Sunday, February 17, 2013

The tongue-piercing festival in Madhyapur Thimi

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Jujubhai Shrestha had his tongue pierced in Bode, Bhaktapur, today as part of nine-day Bisket Jatra celebrations that drew thousands of spectators this time as well.

Before tongue piercing with a spike dipped in mustard oil, a blacksmith offers special prayers to deities as part of Bisket celebrations in Bhaktapur mark the new year of the Bikram Era.

With the spike lodged in his tongue, the Bhaktapur youth performed puja in all local temples before taking the spike out in front of the Pancho Ganesh temple. He later applied sacred soil in the tongue as part of rituals, which, according to legends, date back to the Lichchhavi era.

Legends have it that tongue-piercing signifies the conquest over demons and evil spirits, who were haunting communities, taking away their children and killing them. A tongue piercer should fast for three days beginning from the last day of the Nepali month of Chaitra. The ritual ends with tongue piercing.

source: The Himalayan Times, 14 April 2012

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