Nepa Pasa Pucha Amerikaye (NPPA) organized and successfully celebrated the Eleventh IHICeremony on Saturday, April 20, 2019 (शनिवा:, चौलागा पारु, ११३९ – शनिवार, बैशाख ७, २०७६), at the Hare Krishna Temple in Potomac, Maryland. IHI is a unique and very important Newah cultural tradition where pre-adolescent girls are symbolically married to Subarna Kumar, a representation of Lord Vishnu. NPPA organizes IHI ceremony every year to accommodate the growing demand of its community members. This year, 20 Kanyas from 11 different US states and the UK participated in the IHI ceremony.
The ceremony started with a commencement Pooja, which was presided by Thakali (senior member of the community) Mr. Budhendra Joshee. It was followed by “Laskus”, – a traditional welcoming of 20 Kanyas to the Pooja Manda. This year, Mrs. Roshani Gorkhali, Mrs. Ganga Maharjan, Mrs. Anjaly Shrestha, Ms. Savannah Joshee, Mrs. Deepa Tamrakar, Mrs. Promita Prajapati, Ms. Sahara Joshee, Mrs. Pushpa Shah, Mrs. Niti Saiju, Ms. Kritishma Shrestha, Mrs. Banita Tamot, Mrs. Shilu Joshee, Ms. Niva Saiju, Ms. Kriti Shrestha, Ms Kerisha Singh, Ms. Adita Shrestha, and Mrs. Shanti Shrestha served as the “Laskus” team members.
After Laskus, NPPA President Mr. Raju Joshee welcomed the participating Kanyas, their parents, and guests, and highlighted the importance of IHI ceremony in Newah culture and community. He stated that NPPA is one of the pioneer Newah organizations in the US that is actively involved in preserving and promoting important Newah cultural and ritual practices.
Newah Priest Basav Rajopadhyay performed various rituals such as Purification Pooja, Manda Pooja, Sindhurohan, Kanya Dan, Manda Parikrama, Kumar Pooja, Kumari Pooja, Bahra chhuyegu, Thaye bhu, Avishek, Ashirbad, and Jal Prasad in an orderly manner.
The IHI participant Kanyas in 2019 were:
|Name of Participating Kanyas||State||Parents’ Name|
|1.||Sara Maharjan – सारा महर्जन||MA||Mr. Babu Ram Maharjan & Mrs. Shobha Maharjan|
|2.||Shefali Shrestha – शेफाली श्रेष्ठ||DE||Mr. Raj Kumar Shrestha & Mrs. Trishna Pradhan|
|3.||Riya Shrestha – रिया श्रेष्ठ||PA||Mr. Anil Shrestha & Mrs. Ritu Thapa|
|4.||Arusha Shrestha – अरुशा श्रेष्ठ||PA||Mr. Sunil Shrestha & Mrs. Ramita Shrestha|
|5.||Sasha Tuladhar – साशा तुलाधर||VA||Mr. Rakesh Tuladhar & Late Mrs. Ishwari Tuladhar|
|6.||Prajna Malla – प्रज्ना मल्ल||VA||Mr. Prajwal Malla & Mrs. Charu Malla|
|7.||Aaliyah Ranjit – आलिया रन्जित||NY||Mr. Ashish Ranjit & Mrs. Aliza Ranjit|
|8.||Mahima Joshi – महिमा जोशि||GA||Mr. Manish Joshi & Mrs. Karishma Joshi|
|9.||Ronisha Shrestha – रोनिशा श्रेष्ठ||KY||Mr. Rajesh Shrestha & Mrs. Nirju Shrestha|
|10.||Melvina Shrestha – मेल्भिना श्रेष्ठ||VA||Mr. Sudeep Shrestha & Mrs. Sabina Shrestha|
|11.||Pralisha Shrestha – प्रलिशा श्रेष्ठ||VA||Mr. Sudeep Shrestha & Mrs. Sabina Shrestha|
