Mata-ya 2007 (Festival Of Lights)

Monday, September 10, 2007

I haven't been following the regular blog posting for the days of the festivals these days as I have been mostly indoors these days. I have one of my best friends, Smreeti Nakarmi, who went to that festivals and I had asked her to write her own personal views of her journey to this procession. So here are the details that she send me of her procession of one of the most popular festival in Patan area called Mata-ya. It was on 31 August 2007 this year. Below are the details written by her own.

Mata-ya is derived from combination of two different words “Mata” which means light and “Yatra” means journey. According to the Nepali calendar, Mata-ya is celebrated on the month of Bhadra two days after Janai Purnima. Mata-ya is renown by Srinveri or Nekoo Jatra. Many people from different areas come to Patan to watch this festival whereas many worshipers come here to worship to different chaitya (Buddhist shrine) and chowk (Buddhist courtyard) as well.

I also went to Mata-ya this year. I really got the chance to visit Patan areas and four big chatyas of the Patan city. At about 4 a.m. me n my friends came out and went to a place called Nagbahal from where the queue begins with a big crowd to start the procession. I met lots of friends over there who were going for this long journey. I was so much excited that day. I walked 16 hours on that day. Mata-ya procession is carried out for the peace for our ancestors. Mata-ya is celebrated once a year so it is our popular festival of Patan city. There is a very interesting story about the origin of this festival. It goes like, once Shakyamuni Gautama was in deep penance to attain nirvana. The Maras, jealous of unique penance, appeared disgusting themselves in different forms to Buddha. Some of them were in fierce-looking demon and some in Apsara (angel) forms and so on. They made him every possible attempt to reduce him but all in vain. Eventually Shakyamuni Gautama overcame the Maras and Buddha became the enlighten one. Then every soon Maras come to confess their sins to Lord Buddha and worship him with great honor. In other to make this great day, as many believe this festival come in to existence. Everyone (devotees) offer kapur, butter, lamps, money, rice, grains, incense, foods, as they wish. Me and my friends offer kapur for every chaitya. Small children come their with a nanglo (a big round-shaped instrument, mostly used to filter stones from the raw rice) and we give them what we have to offer. Visiting four main chaitya and reaching to same destiny where we started will end Mata-ya of the year.

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