Ranatharu community living in western Nepal is enjoying the traditional Rana Tharu’s Teej festival now. Forgetting the Kovid-19 infection that has spread globally, they have rejoiced in Teej Festival
Dola (Swing) has been installed in Rana Tharu’s settlement. Women of the Rana Tharu community dressed in traditional attire have started playing Swing and humming the traditional songs of Saun. Married daughters have returned to their parents. Nepali society is rich in language and culture. Different castes have different cultures. In the Rana Tharu community, Teej is celebrated in a very different way than in other communities. In this community where Teej is celebrated for a month, Teej starts from the day Swing is made in the yard. The Swing placed in this way is called Dola. The brothers also support the female sisters to make Swing.
Brothers and sisters cut bamboo from the forest to make Swing. Swing’s logs are made from it. Jivan Ranatharu, an expert on Ranatharu culture, said that the festival is believed to deepen intimacy between brothers and sisters. Ranatharu also has a dense settlement in Debariya, Dhangadhi sub-metropolis-7.
Like other communities, Ranatharu is rich in lifestyle, traditions, customs, food and art culture. There is a religious belief that Hindus fast for the longevity of their husbands and for the unmarried girl to get a bride like Mahadev. However, the Ranatharu community celebrates Teej in a different way. In the Ranatharu community, Teej is celebrated not for the longevity of a good groom and husband but for the health and longevity of the brothers.
Also ReadHaritalika Teej
“It is believed that the woman started fasting wishing for the life, longevity, happiness and prosperity of her brother and nephew to get rid of the crisis,” said Rajmati Rana of Dhangadhi-7. Shravan Tritiya is considered to be the main day of Rana Tharu’s Teej. It is customary for sisters to fast on this day. The fasting sisters cook traditional dishes including Simahi, Gulgula, Papara and Puri for worship. Fasting women go to the riverbank in the evening to worship. The married worships tie seven knots and the unmarried worship tie five knots on Gadrauda family grass or Kush. After the puja, they cut it with silver ornaments or coins and put in the food items as offerings and immerse in the river.
“At the time of immersion, the sisters wish wealth, prosperity and longevity for the brothers,” says Premmati Ranatharu of Dhangadhi-9. “The Sisters wish the brothers to live as long as the river.” On the way to the river to break the fast, the brothers wrap their sisters in long ropes along the way.
According to Jeevan, who has done post-graduate research in Ranatharu culture, it is believed that Behmaiya fasted in ancient times and that is where it started. Behmaiya tied the grass of the Gadrauda caste in a knot and swept it away in the name of his nephew, but it did not swell. When she did not run away, Behmaiya started crying, which Shiva-Parvati saw. And, he asked her why she was crying. Legend has it that Shiva-Parvati told Behmaiya to fast for her cousins and to wish her long life by tying a knot in Gadrauda and pouring it into the river.
In other communities, it is customary to fast fast, wishing for the longevity of the husband. Dhaniram, an expert on Ranatharu culture, says that longevity of brothers and nephews is wished in this community. “In ancient times, in our community, men began to die of grief and illness,” he says.
Only Kailali and Kanchanpur are the main settlements of this community. The government has listed this community as an indigenous tribe. According to the Nepal Ranatharu Society, the population of this community is about three and a half million. Ranatharu resides in 134 villages in the two districts. Kriparam Rana said that the language, customs, festivals, culture and lifestyle of his community are different from other communities.