Ghanta Karna Chaturdashi is also known as “Gathamoga” or “Gathe mangal”. Newari people called it as “Gathama Charya”, which is named after the strongest horrifying mythical devil and celebrated every fourteenth day of dark lunar in July or early August (Nepali Calendar: 4th month- Shrawan) for his death and protection from evil spirits, witches, and ghosts.
On this particular day, the people of Nepal celebrate the festival going holy temple and beg for the protection against the evil power. This day also marked as the end of rice planting season and beginning of the local fairs and festivals in Bhaktapur.
Ghanta Karna is one of the horrifying devils who is believed as the manifestation of Lord Shiva because he was regarded as the Lord of Ghosts and Witches. Ghantakarna –like a devil, he used to tortured people stealing kids and women and demand money and other valuable items from the people.
Due to his evil activities, people were scared to move out from their home and the farmers do not dare to move out for cultivation. His appearance looks scary and body painted with red, blue and Black. He wears a pair of bells on his early and jingled when he moves. The bell he put on his ear, named him as “Ghanta Karna”. “Ghanta” means bell and “Karna” means Ear.
There is also controversial about Ghantakarna whether he was a demon or god. People following Hindu religion in Nepal believe him as a manifestation of Lord Shiva and in the Buddhist point of view, he is considered as the Lord Bhairav.
How was Ghanta Karna Chaturdashi Started?
The celebration of Ghanta Karna Chaturdashi in Bhaktapur
Today, 19th July 2020 (According to Nepal Calendar Shrawan 04th, 2077 B.S. ), People of Bhaktapur City from different areas will be celebrating Ghantakarna festival with the great joy and interestingly by the Newar Community of People.
As usual, people make the devil from straw and reeds, representing Ghantakara, The face is made using a Bamboo matted round place “Nanglo” with painting and leaves as the ear. People also add Genital on straw- made the devil. To make the effigy, people in the community gather together and collect money and also plays different traditional musical instrument and drink and eat traditional Newari food.
After that, people carry the effigy far away from the community and is burned an effigy of Gathemangal near the crossroad. The worst thing I don’t exactly understand was why people use offensive words freely when carrying the Gathemangal. And it’s burned completely, they returned home playing the traditional music played during Gai-Jatra’s. And everyone returned home.
On this particular day, Women clean their home and surroundings. The reason behind it, in the past where there was once scarcity of water and also because of the destructible storm, brought various water-borne diseases. Such diseases are common in this season, However, people in those days though, it was the act of evil spirit and was caused because of the absence of Nine Durgas, which made evil spirits to enter the city and create trouble.
So to welcome Goddess, people started cleaning their home and surroundings and people in present still does cleaning their house and their surroundings.
Learning from Ghanta Karna Chaturdashi Festival
Ghanta Karna Festival has provided certain logical ideas which made people aware of knowingly or unknowingly. Some of the important lessons you can gain from this festival are:
- Where there is a conflict between good and bad, there is always the victory of Good over Evils or bad.
- This particular festival makes people aware of the cleanliness of not only their house but also their surroundings and proper management of the wastes away from human reach.
- Shrestha, S. (2016). Ghantakarna: Lord of Bells. from: The Himalayan Times. Retrieved from: https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/ghantakarna-lord-bells/
- Ghanta Karna Chaturdashi (n d). from : Top Nepal. Retrieved from: https://www.topnepal.com/festival/ghanta-karna-chaturdasi
- Gatha Mangal (2020). from: Festivals in Nepal. Retrieved from: https://festivalsinnepal.com.np/festival/gathemangal-festival/