Newar people celebrated the Neku Jatra Mataya festival, a festival of lights and masks, on Friday in Lalitpur. Newars (Newars) – Buddhists, but strongly influenced by Hinduism. Therefore, the festival celebrates the victory of Buddha Shakyamuni over Mara and prays for the souls of the deceased family members with parades around the city.
Newars (Newars) are the oldest population of Nepal and in the Middle Ages they lived on the territory of several feudal principalities. Jewelry production is widespread among the Newarians and they once worked in Tibet as jewelers and sculptors.
The festival is also known as Neku Jatra or Shringa Bheri Jatra and is celebrated for one day. The Newar Festival shares similarities with the famous Gaayatra, or Cow Festival, which was celebrated in Kathmandu on Thursday. Navarians put on masks and arrange funny performances throughout the ancient city, entertaining people and joining the world of the dead.
The first dynasty in the Kathmandu Valley, according to historians, was the Lichavi dynasty, which ruled from the 4th to the 13th century AD. It is believed that the festival was introduced by one of the kings of this dynasty about 1400 years ago to commemorate his deceased relatives. Later, the festival was adopted by the king of the Newar Malla dynasty. He commissioned ten communities in Patan to organize the festival.
They took turns holding the festival. Later, the festival was entrusted to wealthy communities because it took a lot of money to hold such large-scale events. Now every community gets the chance to organize a festival every ten years.
Participants of the Neku Jatra-Mataya festival not only put on masks and give street performances, but in the evening, holding large burning candles, they follow around the city of Patan and visit every Buddhist temple, monastery, stupa, praying for the souls of the dead.
Groups of musicians, playing 15 different musical instruments, accompany the processions. The musicians also use the Neku instrument, which is made from buffalo horn. The festival ends, but for another four days, musicians play in the streets, and also visit the Buddhist temples and stupas of Boddnath and Svayabudnath.