|12.||Luniva Shrestha – लुनिभा श्रेष्ठ||ID||Mr. Rajesh Shrestha & Mrs. Rajesori Shrestha|
|13.||Saraisha Tuladhar – सराइशातुलाधर||MD||Mr. Rajesh Tuladhar & Mrs. Sabina Shrestha Tuladhar|
|14.||Niva Shrestha – निभा श्रेष्ठ||VA||Mr. Sudarshan Shrestha & Mrs. Manisha Amatya|
|15.||Saumya Pradhan – सौम्य प्रधान||PA||Mr. Susil Pradhan & Mrs. Sangita Bajracharya Pradhan|
|16.||Prisha Joshi – प्रीषा जोशी||NJ||Mr. Piyush L. Joshi & Mrs. Pranita Rajbhandari|
|17.||Reva Rajbhandari – रेभा राजभण्डारी||NJ||Mr. Prajowal Rajbhandari & Mrs. Merina Shrestha|
|18.||Rhea Rajbhandari – रेया राजभण्डारी||UK||Mr. Prashant Rajbhandari & Mrs. Dhira Shrestha|
|19.||Niva Ranjit – निभा रन्जित||FL||Mr. Dev Ranjit & Mrs. Andina Suwal|
|20.||Ziyanna Ghalan – जियाना घलन||VA||Mr. Jay R. Ghalan & Mrs. Jayanti Shrestha|
This year, four pairs of Nayo and Naki (male and female leaders) – Mr. Buddha & Mrs. Ganga Maharjan, Mr. Pancha & Mrs. Shanti Shrestha, Dr. Raju Tamot & Mrs. Banita Tamot, and Mr. Suman & Mrs. Pushpa Tuladhar helped facilitate the ritual processes under the direction of the Priest. In the ceremony, Master Sidhant Shrestha and Miss Bela Reilly were symbolized as Kumarand Kumari respectively.
This year, more than 350 attendees/guests and observers were present during the ceremony, and many of them were excited and delighted to witness a variety of tantrik rituals performed by the Priest. NPPA EC members, active members, and volunteers Mr. Ram Malakar, Mrs. Bisnu Malakar, Mr. Raju Joshee, Mrs. Shilu Joshee, Mrs. Sukla Devi Shrestha, Mr. Manohar Shrestha, Mrs. Anjaly Shrestha, Mr. Buddha Maharjan, Mrs. Ganga Maharjan, Mr. Allan Maharjan, Ms. Kritishma Shrestha, Mrs. Saroj Prajapati, Mr. Pancha Shrestha, Mrs. Shanti Shrestha, Mr. Nani Babu Shrestha, Mrs. Magan Shrestha, Ms. Sarita Dongol, Dr. Raju Tamot, Mrs. Banita Shrestha, Mr. Suman Tuladhar, Mrs. Pushpa Shah, Mr. Kailash Singh, Mrs. Rita Singh, Mrs. Deepa Tamrakar, Mr. Durga Lal Shrestha, Mrs. Amita Shrestha, Mrs. Niti Sainju, Mrs. Bemy Pradhan, Mrs. Rekha Shrestha, Mrs. Promita Prajapati, and Salyan Shrestha helped the participants and guests during the IHI ceremony.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Mr. Raju Joshee expressed NPPA’s sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the parents for giving NPPA the opportunity to conduct the IHI ceremony for their daughters. He also thanked the participating Kanyas, parents, guests, volunteers, drinks and food contributors, executive committee members, advisory board members, media, the Hare Krishna Temple, and its Priest Mr. Laxman Bhandari for their support and encouragement. Mr. Joshee also presented Certificates to all IHI participant Kanyas. He credited the success of the event to the all the participant kanyas and their parents, supporters, volunteers, and NPPA Executive Committee members as well as its members and patrons.
