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Janai Purnima, or Secret Thread Festival, is one of the important festivals in Nepal, which celebrates in the month of Shrawan (August). This festival marks the bond of purity and safety, which Hindu People observe and celebrate, especially in Nepal and India. Hindu males from the Brahmins and Chettris communities have changed their Secret Thread. And then they put it around their wrists.
What is Janai
Janai or Thread is a cotton yarn which Hindu males put across their chests. This cotton yarn is only given to males during a long and impressive religious ceremony called Bratabandhan or Upanayana.
Almost all religions have a type of Bratabandhan but are known by different names. Bratabandhan is a traditional procedure of obtaining someone in the religion and belief.
The Janai or cotton thread initiates the boy into manhood and steers them to obey the religion and the path of truth devotedly, which must be worn every day of their lives.
Janai is regarded as the symbol of body, speech and mind; when the knots are tied, the person wearing them is supposed to gain complete control over each. This Thread is changed if it becomes untidy or dishonoured due to those acts prohibited by religion.
Definition of Janai Purnima
Janai is a religious thread, and Purnima is the full moon day. Thus it is the Janai festival on the full moon day of the Shrawan month (August).
What do people do on this day?
A day before the day of Janai Purnima, the persons wearing Janai should make themselves ‘neat and clean by shaving or cutting their hair and bathing.
Then, they undergo partial fasting, taking only one meal of foods considered ‘clean’ – no meat, onions or garlic. Before the big event, Hindus prefer to clean their body by keeping fasting. Satvic food is prescribed for all Hindu rituals and festivals.
Early morning, men usually go to rivers and ponds nearby to take a private bath, dipping themselves thrice in the water. Men then change their Janai by breaking the old ones.
What is Rakshya Bandhan Doro (Thread)
Rakshya signifies “to protect”, and Bandhan is “tie” or “bond”. So Rakshya Bandhan is a bond or tie of protection. This Thread which is tied around the hand, is called Doro. Some individuals even say Janai for Doro.
On Raksha Bandhan’s day, males, females, children and kids, regardless of status and caste, get tied a Doro (sacred colourful Thread) on their wrists. Generally, males tie the Thread on their right hand, whereas women on their left hand.
They believe Doro brings them good luck. When one believes, that still becomes true. So people keep the Doro tied to the wrist until Laxmi Puja day in Deepawali. Then, this Thread is taken from the wrist and tied to a cow’s tail during worship day (Laxmi puja) in October.
Hindus believe they must cross the river Baitarni after death to reach heaven. Therefore, the cow will help them cross the river Baitarni by allowing the dead to cling to her tail if they tie the doro to a cow’s tail on the day of Laxmi Puja.
What do people do on Rakshya Bandhan?
On Raksha Bandhan day in the morning, people gather around the Pandit (Priest), who ties the yellow, orange or red Thread around devotees’ wrists by intonating a quick Raksha Bandhan mantra which goes as:
Janai Purnima is also marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy Thread, by the sister on her brother’s wrist. The market is full of different colours of rakhis during the time in Kathmandu and other major cities. This celebration is similar to Bhai Tika in Tihar to some communities in Nepal. The brother, who presents a gift to his sister, swears to look after her.
Janai Purnima, also known as the Kwati Purnima.
Kwati is a soup of different kinds of mixed beans. On this full moon day, Kwati soup is prepared in every house, and the nearest and dearest are invited for meals, especially for the Kwati soup.