Yomari; the main course of Yomari Punhi

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  • There is even a festival devoted to the name of this dish, Yomari Punhi which explicates the extreme importance of Yomari in the lives of the newa people. 

  • In the Newa Culture, there is a ritual of feeding Yomari to the pregnant daughter.

  • Yomari is not only prepared in Yomari Punhi but also prepared to celebrate even-numbered birthdays of the children until they turn out to be 12.

Yomari; the main course of Yomari Punhi

Did you know that the people of Kathmandu valley started making Yomari from the time of Amshu Varma, of around in the 6th of the century?

The thing transparently is mentioned in the book named, “Social History of Nepal” which also declares yomari as one of the oldest delicacies of Nepal.

Well, the word Yomari, symbolically came from the Nepal bhasa as it means the favorite flatbread in the local language. Here, yo means the favorite, and mari means the bread or the flatbread.

Image by Mitho Yomari

Though it is just a steamed dumpling filled with chaku (gaggery taffy) or khuwa within the confection of rice flour, it tastes dam delicious.

There is even a festival devoted to the name of this dish, Yomari Punhi which explicates the extreme importance of Yomari in the lives of the newa people. 

About the shape of Yomari

Well, graving more deeper into the shaping of this dish leads you to more amazing facts about the dish and its meaning. The reason behind shaping that yomari into a fish or the domed shape, they all have different meanings as there are different perspectives of seeing the festival itself.

As per some references, the fish-like shape of the yomari symbolizes the pinnacle of the temple, somewhere the shrine itself.

Some say that the triangular shape of the Yomari/ Yamari is a symbolic representation of one half of the Shadkona (two overlapping triangles) which in Hinduism is marked as the symbol of Goddess Saraswoti and wisdom. 

However, it has also been linked with one of the wise fruit, citron.

As per the story narrated by Yomari Cartoon Series, the shape of Yomari was inspired by the citron which was hung on the peg, in the kitchen of Krita. Krita is the foremost female character of the story, where she once transpired in a fuss about the shape of her newly invented dish. 

At that moment, she noticed, that the dangling citron which she had worshipped in Mohni as well as in Swanti. From where she gets inspired to make her dish like a citron.

Citron is known as Tashi in the newa language, Bimiro in the Nepalese language, and Jambhara in the Sanskrit language. In accordance with Hindu tradition, women with a wish of being pregnant worship the Jambhara.

Jambhara, in other words, is also called Bijapura which means the seed-filled. Thus worshipping citron is common in the Nepalese tradition since it represents persistence, property, prosperity, and prolificacy.

Types of yomari?

Images by Yomari Delights

Well, besides the shapes of yomari, there is one thing that differentiates yomari from each other. The fillings in Yomari.

Besides, the fillings of the chaku ( gaggery taffy), sesame seeds, and khuwa (evaporated milk solids), there is one more thing that is filled in yomari, especially while it is made in Yomari Punhi.

The yomari with the packing of chaku and sesame seeds is called Bayo yomari while it symbolizes the male sexual rag. Likewise, the Mayo yomari is filled with black lentils and shaped triangular, representing female beauty and prosperity.

The shape of them however doesn’t seem inconsistent.

Stories about Yomari

Essentially not like the inconsistent shape of the Yomari, the stories behind Yomari vary from individuals, though the core story remains the same. Some characteristics of the story seem changed while it transforms from one generation to another.

Besides the story of Suchandra and Krita of Panauti about the making of Yomari, there are other stories too, with which the locals could be more intimate.

And it goes like this, Once at the moment, a son-in-law arrives in the house without mentioning them. (Do you know, that in a Nepalese family, the son-in-law is considered the most valuable guest.) So, the people of the household get quite worried, thinking about what to serve in between those harvesting season?

However, they manage to come up with the heart-shaped bread which was stuffed with the leftover molasses (molasses are often eaten in the winter season to warm up your body). Some suppose this is how the yomari was first invented.

There are many more stories, just like the given one, all related to Yomari. Though all of them are not contemplated to the invention of yomari, yet they got some influence of it.  They are more like the locally inherited stories that are composed to teach children about morality.

The story of Chinnapatta maiju and the yomari is one of them.

The story of Chinnapatta maiju and the yomari

As per the local folklore, once in time, there used to be a family catering two stepsisters along with one greedy mom. She was the mother of the youngest one and cared more about her. On the other hand, the elder sister whose name is Cinnapatta used to be alone since she wasn’t loved and supported by her step-mother.

Out of all that, she had, was the goat left by her mom before dying. Thus, she used to spend her day and night with her which her stepmother didn’t seem like so much. That’s why she even killed that goat. Which after, Chinnapatta with a lot of grief collected the bones and buried them on a meadow.

Eventually,  a tree grew upon there and that became the big peer of hers that even provided her the delicious food, Yomari. As she became diligent with the tree, a Lkahey and the Lasi ( locals call them a demon couple) tricked and kidnapped her. She was then ordered to make loaves of bread in their home.

Over that time a rat came and asked for a piece of bread. Chinnapatta, being so generously gave him the bread, in exchange, the rat also gave her a piece of advice. As per which, she knew the intentions of the demon couple and ran away from there with a hand full of jewels.

Witnessing and knowing about that incident, her selfish stepmother made her only daughter, get kidnapped by those demon couples.  Unlike her elder sister, she was not generous, thus couldn’t know the intentions of the demons and got killed.

More about the Yomari

  • It takes a bit more time to be cooked than chatamari and bara-like dish. 
  • Yomari that we all adore is also made out as the illustrative deities of Ganesha, Laxmi, and Kubera in Yomari Punhi.
  •  Some aspects of history and culture impersonate Nayo, and Bayo as the eldest and the second eldest member of the family.
  • In the Newa Culture, there is a ritual of feeding Yomari to the pregnant daughter.
  • Yomari is not only prepared in Yomari Punhi but also prepared to celebrate even-numbered birthdays of the children until they turn out to be 12.

This kind of accessory is prepared for the birthday girl/boy on their even-numbered birthdays. PC: Online Mari Pasa

 

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