Nepal | May 26, 2020

Jitiya of the Tharus


Rina Chaudhary
Share Now:

Tharus are considered as a dominant ethnic group in Nepal. They are the indigenous inhabitants of Terai,  the narrow strip of flat and fertile land that lies south of the mountains close to the border with India.  Their physical features indicate a Tibeto-Burman ancestry; but because of the proximity of the Indian plane their language is similar to Bhojpuri and Hindi, (types of Indian language). The Tharus have unique rituals, festivals, and music, while their clothes and ornaments are similar to some ethnic groups of India. Tharus celebrate their own rituals and festivals. Each ritual and festival carries Tharu identities.

Jitiya is one of the most important ritual celebrated for three days. It is especially celebrated by Tharu women in Chitwan and Nawalparasi. Jitiya is a symbol of jit (victory). Jitiya falls in the month of Ashwin. It is celebrated for three days on Saptami (the seventh day of dark fortnight), Astami (the eighth day of dark fortnight) and Nawomi (the ninth day of dark fortnight). They take Barta  (fasting) for the good of their family and children. They do not only pray for their children and family but also  pray for collective welfare.  During this period, women worship  God Bishnu, Shiva and the Sun. However, Jitbahan is the main deity of jitiya. The main part of the ritual is that women worship nature. Women take Barta and do not eat anything for a whole day. Women celebrate Jitiya by singing songs and dancing. Different ethnic groups of people gather to hear songs and see the  dance (jhamata). The celebration of Jitiya makes good relationship possible between different ethnic groups and creates harmony in society. It creates social solidarity as well which helps society function properly.

The Tharu people do not make any concrete temple for place to worship, rather they worship nature, most often trees and river. In Brahmathan women sing a song that is called Jatsari (song especially for the water god).  They then cut a branch of peepal and Pakadi to make a nest of eagles (Chilo). At the time of cutting the branch of the peepal, Tharu women sing a song called Darkatoni. This song is especially about asking God to give them the best daughter, son, father-in-law and mother-in-law in their marital life. The branch of peepal and plants of paddy are brought to the center of the village to make a Thaat of Chilo and Shero. The place of the Thaat is scrubbed by cow dung to make it pure and holy.

A version of this article appears in print on October 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Nepal-India cyber war might get uglier

Kathmandu, May 25 On May 24, a hacker took down the website of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and placed an Indian flag along with a message on its home page. The hacker’s message read, “Just because we are silent and we don’t react doesn’t mean didn’t notice.” This is Read More...

Dr Govinda KC to begin 2-day hunger strike demanding govt's attention to border and sovereignty issues

KATHMANDU: Dr Govinda KC is going to begin another hunger strike in Darchula of far-west Nepal in response to the government's indifference to education, health, and employment of people in the border areas. According to Dr Suman Acharya, who has been closely following the senior orthopedic surge Read More...

Ranipokhari benefits from the lockdown

KATHMANDU: Reconstruction work of Ranipokhari -- a historical and archaeological monument -- has seen steady progress amidst the lockdown. There had been some difficulties in bringing the workers to the site and other issues of steady work pace, however, the reconstruction of the pond is expected Read More...

Prime Minister Oli extends greetings on Eid-al-Fitr

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has extended best wishes to Nepali Muslim community within and outside the country on the occasion of the Eid-al-Fitr festival today. The ninth month on the Islamic calendar is called 'Ramadan', during which, believers abstain from eating and drinking durin Read More...

Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 5.4 million, death toll nears 344,000

More than 5.40 million people have been reported infected with the novel coronavirus globally and 343,900 have died, according to a Reuters tally. The United States plans a massive testing effort involving over 100,000 volunteers and a half dozen or so of the most promising vaccine candidates i Read More...

Japan lifts Tokyo's state of emergency, eyes fresh stimulus

Japan to lift emergency for 5 remaining prefectures PM Abe's support rate at multi-year lows Stimulus plan to be funded by 2nd extra budget - Nikkei Package to consist mostly of financial aid programmes TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that Japan will lift a s Read More...

Japan PM Abe: to lift state of emergency for all of Japan today

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that the state of emergency will be lifted for all of Japan, and that the country managed to get the spread of the virus under control in under two months. Social distancing curbs were loosened for most of the country on May Read More...

PM Oli to address the nation at 5:30pm today

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will address the nation on the current political situation and government's further plans to tackle coronavirus crisis in Nepal, at 5.30 pm today. According to PM Oli’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa, Nepal Television will broadcast the address live at 5:30 pm Read More...