NPPA would like to thank and appreciate the generous food and monetary contributions made by Mr. & Mrs. Ram Malakar, Mr. & Mrs. Krishna Prajapati, Mr. & Mrs. Raju Joshee, Mr. & Mrs. Buddha Maharjan, Mr. & Mrs. Manohar Shrestha, Mr. Allan Maharjan, Ms. Kritishma Shrestha, Mr. & Mrs. Pancha Shrestha, Mr. & Mrs. Nani Babu Shrestha, Ms. Sarita Dongol, Dr. & Mrs. Raju Tamot, Mr. & Mrs. Suman Tuladhar, Ms. Sukla Devi Shrestha, Mr. & Mrs. Kailash Singh, and Mr. & Mrs. Ramji Prajapati.
NPPA organizes various community events in the metropolitan Washington DC area throughout the year. Please mark your calendars for the upcoming NPPA events:
Sunday, August 18, 2019………. सा पारु Sa Paru and Annual Summer Picnic (FREE ADMISSION)
At Wheaton Regional Park, MD
Saturday, November 2, 2019….. Nepal Sambat 1140 & NPPA’s 28th Anniversary Celebration
After the conclusion of the IHI ceremony, NPPA members and volunteers served food to all the participants and guests. For more information please contact NPPA President Mr. Raju Joshee ([email protected]).
इहिको अर्थ र ब्याख्या: नेपाल भाषाको शब्द “इहि” को अर्थ समय हो । उचित समयमा पुरोहितले साईत मिलाएर कन्याहरुकालागि सम्पन्न गरिने यस विशेष बिधिलाई इहि भनिन्छ । बेल फललाई नेपाल भाषामा “ब्या” भनिन्छ र यस्को बाइनोमियल नाम(binomial name) एगल मार्मलस् (Aegle Marmelos)हो । हिन्दू धर्ममा “ब्या” फललाई भगवान शिवको प्रतिक मानिन्छ । इहि प्रकृयामा कन्यालाई भगवान बिष्णुको अवतार सुवर्णकुमारको प्रतिक मानी सुनमा कुँदिएको बिष्णु भगवान वा कुनै स्वर्णवस्तुलाई कन्यादान गरिन्छ । यस अवसरमा भगवान शिव रुपी “ब्या” फल साक्षीको रुपमा उपस्थिती रहन्छ । तसर्थ, इहि प्रकृयालाई अन्यथा रुपमा अपभ्रम्सित नगरिदिनु हुन सादर अनुरोध छ । साथै, इहिको अवसरमा भगवान विष्णुलाई कन्यादानदिई सकेकोले, इहि गरेका महिलाहरु कहिल्यै पनि बिधवा नहुने धारणा छ ।
IHI’s Meaning and explanation: The Nepal Bhasha word “IHI” means time. IHI is a unique and very important Newah cultural tradition where pre-adolescent girls are symbolically married to Subarna Kumar, a representation of Lord Vishnu. According to religious and astrological beliefs, IHI is an act of giving a virgin in marriage. However, it is not a physical wedding. The main symbols at the wedding – provided separately for each girl – are the bya (in Nepali, bel) which is the fruit of the Bel plant (binomial name – Aegle marmelos), and a golden image (or flat piece of gold with an image of Subarna Kumar engraved on it). The bya fruit represents Lord Shiva and the golden image represents Lord Vishnu/Narayana, also called Subarna Kumar. At the exact astrological time determined by the officiating priest, the father offers his daughter to the god. The act of giving a virgin in marriage is manifested by pressing her thumb against the golden image. The image is held against the bya, and this represents Lord Shiva serving as the witness to the marriage. This ceremony is popularly known as IHI (misinterpreted as Bel-bibah). The principle behind this traditional practice is that the girl having been married with a Subarna Kumar should her husband be deceased, she would not be considered “widowed” because she was already married to Lord Subarna Kumar at her prepubescent age. It is performed to protect Newah women from widowhood and is an important ritual in Newah culture.