Nepal, the country with numerous ritual where almost every community practices some kind of rituals and none of the seasons are free from the ritual ceremonies. It’s the unique nation and can be titled as the museum of rituals where different ancient ritual practices are still on existence. The rituals are based on the myths, spiritual practices and religion.
There are many rituals in many communities in Nepal based on the girls. Let’s talk about the most famous ritual of Nepal, the ritual of the living Goddess “Kumari”. It is practiced in the Newari community. Kumari is the pre-pubertal virgin girl. The ritual is taken as the tradition of power, pageantry and beauty. The girl decorated with the heavy ornaments and the red forehead is worshiped as the incarnation of Goddess Taleju. She is provided with all kinds of facilities even her schooling within the “Kumari Ghar” where she lives and is not allowed to go out.
There are many other rituals in the Newari culture for the girls. The “Ihi” is the kind of ceremony where the girl gets married with the fruit named Bael (wood apple), symbol of God Vishnu. The girls look so pretty in the red bridal dress with the beautiful ornaments. Another ritual is Bahra ceremony. It is the 12 days ceremony where girls between 7 to 13 age groups participates.It is the ceremony where the girls are married to the sun. The girls are dressed as the brides as they are dressed at the time of their marriage. The ceremony is also known as the second marriage of the girls as the first one is the Ihi. This ceremony is celebrated for the girl after her first menstruation These rituals indicated the girl’s maturity stages. These ceremonies are celebrated for short period and the people of Newar community take these as the must do things. Along with celebration it also brings the concepts of discrimination regarding caste and untouchability. The “Deuki Pratha” at the far western region of Nepal is creating trouble for girls in the name of culture and religion. This ritual is practiced by offering the girls to the temple and leave them to live with God. The girls tend to become Deukis either by their parents offer them to the temple in hopes of gaining protection and good favor from God or selling their daughter to the wealthier couples seeking the same approval. It is the matter of pride and status for the people who made scarification. May be the ancestors have made such things for the well-being but now such practices have made the girls to end up with prostitution.
Some rituals are very exciting to watch and celebrate and some are very disappointing. Similarly, the “Chaupadi Pratha” in the mid or western region of Nepal has punished the girls even for the natural menstrual process. The women are forced to live in the mud hut, completely separate to the house or hundreds of yards away from the house. The time when a woman need more nutrition and care, she is provided with the worst condition between the dirty cowshed, malnutrition and infections. Even the women who has just given birth are categorized as untouchable. The “Polyandry Marriage System” in the North-west part of Nepal has even sacrifice the human right of a girl as she is forced to have multiple husbands. The “Jhuma Pratha” at the eastern Nepal is a ritual similar to the “Deuki Pratha”. It is most common among the Sherpa community. It is practiced by offering the second daughter to the monastery for serving the God. She remains unmarried in her entire life and if she gave birth to the child, the child born from her become the Lama of the monastery. The child offered to the monastery is deprived from parental love and is forced to kill her desire and dreams. The mentality of the people that sons are superior than the daughters are encouraging such rituals. Yes, it’s true that our rituals are the alive memories of our ancestors and it is our identity.
The good rituals are boons but the rituals that gives troubles to girls and mankind are not more than a burden to humanity. It’s our duty to practice, protect and preserve the good one that supports humanity and reject those that rejects humanity.