Swasthani Barta (Fast)

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Swasthani Barta
Observed byHindus of Nepal
TypeCultural, Religious
CelebrationsOne month
Observancesfollow the story reading ritual, fast for the whole month.
BeginsPaush Purnima
EndsMagha Purnima
Datemulti-day
2022 dateJanuary 18 to February 16
FrequencyAnnual
Related toShiva, Sati Devi, Parvati
Swasthani goddess temple in Sankhu

Shree Swasthani is a Hindu goddess (Parameshwari) and is responsible for the good fortune, welfare and Power. She is mostly worshipped in Nepal in the holy month from poush Shukla purnima to magh Shukla purnima with dedicated rituals. Following such ritutals within this holy month brought many wishes to be fruitful for many. Through the reciting of story, we can find out the changes in fate provided by Goddess in the lives of several persons. But there are moluch more people who worships and have been satisfied by her blessings. She is a mother who loves you so much that, she will not take you go wrong path no matter the steps she takes for so.

Original Newa version[edit]

The original Newa version is very different from Swasthani written in Nepali language. People in the town of Sakwo have handwritten documents of Swasthani in Newar language.[2]

Swasthani Brata Katha[edit]

A page of Swasthani Brata Katha in Nepali language (ca. 1917).

Swasthani Brata Katha is a Hindu tale recited every day for a month, which mostly falls in January and February.[3] The book has 31 chapters which tell the story of life of various gods and goddesses. The story of goddess Swasthani and Shiva is mainly focussed, Swasthani is the Hindu deity known for miraculously granting wishes made in a solemn state by the pure.[4] The sacred book was originated in Ancient civilizations of Nepal. The Brahmins were the first to have read this. It is read mostly by Nepali Hindus in comparison with those from India. This book's story was derived from Skanda Purana.

Festival[edit]

The festival usually begins from the full moon day in the Pohela month of Nepal Era which is Poush month of Bikram Sambat, normally from January to February, and will end on the next full moon day. Every night family members gather around, recite one chapter of the story each day till the 31st day in almost every Nepali family. This month-long festival is marked by fasting especially by women including few men the entire month for the sake of family welfare or getting a good husband or wife.[5] The festival conclude with an Ashwamegha Yagya, devotees worship god Shiva for whole night.

When the festival concludes next month, various types of food are prepared to mark the end of the day and it is believed that every thing has to be 108 pieces even the flowers. Of the 108 pieces, eight are to be given to the husbands, if there is no husband then to son, and if no son then to the son of a friend, and if no friend then the fasting lady has to formally release it on the nearby river.

The festival is in fact not a festival. It is a ritual of fasting for 30 days. It is called 'apsan chonegu' in the local Newa language and 'brata' in Nepali. Fasting is voluntary for those interested undertake this month-long brata. Traditionally, the locals of Swaniga - Kathmandu Valley - observed this brata. Swaniga refers to the local villages, towns and cities like Sakwo(Sankhu), Khwopa (Bhaktapur), Yala, (Patan), Yen (Kathmandu), Bhondesh -Bhotan (Banepa), Palanti (Panauti), Phampi (Pharpin), and other Newar localities. Especially people from certain castes of Newars took this brata.

In the present day context, the devotees are not limited to Newar people only. There are devotees from all over the country and all the Hindu castes. The devotees from Brahmin and Chhetri communities are increasing year by year. During the Brata, God Madhavnarayan is worshipped. It seems that the brata is a blend of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Madhavnarayan is the name of the lord Vishnu in the month Magh since the lord Vishnu is worshipped by different names in each of the 12 different months.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Drik Panchag. "Navratri 2020 detailed calendar".
  2. ^ (PDF). (NewZh VijiiZna) A Journal Of Newar Studies http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/jns/pdf/JNS_01.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "10 interesting facts about Swasthani Brata Katha". OnlineKhabar English News. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  4. ^ "Nepalese women bathe for Swasthani festival". msnbc.msn.com. 23 Jan 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-04-18.
  5. ^ "Month long fast of Swasthani Goddess begins in Nepal". Xinhua News Agency. 2012-01-10. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06.