Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ihi and Bahra

Ihi and Bahra!

Hmmm?  Do you know what those are?

(If this is too long, feel free to read it in two parts!)

Don't worry if you're not from here and you don't know.  
I didn't know what they were before I moved here.

They are types of marriages.  Yes!
I have never been to an Ihi ceremony, but I have been to (parts of) two Bahra ceremonies.

Here's how I learned about the Ihi ceremony.
One of my little female students was absent for a few days.  When she returned to school,
I asked her if she had been sick.  "Oh no," she said, "I had my marriage to my fruit."


Of course, I had to look it up.  Click the Wikipedia article to read about it.

A foot of a Newar girl is pictured during an Ihi ceremony in Kathmandu.
(Click this link to learn more.  Thank you for the great article Gopal Sharma.)

You can see that this custom is practiced among many of the Newari people,
who are indigenous to the Kathmandu Valley.  Since we are in the Kathmandu Valley,
many of the people who live here are Newari.
To read about their culture, I recommend Wikipedia again.

OK, now, what is Bahra?  (It's referred to in Gopal Sharma's article.)

Here's Wikipedia's article:

As mentioned, I have been to the reception of two Bahra ceremonies.
There were not exactly alike.

The first one was the Bahra reception of two cousins, both of whom were my English students.
It was in the Chandeswori Temple, which is down the street, where I attended
the wedding reception mentioned in this recent post (if you missed it):

We walked to the temple, which only takes about five minutes.

I was with some of the teachers from the school, some school friends of the girls, and my niece,
who was volunteering here at the time.  We walked through the courtyard,

where the other wedding reception was and into the building, where I had never been before,

and into this hallway where the girls sitting with their family members.

Guests were seated on the opposite wall.
(Yes, that's my beautiful niece!  Can't wait to see her and the rest
of the family when we go on vacation, which won't actually be for awhile!)

Here are the sweet little friends of the girls.  They have since "graduated" from
our school and moved onward and upward.  Occasionally I bump into one or two
of them in Banepa and it's so nice to see how they are growing up into lovely young ladies!

Our principal was invited to participate in the festivities.

The cooks did a great job!

Now, I'll show you a few pics of the second (and more recent) Bahra reception I went to.
Again, this was for an English student of mine.
Her cousins were also participating at the same time.  It was a family affair,
as their little brothers were also having a ceremony of their own.

This time the reception was at an uncle's home up on a hillside just outside of Banepa.
It's a beautiful walk.

Lots of friends and family were attending.  See the girls sitting there on the right?

We waited in line to greet them.

People were giving them gifts, including rice, which was touched to their heads.

  This is one of our teachers giving our student our gift,

and her cousins a smaller gift

and a tika.

Not to be outdone, the little brothers also received gifts and tikas.
I confess that I never found out exactly what their ceremony was.
(If you know, please let me know!)

Look how adorable they are!

Well, now you know what I saw when I went to Bahra wedding reception ceremonies!

Have a nice day, a blessed week, and thanks for your continued prayers!