The 3/04 BLOG's of Michèle Béguin
It is in the heart of spring that the new year of the Hindu calendar of the Vikram Era starts. To celebrate it in the Kathmandu valley mainly in
Bhaktapur and few surrounding locations, a long festival is organized giving the occasion to honor the human family links and the divine ones.
IT IS THE OCCASION FOR THE FAMILY TO ASSEMBLE AND PLEASE THE GODS.
In all the city’s areas, nine days of strange and frenzy celebrations and festivities, are the token of the Nepalese towards their Gods.
The first day, on the Natyapola square, a murti -statue- of the god Bhairav, protector of Nepal is taken out from its temple to be put on the chariot
that two areas of Bhaktapur will dispute by trying to pull it towards their own direction. It is a fight for honor between the tole -locations- which was,
no long ago, ending late in the night with flights of bricks and the “assistance” of the police! Those huge wooden chariots, heavy and mobile temples,
one floor high set with thick wheels and old hubs needs a team with big strength to move them.
THE BISKET CHARIOT IS ASSEMBLED AND PARKED ON THE THAUMADHI SQUARE IN FRONT OF THE TALEJU TEMPLE;
excess rakshi and beer: young ones are excited and some are always wounded. It is also a part of the ritual.
One of the most important moment is to lift up the mast or lingo. It is a tree, cut up from the slopes of a hill, chosen around the city of Bhaktapur.
If the lingo is damaged, it cannot be used anymore, one need to find another one. Choice is dictated by the Middle Ages characteristics
as they are still in vigor...It is a ram which will decide of the tree to be cut! Held by a lead rope, the ram stops, brushes against the trunk of a
tree which will be chosen to be cut. After a set of rituals, it is cut and carried to be the new lingo.
This symbol is capital. It is at its pinnacle that two long banners are fixed, each with the design of a snake that the crowd will come to contemplate.
They comes and see the responsible of a local drama. In Nepal, legends are still very much alive and give rhythm to men’ lives mixing daily with the gods.
LIFTING THE LINGO IS A HARD JOB. IT MAY ALSO NOT BE LIFTED AND THE CROWD WOULD BE PANICKY ABOUT ITS SYMBOL.
Once upon a time...a beautiful princess married a prince found dead the morning after their wedding. His death was unexplainable.
The princess was remarried to another prince and the same end happened to him. And so on...up to the day where then an umpteen candidate appeared.
He married the princess but the evening of their nuptial, he stayed awake, his sword and shield in hands, well decided to understand the reason of
the precedent deaths. The princess fell asleep and two snakes came out from her nostrils. The prince killed them, so ending the string of mysteries
which had stricken the kingdom. It is to show the people who was responsible for those dramas that a mast with two banners are lifted up, each with
the design of a snake.
THE TALL BANNER IS LIFTED UP JUST AFTER THE LINGO. EVERYTHING IS IN ORDER!
To lift up the lingo is a long term task. It is long, heavy and one needs a sturdy well coordinate team with excellent quality ropes and perfectly assembled bamboos. It happened some years, that the lingo fell back or could not be lifted; of course in this case people are devastated, accuse the guthi-community- responsible for the equipment and even could rack its office. The next day, for the year to start well, people come with offerings sacrificing cocks close to the Bhairab chariot parked at the base of the lingo