for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. ~UNESCO

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Blessed ‘Bathing’ Day

Bhutan is special and unique. There are many practices, which supports this thesis. The beautiful dress, language, festivals, traditions etc are some from the hundreds on the list. The once a year Thrue bab- Blessed Rainy Day is one particular day observed in Bhutan, which also aids the aforementioned view. It is an important day, so the day is a national holiday. 

The day has been observed since the advent of Buddhism or maybe before, which makes the occasion as old as the mountains.  It is believed that one should take a bath and the bath will cleanse all the sins one has accumulated. Thus, the prayers to be chanted before and during the bath say- let me be free of all sins I have committed; may this bath free  my body, speech, and mind from the sins.  

According to Holy Scriptures, the rain on the day comes with the power to cleanse our sins. All natural water bodies in the country are believed to be sanctifying and one should take an outdoor bath.  The auspicious time for bathing falls on a different time of the day every year. Astrologers predict the time and this year, the time falls between 1 PM and 2 PM. I am happy with the time this year, as I do not have to wake up in the wee hours like last year. It is at that auspicious time we should take the blessed bath.  People get ready for the bath by filling containers with water and keeping it outside. They put flowers, camphor, and other scent giving things.  

The day’s significance is not a mere holy bath. There are many other reasons for the day to be a joyous one. The day marks a change in the seasons and we bid farewell to the monsoon. Days become shorter giving way to darkness as early as 6 PM. Farmers are the happiest lot as fruit trees are laden with ripe fruits, and the paddy fields turn gold. Most crops in Bhutan get ready for harvest and autumn rituals fill the air. It signals the time for the vegetation to give their beautiful autumn colour.  

For this sake, we celebrate and only celebrate on this day. Men try their luck at archery or khuru (dart). Women cook and feast their best meals with their family, and Friends gather to wine and dine. Children make merry with their friends. Songs and music will waft in the air. It is also a good day for wearing a new cloth on that day.  And from 1PM, all will be engaged in their holy bath.

This year, I am not feasting with my family as I have an archery match. I have already arranged the kitchen ready for the family to have grand meals. We will start the day with hot rice porridge followed by suja aka butter tea with snacks. My wife has prepared some biscuits out of flour, sugar, butter fried in oil. Just before writing this post, I was cooking rice for porridge on one stove and frying chicken on the other stove.  

I love Bhutanese occasions and I love the holidays more …

1 comment:

  1. Great blog with great thoughts...!!! keep on writing!