Kirat Mundum, also known as Kirati Mundum or Kiratism, is the indigenous religion of the Kirati ethnic groups of Nepal, Darjeeling and Sikkim: Limbu, Rai, Sunuwar and Yakkha peoples. The practice is also known as Kirat Veda, Kirat-Ko Veda or Kirat Ko Ved. According to some scholars, such as Tom Woodhatch, it is shamanism, animistic religion or blend of shamanism, animism (e.g., ancestor worshiping of Yuma Sammang/Tagera Ningwaphumang and paruhang/sumnima), and Shaivism. According to other scholars it is a sect of ancient Hinduism that contains many pre-vedic elements. It is practiced by about 3.1% of the Nepali population. Its Limbu language slogan is, ("ᤀᤪᤠᤣ ᤕᤪᤔᤠ ᤗᤠᤶᤔᤠᤲ").
It has the religious scripture and folk literature of the Kirat people of Nepal and India . All four Kirats Rai (Khambu), Limbu (Subba), Sunuwar (Mukhia), Yakkha (Dewan) have slightly different religious texts. Religious texts means the power of great strength Mundhum in the Limbu language, Mewahang call it muddum, Yakka as mintum, Sunuwar as mukdum among Kulung as ridum Bantawa as Mundum and Chamling as dum. It covers many aspects of the Kirat culture, customs and traditions that existed before Vedic period in ancient Indian subcontinent.
The religious texts for each tribe consists of customs, habits, rituals, traditions, and myths passed down from the Kirati tribe's ancestors. Religious texts serve, in a way, as customary laws which guide Kirats in their daily lives. Their religious texts also distinguishes each Kiranti tribe from other Kirati and non-Kiratis as well.
Kirants practice shamanism and their rituals are mostly related to the worship of Mother Nature, ancestors, sun, moon, wind, fire and main pillar of house. Almost all sacred rituals in Rai, are performed by nakchong, the Rai tribal priest. Similarly Limbus have phɛdɑŋmɑ/bɑ, yɛbɑ/mɑ, sɑmbɑ/mɑ to perform rituals accordingly. Rai's supreme deity is Sumnima. Sumnima is a female goddess which is believed to be the Mother Earth (Mother Nature) and Paruhang is a male god also known as the king Sky God. Limbus supreme deity Tagera Ningwaphuma: tɑgɛrɑ niŋwɑphumɑ is personified as Yuma Sammang as female and Theba Sammang as male in earthly form. Some Limbus have their own distinct form of worship known as Yuma Sammang is mother goddess of all the Limbus, their follower are Yumaism; they venerate a supreme goddess.
Sakela is the main festival of Khambu Kirat Rai. In this festival, they worship mother nature and their ancestor's [who is believed to be staying in their Chulla (fireplace build by three stone, each stone has a unique meaning) and garden]. This festival is celebrated twice a year distinguished by two names Ubhauli and Udhauli. Sakela Ubhauli is celebrated during Baisakh Purnima (full moon day, which lies in the month of Baisakh in calendars of the Indian Subcontinent.) And Sakela Udhauli is celebrated during the full moon day in the month of Mangh. In Ubhauli they prey for the goodness of family and good weather for cultivation and in Udhauli they thanks the mother nature and ancestors for their blessings and good harvest.
In both Ubhauli and Udhauli, they sacrifice a rooster and worship by ginger, rice, homemade alcohol, and tree resin (resin is put in the burning coal for fragrance) and conduct a Sakela dance. In this dance, they perform all the daily life activity (example planting rice, harvesting etc.) and also try to copy the behavior of animals and birds which are part of their day to day life. The Limbu Kirant celebrates Udhauli Chasok Tangnam on the day of Mangshir Purnima and Ubhauli (Yokwa Tongnam) in the month of Baisakh. Other Kirants (Yakkha and Sunuwars) also celebrate in their own way. Sakela celebration is the prayer to the Goddess of Nature for good crops and protection from natural calamities.
The celebration of Sakela is also known as Chandi Nach Murat. On Chandi Nach, they worship Durga, who is known to them as Chandi, or Chandika. (Worship of Durga among the Himalayan Kiratas is arguably written in the Harivamsha Purana.) Durga Puja is still performed by a few Kirants.
- Folk Hinduism
- Religion in Nepal
- Bon religion
- Buddhism in Nepal
- Hinduism in Nepal
- Demographics of Nepal
- Limbu language
- Bantawa language
- Chamling language
- Rai languages
- Te-ongsi Sirijunga Xin Thebe]
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