Janku celebration in Newari culture

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The word janku first is celebrated when he/she is a baby, which is known as ‘Pasni’ in Nepali and ‘Rice Feeding’ in English.

Beside this the rest of the jankus are done for the celebration of a life. This sort of a traditional is celebration when grand birthday of a person reaches a certain age. This date for celebrating janku is calculated by the priest on the basic of lunar calendar. Both man and women of newari community perform this celebration.

When the man reaches his age for Janku, it’s done together with his wife irrespective of her own age at the time. Even if unfortunately the spouse is dead, Janku is celebrated with gusto by the family, dressing the man of the hour into his finest and the woman looking like a new bride to be. At these times there are always a wishful melancholy and moments filled with tears of joy for being alive and surrounded by a loving family and being thankful to the gods for such wonderful.

Mainly jankus are done five times in later stage of life when they reach the ages between 77 and 106 yrs.

First janku is done when a person is of 77 yrs. 7months and 7days where they worship the sun as a god called BHIMRATHAROHAN. Where the grandsons carry the person’s chariot into their shoulders and visit the temples of god and goddess.

Second janku is done at the age of 83 yrs. 4months and 4days where they worship full moon called CHANDRARATHAROHAN.

(In which it believed that one has seen 1000 full moon in his /her life and their prayers are directed towards the moon.

Third janku is performed at the age of 88 yrs. 8 months and 8 days, which is called DEVRATHAROHAN. Where the grandsons pull the chariot and visit to the temples. While entering to home the persons chariot is entered from the window of the house.

Forth janku is done at the age of 99 yrs. 9 months and 9 days, which is called DIVYARATHAROHAN.

And the final one is performed at the age of 105 yrs. 8 months and 8 days old, which is called MAHADIVYARATHAROHAN.

For each of the ceremony, the elderly couple is dressed as bride and groom and takes seven steps before getting on a Rath (chariot). The sons and grandsons carrying them on the chariot parade them around town. Family and relatives of the couple follow the procession, everyone dressed to the nines.

Women shower them with flowers and vermilion powder and when they reached their home they are given Sagun wishing them a long healthy life together.

All the relatives’ even distant ones visit them to receive their blessings and have Bhoj (party) after the completion of all the rites and rituals of the ceremony.

The reason for Janku being performed at that particular age is that those are the times when it is said to be the most inauspicious time where any sort of harm can easily befall on him like getting into accidents, falling sick or worse dying. So to avoid or minimize these unpleasant happenings in one’s life different gods and goddesses are worshiped and prayed for their good health and a long life.




The celebrating of Nepal Sambat started from October 879 AD . According to a popular legend, there used to be a educated person in Bhaktapur who ordered porters to get sand from Lakhu Tirtha, a river in Kathmandu because he knew that it would turn into a heap of gold the next day. A person named Shankhadhar Sakhwaa came to know about it, and he enticed the porters to leave the sand in his place.

The next day, the sand turned into gold and with that gold he paid off the debt of all the people in the Kathmandu Valley. So from that day, people started celebrating it as their New Year to celebrate their happiness.

Even today, people are very excited to welcome the New Year. Every year, the day starts with a rally and the greeting of “Nhu Daya Bhintuna!” which means “Happy New Year”. Different programs and functions are also organized in the Kathmandu Valley and out side the valley every year on this day.


In the same day of Nepal sambat Mha puja is also celebrated. Mha puja, a Newar custom of worshiping one’s own body. The main rituals of Mha Puja start in the evening. Members of the family, first males followed by females, sit cross-legged in a row. The elder group of females plays the role of facilitators for each member. A mandap, decorated with different colours and various grains, fruits and flowers, is drawn for each member of the family. In between the grains and fruits lies a mini mandap of oil, which represents the human soul. The human soul is placed between various grains and fruits so that a person will prosper throughout the year since each object represents a particular God and it is believed that each deity will bless the person. An oil lamp with velvet cloth wick equal in length to one’s own face is lit on top of the mandap facing all four cardinal directions so that a person will be renowned in all the places of this earth.

Apart from worshipping oneself, all the household entities like brooms, water pots, utensils and machines are also worshipped in a same way.