Mha Puja, The Worship of Self

Tihar Festival

Special Mandap used for self worship during Mha Puja. Image: flickr/Ritesh Man Tamrakar

While Dashain and Tihar are rejoiced in by all Hindus, Mha Puja is an event that only Newars celebrate. It is today celebrated all over the world, thanks to globalization, or rather, lots and lots of emigration to foreign lands by hordes of optimistic Nepalis, among whom are invariably, quite a few from the Newar community. Mha Puja (this year 24th October 2014) also marks the beginning of the Newari New Year. Legend has it that, 1134 years ago, a trader and a philanthropist, Sankadhar Sakhwa, declared his countrymen to be debt-free by paying off all their debts himself. The Newars decided to mark a new beginning by commemorating a new era. Thus was born the Nepal Sambat (Nepal Era) of which, NS 1134 will come to an end this year, a day after Bhai Tika, the fourth day of Tihar, the second biggest festival of Nepal.

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