The Sun saved my life
Marrying with the Sun is quite unbelievable in this scientific world. One might get puzzled of thinking that how it is possible to marry a raging fire . It is a traditional ritual for a Newari girl to marry the Sun .Newar is one of the ethnic groups in Nepal. Their language ,lifestyle ,culture, tradition and the rituals are totally different from other ethnic groups .One of their unique traditional ritual is “Gufa” , when a girl of age between 12-14 years old has to stay in a dark room for twelve days before menstruation . Gufa is also known as ”Surya Darshan” , marrying with the Sun on 12th day. This traditional ritual has its own significance and it is performed by Newari families in different ways .It is believed that the girl is protected by the Sun from the bad people and the evils after the marriage. On contrary , it is hard and even risky for the girls who spend twelve days in a dark room to complete this ritual .In the following paragraphs , I’ll briefly mention all 5w’s +1H of this ritual that is when ,where, why, what , who and how this traditional ritual is done including my own experience.
Dark room signifies Gufa tradition .Gufa is set in one of the dark room of the house. This traditional ritual is only for the girls of age between 12-14years who are kept in a dark room for twelve days in the month of February and March . During these days, ”Bahra Khayak” (ghost) is made and worshiped .Girl’s aunt , marital uncle, father, mother, and grandmother are the most important persons who have their own particular roles for completing this ritual. After twelve days ,aunt brings the girl who will be blind folded out of the house; marital uncle puts the oil on girls hair; father and mother gives “sagun” which is an egg and curd and the grandmother ties the girl and the Sun as a husband and a wife.
The ways of performing this traditional ritual differs according to the family. Some of the families keep their girls in a dark room for six days ,whereas most of the families keep their girls in a dark room for twelve days .Likewise ,in my family a girl is kept in a dark room for twelve days and she is not allowed to see a male person and the sunlight. Here are some details that my family do during this traditional ritual .In this occasion , Bahra Khayak (ghost) is made and worshipped because it is believed that the girl is under the evil possession .The head member of the family separates meal for Bahra khayak everyday .Oil is not applied by the girl for twelve days .On 6th day ,relatives visit her with fruits .The girl is entertained with folk songs and dances which are performed by her friends .
On the 12th day, a girl marries with the Sun. She takes bath before the sunshine. Her aunt brings out of the house blind folded to have “Surya Darshan”(to see sun ). During this ritual , grandmother performs a major role. She first worships God Ganesh and the Sun .Then she gives wheat seeds and rice grains to the girl which the girl throws backward for three times. ”Sindoor” ,a red color is put on the forehead of the girl and her marital uncle puts oil on her hair .After this the girl is considered as a wife of the Sun.The ritual ends with a party which we call “Bhoj”, a traditional meal made from meat, beaten rice, different types of vegetables like potato, bamboo shoots, cabbage ,cereals .All relatives come to attend the ritual with clothes and rice grains for the girl.
Each family member now considers that the girl is not mere child but has now become an adolescent . This traditional ritual signifies the changes in life of girls. However ,it shows the significance of Newari tradition. According to my view ,Gufa also has a negative aspects that means it is very risky. While performing this ritual , most of the girls get sick and even die. If the girl dies during this period then she is buried in the same room. I have been through this when I was 13-years -old. During that period, I was sick for seven days. Everyday my mother used to hug me tightly and cry. Even my father used to cry sitting near the door of my room because he was not allowed to see me . I was lucky enough to recover my sickness after ten days. It may be because of the love and care of all family members. Sometimes, I sense that I recover from that dreadful illness. I believed that since I was going to marry an immortal god Sun, he is the one who saved my life. People wont believe this if I say this but its the reality. He is the one who saved my life as well as who made me to face such situation which I will not forget. When I came out of the house ,all the male members of my family were waiting outside to see me .My father ran towards me and lift me up on his arm. He was so delighted to see me . Whenever I think about that day , tears rolls down my face remembering the situation of my parents.
Being a girl of Newari group , I this ritual (Gufa), which is the most important traditional ritual for the girls which signifies girls maturity and it is also believed that the girl is under the protection of the Sun.