Choosing Goddess Kumari For Kumari Festival

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Kumari means basically virgin pre-pubescent girl in English. The Kumari of Kumari festival of Kathmandu is not born a goddess nor does she remain one all her life. She is always chosen from a caste of Newar goldsmiths (Bajracharya and Shakyas) and is usually about five years old, it is essential that she has never been hurt of shed blood. After careful screening by a number of people including the astrologer, the selected candidates, about 10 in number, are locked in a dark room where fearful-looking masks and freshly slaughtered buffalo heads are kept. Frightening noises are made from outside and the girl who shows least fear is selected. She is installed on her throne, in the same room where she lives, during the Dashain festival and the spirit of the goddess is said to enter her body after this ceremony. As soon as she reaches puberty, the Kumari becomes human once more and a new goddess must be chosen.

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