Kathmandu: Mha Pooja — worship of oneself — is also celebrated today by the Newar community across the country. The Newari community marks the, Nepal Sambat, New Year, in the morning and Mha Puja in the evening. Mha Puja falls on the Newari New Year based on the Newari calendar, Nepal Sambat.
Main priest of Taleju temple Siddhibir Karmacharya said that Mha Puja should be observed today itself as per the tradition there are some confusions for the celebration in Bhaktapur. Mha Pula literally means self-worship. People of Newari community mark this on the fourth night of Tihar, Kartik Shukla Pratipada, by worshiping self with a hope that light of knowledge shall spread after the destruction of ignorance.
On this day, Newars prepare sweet dishes at homes and mandalas (sacred diagram as symbol of their soul) are drawn on the floor and worshipped. Family members sit in front of the mandalas and the lady of the house presents each of them with a burning wick, sacred thread Jajanka and fruits symbolising long life and good fortune.
Historian Prof Dr Purushottam Lochan Shrestha said Mha Puja is the symbol of knowledge to know self and spread knowledge in the world. According to him, Mha Puja is an ancient festival of the Newari community, which is also a symbol of prosperity.
However, culture expert Om Dhaubhadel said that there is no evidence to confirm when exactly this festival was started but added that the Newari community is observing this festival since Lichchhivi era.