Festival of Sacred Thread of Protection — Janai Purnima

First Publish: 28 Jul, 2017 Last Updated: 28 Jul, 2017 Festivals

Red and Yellow Sacred Thread "Doro" and Sacred White Thread "Janai" 

Janai Purnima is one of the important festivals of Hindus and celebrated with high enthusiasm in Nepal. Commonly known as “Rakshya Bandan”, it is also known as “Festival of Threads” in Nepal, as sacred red and yellow thread “Doro” is tied around the wrist.

The term “Rakshya” means “protection” and “Bandhan” means “bond”. And this sacred thread is purified by the Hindu Priests (Brahmins) with mantras and chanting and wore as the symbol of protection from fear and ailment. It is the festival of purity and security.

Purnima means “full moon day”.

Janai Purnima marks the day for the replacement of “Janai” for those who wear it (not all the Hindus wear Janai), along with the sacred thread “Doro” around the wrist.

This festival is observed in the month of Shrawan (mid-July to mid-August).

People visit temples to tie the sacred thread and also make a trip to sacred rivers or ponds to take holy bath and change their Janai. This sacred thread is also supposed to bring the good luck and fortune.

Some loose this sacred thread after some days but many of them keep it until the day of “Laxmi Puja” of Tihar —Nepal’s second biggest festival — to tie it on the tail of the cow after worshipping them. Cows are sacred in Nepal and regarded as the manifestation of Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth) and worshipped on the day of Laxmi Puja.

Rakshya Bandan is also an important day for Brothers and Sisters. A special wrist accessory called “Rakhi” is tied by sisters on the right hand of their brothers wishing their well-being and prosperity. And brother gives her sister a present with a promise to protect her forever. ”Rakhi” symbolize as a commitment of protection to sister by her brother for life.

The Newars Community of Kathmandu Valley called it “Gunhi Punhi” or “Kwati Festival” and celebrated with a special food feast among friends and relatives. “Kwati” is the nutritious mixed soup composed of nine different types of sprouted beans — black gram, green gram, chickpea, field pea, cowpea, garden pea, rice bean, field bean and soybean.

One of the major religious sites for Janai Purnima Festival is popular Gosaikunda Lake of Langtang region, a sacred site of Lord Shiva and Parvati, where thousands of devotees traveled to take holy bath at the lake and perform religious rituals. Gosaikunda Lake is believed to be created by Lord Shiva himself, as per the tales of Hindu books.  

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