Today is Janai Purnima. On this day, the tagadharis, or those who wear Janai (sacred thread) around their body from the left shoulder change their janais after performing a sacred ritual. One must take a bath, preferably in a holy river, and get a haircut.
The festival observed by the Hindus, especially of the Shaiva sect, on the full moon day in the Nepali month of Saun, is also popularly known as ‘Gunhu Punhi’ in the Newar Community.
On this day, three functions are organised. They wear the sacred thread and janai after taking a bath early in the morning. Sisters offer Rakshyabandan, fastening a raw sacred thread on the right wrist of their brothers and family members of the household sit together to eat kwanti.
According to the tradition, people receive the ‘Rakshya Bandhan’ thread, which is tied around the wrist as an amulet. The yellow thread is purified through the chanting of mantras by priests as a symbol of protection from fear of the disease. They also observe the occasion as ‘Kwanti Purnim
Kwanti, a soup prepared from nine different beans, and is a special delicacy added to the Nepali menu today. The soup is highly nutritious and helps keep diseases away.
In the Newar community, there is a tradition of offering Kwanti to the frog.
Thousands of devotees worship lord Shiva at Pashupatnath and Kumbheshwor and take holy dips in ponds and rivers. But, this year, the devotees will be celebrating all festivals and cultural processions being limited to home due to the increasing outbreak of coronavirus. Temples are closed for four months.
The religious fairs that take place at Pashupati, Gosaikunda of Rasuwa, Kumbheshwar of Lalitpur, Panchpokhari of Sindhupalchowk, Janakpurdham, Dhanush Sagar and Ganga Sagar of Dhanusha, Dansanghu of Jumla and Trivenidham of Nawalparasi have been put off due to the COVID-19.