Sithi Nakha is a customary festival celebrated by the newar community. The festival is celebrated in the month of Jestha(May/June) according to the calendar. Similarly, the month coincides on Tachhala month which is the eighth month in the Nepal Sambat calendar. The month is split into bright and dark fortnights. On the sixth day of bright fortnight, the newar community celebrates Sithi Nakha. The festival is dedicated to Lord Kumar. The main significance of the festival is not just the traditional aspect but also the environmental aspect.
The Environmental Aspect
Snakes are believed as the the rulers of water. The water level reduces to the lowest due to the driest period of the year. It is believed that snakes leaves the river, ponds and spouts. On the day of Sithi Nakha, the Newar people cleans the water sources like ponds, spouts, wells and public pools. The water sources are cleaned to welcome monsoon, that will natural fill the water sources. People also clean the alleyways and the courtyards. The old cities like Bhaktapur, Kathmandu, Kirtipur has some antique stone spouts. The water distribution system is managed from underground. However, the environmental aspect has helped to keep the surrounding clean.
The Traditional aspect
Sithi Nakha marks the birthday of Lord Kumar who is a hindu deity. Simultaneously, the day also marks the first rain of monsoon season and people start to plant rice paddies for their autumn harvest. On the day of Sithi Nakha, the newar people worships their Digu Deya(Family Deity).
After some tedious cleaning, the human body needs some high on carbs and protein feast to compensate the lost energy. The feast includes high protein-iron delicacies like Wo, Bara, Chatamari and home brewed liquor. The main offerings of Sithi Nakha is Chatamari and Wo. Chatamaris are the pancakes made out of rice flour where as Wo is the pancakes made out of black lentils.. Also, one of the regular offerings made by Newar people on special occasions is Samay Baji. The family members gather together to worship the family deity. The festival also carries a significance of togetherness as the whole family sits together and have ritual feast.