Sunday, September 9, 2012

Janai Purnima

What's been happening these days?  Well, we've had lots of internet problems off and on and you can see I missed a whole month!  Anyway, thankfully we are fine and I'm able to update now.  Here in Nepal there have been some more festivals/holidays (which for me translates into a day off of school but not for Ramon since it's still business as usual in the OR!):  Shrawan Shangkranti (praying for your brothers), Janai Purnima (festival of the sacred thread), Krishna Asthami (celebration of the birth of Krishna), Gokarna Aunsi (Father's Day) and ED Parva (women's celebration)!  Coming up are:  Teej (fasting festival for women), Rishi Panchami (paying tributes to the seven sages), Ghatasthapana (the first day of Dashain) which starts the largest and most anticipated one called Dashain (commemorating the victory of the gods over the demons with 15 days of celebrations), and Tihar (five day festival of lights). 

During Janai Purnima I was able to visit the festival site.  It was an interesting experience.  Luckily the day was a bit overcast because the site was on the top of this mountain hill.

As mentioned, this festival is the Sacred Thread Festival.  There are a lot of ceremonies that must be performed during (and before) this festival, but at some point everyone will tie a sacred yellow thread around their wrist (males on their right and females on their left).  This is supposed to bring good luck.  

Even though it was overcast, it was quite hot and humid.  For some reason, I had only eaten some olives for breakfast (of all things) so I struggled with low energy while walking up the steep path.  However, the scenery was amazing, and the happiness of all of us struggling up the mountain together was convivial.  

Ramon was unable to get away, too busy in the operating room, so I went with one of our Nepali friends and one of our Loma Linda medical students who was here at the time.  We started out walking through this neighborhood which is to the right of the above picture.

We steadily continued onward and upward with many town folk who were also on their way to the festival.

Soon we got to one of the fun parts--where people were selling things (sort of like a yard sale) along the road and playing games.
This is Bhakty, my friend, on the right.

...and we headed out of town and upward and onward!

Finally we had this view!

Do you see what's there?
Let's zoom in.
Yes, the hospital is there in the middle, the apartments are on the right, and the school is there on the left.  Banepa is in the background.

Another zoom (thank you for my nice camera Ramon!!) shows you our apartment, the two windows there in the middle behind the low building.  Yes, we look out over to where I took this picture--I was standing near the top of the mountain hill in the first picture of this post!
Those nice buildings behind us are actually a valley away.  They are mostly empty buildings built by the Chinese government as a gift to Kavre district.  A small school rents out a few of the rooms.  They're waiting for proposals from other schools to give the buildings to.  (Boy, I wish we could get these buildings!!!)

As we continued up the mountain hill (you've realized by now that since I'm from NE Ohio, I think of these "hills" as mountains!) we passed by this restaurant where I would have bought some water (which I needed by now) if I'd thought to bring some money!  Luckily Christy (the medical student) had some.  (THANK YOU CHRISTY for letting me have some of your water!!!)

 The path was full of people--everyone in a good mood enjoying the company, the scenery, the day off of school/work and the anticipation of the festival!

Bhakty and Christy stopped for pictures.

Some families stopped for a picnic.

We continued onward and upward.  Sometimes we passed people already "finished" and on their way back down.  We continued to see people selling things too, like this lady selling
shaved coconut popsicles. 

Many different kinds of items were for sale.

You can see happiness on the faces of the people.

Some girls got their hands painted.

There were places you could go to for a tika on your forehead.

Of course, you could also get your Sacred Thread too!

Other types of worship were going on as well.

Lots of people were throwing flowers onto this idol and splashing water on it too.

Not everything was worship--there were games to play,

toys to buy,

(Of course if Mommy and Daddy won't buy you a toy, you can always look around until you find something to play with!)

and lots of food!

Just when I was feeling a little faint after hiking on an empty stomach on a hot and humid day, I met up with one of the girls who sometimes brings her little sister to the Beginners Sabbath School class.  I sat down to take a rest and she disappeared.  Moments later, she returned with a coconut popsicle for me!  Bless her heart!  She saved the day for me!  Thank you and thank you again!

After my refreshment, I was able to continue walking up to the very top of the mountain hill

where I saw these views!

When we got back to the festival site, we were just in time for the program!

Finally it was time to head back.  Going down we had this view.

It was very crowded going both ways.
These fellows (both pictures) let me take their picture.  I'm presuming they were going to perform on stage.

Once we ran into some people we knew and they asked us, "HOW much longer to the top?!?!?!"  We told them that at that point they were about 3/4 of the way!  They were so relieved!

As we continued walking home, it became more cloudy.

As soon as we returned home, it started raining!  We made it just in time.
After the rain, I didn't see a rainbow, but I saw this:

Well, now you know about (a little anyway) the Janai Purnima festival. 
We will be in Paraguay visiting my mother-in-law during the next upcoming festivals,
but I'll try and post about them anyway!
Have a great day!