“Many females follow Shrawan rituals without knowing the reasons or logic behind them. If thought logically, it may seem that there is no sense in wishing for your husband’s longevity by staying hungry and wearing green color. But, once you understand the meaning behind any ritual, your faith becomes strong.”
During the month of Shrawan each year, Hindu women manifest their devotion to Lord Shiva by applying henna on their hands and wearing green-yellow bangles. It is believed that if women worship Lord Shiva during the month of Shrawan, their wishes come true and their husbands live longer.
With this belief, hundreds of Hindu Nepali women follow the ritual of wearing green bangles and applying henna on the first day of Shrawan. Minu Neupane, principal of Kabir Madhyamik Vidhyalaya in Itahari, says she rigorously observes fast every Monday during the month of Shrawan and visits temples of Lord Shiva praying for good fortune.
On Wednesday afternoon, a group of women were busy applying henna on their hands at Adarsha Tole, Ganga Marg in Itahari’s ward number 1. A woman from the group, who was drying her henna, says, “I am wearing the henna because I believe this will make my wishes come true. We are devoted to Lord Shiva this entire month.”
She adds, “I am not a religious person but, I have been following the teachings of my elders. Senior members of my family taught me to wear green and henna during the month of Shrawan for prosperity and my husband’s longevity. I hope the future generation also continues to follow the good faith in Lord Shiva.”
Durga Poudel, a cosmetic shop owner in Itahari, says hundreds of women customers flock to her shop to buy henna, green, red and yellow bangles along with yellow glass beads (potey) with the beginning of the month of Shrawan. Though the number of customers goes slightly down as the days pass, Durga says as many as 50 customers continue to visit her shop in a single day.
The devotion on one hand and the charm of cosmetics on the other, Hindu women across the country celebrate womanhood in full swing during Shrawan. Married women decorate themselves for the love of their husbands, while unmarried girls pray for better partners. Keeping the local women in priority, Sunrise Bank, Itahari had organized a henna festival to mark the beginning of the holy month of Shrawan.
The devotion for Lord Shiva and love for green is not only limited to Itahari and the women there. Owners of various cosmetics shops across the country are busy with the thriving business in this holy month.
Shrawan is also the month for ‘Bol Bam’, where pilgrims travel to temples of Lord Shiva to offer prayers. Religious travelers from different corners of the country head to major Shiva temples. It is believed that your wishes will come true if you offer water from Saptakoshi and Koka River in the Barahachetra temple and water from Kaushiki Tat in the Pindeshwor Shivalaya.
Tika Aatreya, principal of Janata Bahumukhi Campus in Itahari, says, “Many females follow Shrawan rituals without knowing the reasons or logic behind them. If thought logically, it may seem that there is no sense in wishing for your husband’s longevity by staying hungry and wearing green color. But, once you understand the meaning behind any ritual, your faith becomes strong.”