Sithi Nakha is one of the important festivals in the Newar community which is celebrated every year on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of Jestha.
According to Hindu mythology, it is said that the day is dedicated to Lord Kumar Kartikeya, the first son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Another name for the day is Kumar Shashthi. The festival is celebrated in honor of Kumar. Hence this day is also known as Kumar Shasthi.
A resident from the Newar community prepares traditional Bara pancakes in celebration of the Sithi Nakha festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. Especially Bara / Wo (Newari dish made of lentils) and Chatamari (Newari dishes made of rice flour) are served on this day.
The Newar community celebrates the Sithi Nakha festival to mark the beginning of the monsoon season by cleaning water sources such as ponds, wells, and stone spouts. People also prepare traditional pancakes such as Bara and Chatamari as a tribute to their ancestral god.
The food items are not just for taste. They are high in carbohydrates, protein, iron, etc. As the monsoon approaches, bodies are exposed to different types of bacteria and these types of food increase the immunity of one’s body.
This Sithi Nakha festival also highlights the importance of water source conservation and the need for clean water. Today, it is customary to worship around wells, boreholes, and ponds and to clean up before worship. In this way, after everyone has gathered and worshiped, the far-reaching ritual of being religiously and culturally compelled not to litter there throughout the year is commendable.
It is believed that the water resource should be closed for a few days after cleaning in Sithi Nakha to stabilize the water level. When water is cleaned, it is cleaned by entering inside the dug wells, ponds, and boreholes, and by doing so, the underneath wastes like mud, silt, and sediment come up to the surface of the water.
By the day of Sithi Nakha, the Newar people must complete Dewali Puja in which the family deity- Digu Deya is worshipped. The Dewali Puja is of special significance as the newly married daughters-in-law are welcome in the family. The Dewali Puja also includes an event of going to the open field for worshiping the family deity, where it is located in an aboriginal condition. Besides, the family members sit together and have a ritual feast.