Although this holiday was celebrated last month, we thought you’d be interested in reading Trish McCulley’s account of a beautiful Nepali holiday, which originated with the Newars of Kathmandu valley. Enjoy!
“Ama Ghar celebrated Mha Puja this year on Saturday, November 6th. Mha Puja is a Newari festival celebrating ones physical self. I have come to think of it as a day of celebrating the spirit within you. When is the last time you took a day to honor yourself? In Nepal, children are taught at a very young age to honor their elders, family and friends. What I was so excited to experience and learn about was Mha Puja! We must take time out of our busy lives to honor ourselves and the strength we hold within!
Ma Puja began with a placement of 50+ mandalas at each place setting within the courtyard at Ama Ghar. The children created these with stencils and their own imagination using flour and colored powder.l A large variety of fruits, nuts and candies ranging from grapefruit like pomellos down to fruits and nuts the size of currents were systematically place above each manadala along with a small fish. Lastly an incense stick was stuck in the pomello and lit along with 2 different size candles per setting. Recyclable leaf plates were filled with chura (pounded rice) and many other delicacies. Our priest blessed every person with holy water, tika, marigold petals and rice. We each placed a garland of marigolds around our own necks with great gusto, music and song. Daisy shared a story of a young apple tree and the star we possess within us. Ma Puja continued into the late night with dancing and singing and a grand time was has by all at Ama Ghar.”
— Trish McCulley