Mata Tritha – Mothers’ Day in Nepal
For many children in the world, Mothers’ Day is a special occasion, an opportunity to thank their mothers for their unconditional love, support and the care that they have received throughout their lives. In Nepal, Mothers’ Day is also a celebrated day that brings families together for lunch, whilst mothers accept tokens of their children’s appreciation and activities take place throughout the day with mothers’ in mind. Mothers’ Day, known as Mata Tritha in Nepal, is a day of love, affection and gratitude.
Mata Tritha is celebrated on 12 May in Nepal, and is not viewed as a religious festival, but vital from a cultural and social point of view. It is believed that if sons and daughters pay tribute to their mothers, their lives will be blessed. In Nepal, mothers are highly regarded, as they are generally the force behind keeping their families together. There are two ways that Mothers’ Day is celebrated in Nepal. Children either arrange a family gathering or they travel to the Mata Tritha pools, a place of pilgrimage for the Nepalese.
The significance of the Mata Tritha pools originates from myths and legends, and there are varied stories and explanations told. One of the legends tells the tale of a cowherd who had lost his mother and was deeply distressed over her death. He brought offerings, knelt down at the pools and began to pray. His mother’s face then appeared before him on the surface of the water and she gladly accepted the offerings he dad laid down. It is legends like these that have brought people to the pools on Mata Tithra, in the hope that they too will see the face of their departed mothers in the waters of the pools. Some bathe in the pools to pay respect, or bring their mothers to be lowered into these sacred waters, just outside Kathmandu. In the evening, oil lamps are lit in memory of their mothers, whilst attendees stay awake throughout the night to perform rituals in honor of the dead, called Shraddha.
But, Mata Tritha is generally a festival of celebration and joy. It is also a day of blessings for children. With each gift or gesture given, mothers will touch their children on their foreheads and perform a blessing on each child. For both mothers and children in Nepal, Mothers’ Day is the opportunity to spend quality time together, reunite families and celebrate the joys of motherhood. Saying thank you to the most remarkable woman in anyone’s life should not just be done on Mothers’ Day, but throughout the year. Mothers’ Day should just be a reminder that the whole world is united in the celebration of Mothers across the globe.