Beni: The Magar settlements in Myagdi district are agog with the unique cultural festivities associated with the Bhume Puja rituals. The Magar community is at this time of the year is engrossed in the Bhume Puja. The Bhume Puja is a traditional nature worship ritual by means of which the Magar people ‘please the nature’.
In this connection, the Bhume Puja ritual was performed amidst festivities at Beg, Banduk of Raghuganga Rural Municipality-1 and in Chimkhola, Ward No 7 of the same rural municipality on Tuesday. The annual ritual is observed on what is called the ‘Ujeli Mangalbar’ or the first Tuesday during the bright half in the month of Chait as per the lunar calendar.
As the Magar people live near forests and agriculture is their traditional occupation, they perform Bhume Puja or the land worship to please the nature so as to avert natural disasters and calamities. Thak Bahadur Paija, the Ward Chair of Raghuganga Rural Municipality, Ward No 7, said the Bhume Puja rituals are performed before the onset of the monsoon season to please the nature so that disasters like floods, landslide and hailstone would not occur.
The Bhume Puja was solemnized at the shrines at Bhume, Mandali and Tapkebhera in Chimkhola. Devotees from various places in the district had assembled at these shrines for performing the special worship with the belief that observance of the ritual will fulfill their wishes. “We entreat with the Aapatwipatma Mandali and Bhume deities and pay homage to the deities in the form of Panchyol after our wishes are fulfilled,” Paija said.
According to him, the Mandali Bajai and Bhumethan at Chimkhola saw the highest number of devotees so far this time. More than 300 people had made the ‘Panchyol’ offerings. Male sheep is sacrificed at Bhumethan shrine while a female lamb is sacrificed at the Mandali Bajai shrine. Some devotees also offer coconut and pigeons at the Mandalithan shrine.
Cultural programmes are also organised as part of the Bhume Puja during which the devotees participate in dances, singing and merry-making while enjoying a sip of Chhyang, the home-brewed beer. The Chhyang is first offered to the deities before it is given to the people. On the occasion of Bhume Puja, the Magar people also worship the ‘river deities’ and the gods and goddesses who are believed to reside on hill tops and ridges.