Janai Purnima Festival - August Full Moon
Thursday August 18th 2016 markes a very special Hindu festival day for millions of people across the sub-continent and especially the people of Nepal. This is the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan in the Nepali calendar. Across India the festival is called Raksha Bandhan while in Nepal it is called Janai Purnima and translates to English as "thread of the full moon". From the ancient Sanskrit Raksha Bandhan translates to "the tie or knot of protection".
The festival theme is respect and love between sisters and brothers. In Nepal on the full moon morning sisters traditionally tie a cotton thread around the wrist or torso of their brothers and say prayers for good health, prosperity and happiness. The sister will also say a prayer for the protection and health of her brother and apply the tilak, a colorful mark on the forehead of the brother. The brother then pledges to protect his sister and take care of his sister under all circumstances. The brother also often responds with a small gift. Families then celebrate with special food and a day of celebration. This can also extend to music and dancing which may extend into the day.
Because this special day also relates to the Lord Shiva and his benevolent aspects it is customary to pilgrimage to go on pilgrimage to places such as Pashupatinath Temple or even the three sacred Gosainkunda Lakes high in the Langtang National Park north of Kathmandu. The trek to Gosainkunda demonstrates true devotion to Lord Shiva and to be there at the time of the Janai Purnima and the August full moon is considered most auspicious. Pilgrims often bathe in the holy lake to rid them off from their sins and worship Lord Shiva. The many people, dancing, music and festivities at the three sacred lakes makes this a very special opportunity for international visitors to get involved in Nepali traditional culture while exploring some of the most magical trekking trails of the Himalaya Mountains.
Whether Janai Purnima is celebrated in the noise and bustle of Kathmandu or high in the mountains with devout pilgrims beside the Gosainkunda Lakes this is a fantastic time to be in Nepal. Langtang Ri Trekking and Expedition can help celebrate Janai Purnima in which ever location you may choose. We hope to see you this year or next.