Gunla

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Gunlā
Dipankar lagan wk.jpg
Statues of Dipankara Buddha on display during Gunlā in Kathmandu
Also called Gunlā Parva in Nepali
Observed by Nepalese Buddhists
Type Religious
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
Devotees with offerings wait for alms receivers during Panjarān

Gunlā (Nepal Bhasa: गुंला) (also spelt Gumlā) is the tenth month in the Nepal Era lunar calendar, the national lunar calendar of Nepal.[1] It corresponds to August of the Gregorian Calendar.

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.[2][3] 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.[4][5]

Observances[edit]

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.[6]

Major days[edit]

Panjarān[edit]

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.[7]

Buddha display[edit]

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).[8][9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

Matayā[edit]

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.[12]

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.[13]

Other celebrations[edit]

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").[14]

Days in the month[edit]

Thwa (थ्व) or Shukla Paksha
(bright half)
Gā (गा) or Krishna Paksha
(dark half)
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[edit]

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nepal Sambat gets national status". The Rising Nepal. 24 October 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Locke, John K. (2008). "Unique Features of Newar Buddhism". Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (January 1996). "Notes on the Uray and the Modernization of Newar Buddhism". Contributions to Nepalese Studies. Retrieved 5 August 2012.  Page 111.
  4. ^ LeVine, Sarah and Gellner, David N. (2005) Rebuilding Buddhism: The Theravada Movement in Twentieth-Century Nepal. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01908-9. Page 64. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  5. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 19 February 2013.  Page 323.
  6. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 19 February 2013.  Page 333.
  7. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 16 (2): 336–339. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 19 February 2013.  Page 335.
  9. ^ Tuladhar, Alok (25 October 2013). "Bahi Dyo: The Outbound Courtyard Deity". ECS Nepal. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 16 (2): 335–341. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 16 (2): 335–341. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Shakya, Min Bahadur (3 August 2012). "Mataya Festival of Patan". Yalamandu Post. Retrieved 17 July 2013. 
  13. ^ Lewis, Todd T. (Winter 1993). "Contributions to the Study of Popular Buddhism: The Newar Buddhist Festival of Gumla Dharma". Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. Retrieved 10 July 2013.  Page 317.
  14. ^ Levy, Robert Isaac (1990). "A Catalogue of Annual Events and Their Distribution throughout the Lunar Year". Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal. University of California Press. p. 653. ISBN 9780520069114.