Yamori Punhi Festival
Nepal is a country rich with tradition and festivals that are celebrated throughout the year. Religious festivals are a common sight, but there also harvest festivals, of which Yamori Punhi is one of the most well known celebrations of the year. It is hosted by the local community of the Kathmandu Valley, and is a festival that pays tribute to the grain goddess, Annapurna. It is believed that worshipping Annapurna will ensure a productive future rice harvest, and festival participants also thank her for the harvest enjoyed in the previous season.
During the full moon in the month of December, the Yomari Punhi gets underway. It is a Newari festival and the name of the event translates to “Full Moon of Yomari”. Yomari is also a traditional harvest dish that is consumed during the festival by the chief in the celebrations leading up to the main event. Yomari is made from dough, of which the dough is produced by a flour and rice mixture and is in the shape of a fig. Sesame seeds and brown cane sugar are placed in the centre of the dough, after which it is steamed until it is ready for serving. Other festival goers also eat large amounts of yomari while waiting for the four day festival to commence. Some design their yomaris in various shapes to symbolize some of the other goddesses and gods, including Laxmi and Kumar. But there is more to the festival than just traditional dishes.
Children are a vital part of the festival, with parents offering yomaris to their children in order to bless them, and children also have a traditional festival dance and song which they perform. Sacred dances are performed by the adults, wearing masks and traditional outfits. Celebrations take place on the second day of the festival, as it is a day of prayer. It is believed that storing the yomaris to be consumed on the fourth day of the festival will rid the community of poverty and ensure a prosperous harvest. This annual event is a very important part of the culture in Nepal, and a unique adventure to experience.