Worshipping Self in Mha Puja in Deepawali (Light Festival, Tihar)
Mha Puja is celebrated on the fourth day of Tihar by the Newar community. Mha puja refers to self-worship or worshiping own body in order to remove negative and evil forces. This festival falls on New Year day of Nepal Sambat calendar.
An entire household member participates in Mha Puja for better health, longevity and prosperity of each member in the family. This festival is celebrated for existence of owns life and understanding the importance of the life. The festivals also help to realize to remain humble and care for the own conduct in life.
There are different elements for Mha puja and they are Mandala, Hand woven cotton lights, Yogyurt, Fruits and Nuts, Flowers, and Cotton Threads. The begininng of the Mha puja is done by making mandala with the elements described above. After the Mandala is drawn on the floor, every member of the family sits in front of the Mandala and begins the Puja. The whole process is carried out by the main household lady. The main household lady puts the tika on everyone’s forehead and light up the hand woven cotton lights next to the Mandala. She also offers the holy thread and the citron fruit to the other members as a symbol of anything good coming their way.
The house lady also carries a clay pot that contains yogurt. Each member of the family sitting for the Puja takes the yogurt from the pot and put it in their respective Mandalas. Also, the worshipers have whole boiled fried eggs, fried fish, fried ginger, bean cake and local wine made from rice. The local wine is called ‘Aaila’ which is poured three times in a small bowl. They continue to pour the Aaila in the bowl until the bowl does not set down to the floor.
After the completion of the self worshipping ritual, each members are served and mandala is destroyed and the floor is cleaned.