Newari Girls in 12 days darkness

0 Comments 6 Jan 2014 ADV

An ancient coming of age tradition continues to be a significant ceremony for young Newari girls.

11 years old Riti is being escorted by her sister into her terrace, a thick veil covers her head and face leaving her to stare to only follow her feet, painted in traditional red design.

Minutes ago, she was being draped in a traditional bridal sari, her relatives were fussing over her make-up as she started at the changing reflection in her mirror Riti is getting married today. As she steps into the terrace, shecan feel the warm gaze of her groom. Who she last saw 12 days ago,

This isn’t a child marriage but an ancient Newari tradition that marks the pre-puberty stage of a girl’s life. The custom, called “Gufa” or ‘Bara teu’ in Newari, takes place before a girls forts menstruation. For 12 days Riti was staying without sunlight. The room was exclusive to women, she was not allowed to touch and see the men, her food were served in room however her girlfriends were able to see her and stay with her.

In the corner of the room was handmade doll. Called bara Kyakh, which signifies evil spirits, Riti was tod to pay respect this doll everyday and offer it food before she ate.

“I was nervous before the ceremony starts as I was told that I will stay in my bedroom for 12 days. I also felt sad because I thought I ight not be able to play with my friends,” Riti sayd, “But I enjoyed the days, My relatives and friends kept visiting me and we had good time chatting, dancing and singing.”

Source: nepalnews.com, 05, JAN, 2014

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