and preparation for the upcoming monsoon season.
This is also a day to worship “Pikhalakhu” which resembles Kumar. Pikhalakhu is a small Mandal drawn outside each household of the Newar community.
Photo Courtesy: Amit Machamasi
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