Guni Punhi and Offering to Frogs

“Offering to frog” photo by : Junu Shrestha

Today ( 03 August 2020 ) we are enjoying “ kwati” at our house, with our family. “Kwati” is one of the traditional Newari soups which is prepared by indigenous Newari people living in the valley on the occasion of Guni Punhi festival.  The word kwati is derived from two words where “kwa” means hot and “ti” means soup, so it’s the hot soup, with a mixture of 9 types of sprouted Beans Black Pea, Green pea, Chickpea, Soya bean, Filed pea, Garden pea, Cowpea, Rice bean.

After the traditional method of rice plantation and a lot of physical work in the farming season, the farmers require proper nutrition to regain their body energy. Kwati, therefore, acts as the supplier of nutrition to the tired farmers. kwati was particularly consumed among Newari communities but with time, it also has been popular among other ethnic communities here in Nepal.

Kwati has a lot of health benefits too. It helps to boost energy as well as to cure cold and cough. The beans consist of vitamins, proteins, calcium, zinc, and many more nutrients. It also benefits people suffering from joint pain, diabetes, disturbed digestion as well as helps to boost blood circulation in the body.

Likewise, We also have a special ceremony today known as “Byan-ja Nakegu” , Which means offerings to the frogs. Early in the morning, the farmers visit their lush green rice field to offer flowers, dry rice, boiled rice plus the kwati as a token of gratitude for the good rain during plantation time. Frogs are also friends of farmers as they protect the rice crops from other insects like Swarming caterpillar, Rice hispa, Paddy grasshopper, rice case worms, and other destructive rice pests. Frogs act as biological agents in controlling rice pests.  Similarly, there is a culture of worshiping and offering foods to frogs since centuries.

” Offerings to frog ” photo by Junu Shrestha

During my research, I also found out that Newari people used to consume frogs in the past. It was a delicacy to them although they have given it up now but they still offer frogs to the female goddess, Harati Azima, located at the Swayambhu stupa complex (Monkey temple complex).

Even today in Nepal we still have some kind of superstitious that whenever frogs croak loudly, we believe there is a high chance of heavy rainfall.

Article by : Junu Shrestha

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