Statues of Dipankara Buddha on display during Gunlā in Kathmandu
|Also called||Gunlā Parva in Nepali|
|Observed by||Nepalese Buddhists|
|Significance||Celebrates rains retreat started by the Buddha|
|Observances||Image displays, musical processions, alms distribution, fasting, prayer|
|2014 date||27 July - 26 August Gunlā
3 August Panjarān (alms giving) in Lalitpur
7 August Bahidyah Bwayegu (Buddha display)
10 August Gunhi Punhi (Full Moon Day)
12 August Matayā (procession)
23 August Panjarān (alms giving) in Kathmandu
Gunla is a holy month for Newar Buddhists when they recite the scriptures, observe fasts and visit places of worship playing devotional music. It is one of the most important events in Newar Buddhism. The practice of observing the sacred month is descended from the rains retreat dating from the Buddha's time when monks stayed in one place and taught the Dharma.
Devotees mark the holy month by making daily early morning pilgrimages to Swayambhu in Kathmandu and other Buddhist temples playing Gunla Bajan music. The musical bands represent various localities of the city.
The devout recite the scriptures at home and sacred courtyards. Some undergo fasting. Another devotional activity during Gunla is Dyah Thāyegu (द्यः थायेगु) when devotees make little stupas out of black clay using a mold.
Panjaran (पन्जरां) is the alms giving festival. Males of the Bajracharya and Shakya castes make an alms round of the city and devotees give them rice and money. Shrines are set up with Buddha statues and paubha scroll paintings at private homes, courtyards and on the roadsides from where the gifts are distributed. The event is held on different dates in Kathmandu and Lalitpur.
On the first day of the second fortnight of Gunla, large images of the Dipankara Buddha and paubha paintings are put on display in sacred courtyards. The ceremony is known as Bahidyah Bwayegu (बहीद्यः ब्वयेगु).
On this day in a festival known as Bahidyah Swahwanegu (बहीद्यः स्वःवनेगु), the musical bands followed by residents of the locality visit the sacred courtyards in a procession to view the exhibits. The festival occurs on the day after the full moon and coincides with the Gai Jatra festival.
Another major day for Gunla Bajan societies is the ceremony of Nisala Chhawanegu (निसला छाःवनेगु), when they make offerings to Swayambhu, and hold Gunla Bajan concerts at one's neighborhoods.
Matayā (मतया:) (meaning "light procession" in Nepal Bhasa) is one of the most important religious celebrations in Lalitpur. The festival celebrates the event when the Buddha overcame Mara, or temptation, and attained the light of wisdom.
Devotees visit Buddhist shrines and sacred courtyards in the city in a winding file and offer worship to the images. The participants also consists of musical bands and actors dressed in colorful costumes. The circuitous festival route takes the whole day to complete.
The 5th day of the bright fortnight is Nag Panchami, a day dedicated to serpents. The 1st day of the dark fortnight is Sāpāru or Gai Jātrā when processions are held in memory of family members deceased in the past year. The participants wear cow costumes and make a tour of the city.
The 8th day of the dark fortnight is the festival of Krishna Janmashtami which celebrates the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna. Gokarna Aunsi falls on the 15th day of the dark fortnight or Āmāi. This is Father's Day and is also known as Bauyā Khwā Swayegu ("Looking upon Father's Face").
Days in the month
|Thwa (थ्व) or Shukla Paksha
|Gā (गा) or Krishna Paksha
|1. Pāru||1. Pāru|
|2. Dwitiyā||2. Dwitiyā|
|3. Tritiyā||3. Tritiyā|
|4. Chauthi||4. Chauthi|
|5. Panchami||5. Panchami|
|6. Khasti||6. Khasti|
|7. Saptami||7. Saptami|
|8. Ashtami||8. Ashtami|
|9. Navami||9. Navami|
|10. Dashami||10. Dashami|
|11. Ekādashi||11. Ekādashi|
|12. Dwādashi||12. Dwādashi|
|13. Trayodashi||13. Trayodashi|
|14. Chaturdashi||14. Charhe (चह्रे)|
|15. Punhi (पुन्हि)||15. Āmāi (आमाइ)|
Months of the year
|Devanagari script||Roman script||Corresponding Gregorian month||Name of Full Moon|
|1. कछला||Kachhalā||November||Saki Milā Punhi, Kārtik Purnimā|
|2. थिंला||Thinlā||December||Yomari Punhi, Dhānya Purnimā|
|3. पोहेला||Pohelā||January||Milā Punhi, Paush Purnimā|
|4. सिल्ला||Sillā||February||Si Punhi, Māghi Purnimā|
|5. चिल्ला||Chillā||March||Holi Punhi, Phāgu Purnimā|
|6. चौला||Chaulā||April||Lhuti Punhi, Bālāju Purnimā|
|7. बछला||Bachhalā||May||Swānyā Punhi, Baisākh Purnimā|
|8. तछला||Tachhalā||June||Jyā Punhi, Gaidu Purnimā|
|9. दिल्ला||Dillā||July||Dillā Punhi, Guru Purnimā|
|10. गुंला||Gunlā||August||Gun Punhi, Janāi Purnimā (Raksha Bandhan)|
|11. ञला||Yanlā||September||Yenyā Punhi, Bhādra Purnimā|
|12. कौला||Kaulā||October||Katin Punhi, Kojāgrat Purnimā|
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