Saki Mana Punhi

  • Kathmandu Valley
Saki Mana Punhi

Saki Mana Punhi

The day and night of all full-moon days or punhi s, that is, the last day of the bright fortnight, is the regular monthly occasion for special activities in Bhaktapur. Some individual full-moon days are differentiated in some way, as are some other monthly occasions—such as the new-moon day, the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight, and the first day of the solar month. Only some of these specially named punhi s are listed in the written annual calendars; some are specially noted only because they precede an important calendrical event in the following fortnight. It is often arbitrary as to whether such relatively insignificant differentiated days should be considered as a special annual event. We have listed only those specially named full-moon days that seem associated with some activity or symbolism of more than routine differentiated importance. One of these is Saki Mana Punhi. “Saki mana” refers to the edible boiled root of a certain flower. Participation in the associated events of the day is optional. There are groups of men who go on the evening of all punhi s to various temples to play music as a religious offering. On this particular punhi evening they bring mixed grain and uncooked beans to the particular temple where they customarily play and construct an elaborate picture of the temple out of the grain and beans. This is the last day of the two fortnights dedicated to Visnu/Narayana. Many people go from one shrine and temple to another, listening to music and inspecting the pictures, but the two major Narayana temples are particular foci for visits and offerings. As this is a punhi evening, people also worship the moon at home, as they do on all punhi s. After the Visnu and moon puja s many households eat special foods—as they do on many calendrical occasions. On this day it is saki mana , the boiled root that gives the punhi its name, and sweet potatoes. On this day, in which the household is emphasized as well as the benign deity Visnu[*] and the astral deity, the moon, there is a parallel participation of households, not only in similar pujas , but in the eating of the same food. The movement out of the household is in a stroll to various nearby temples, which individuals, household groups, and close friends may decide to visit. There is no larger interactional civic form given to the day’s events. (Moderate.)

info source:

Retrieved from Book:
Mesocosm: Hinduism and the Organization of a Traditional Newar City in Nepal
by Robert I. Levy, Kedar Raj Rajopadhyaya

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