Mother’s Day (Mata Tirtha Puja)
The Nepalese people have always been family oriented. They take great pride in their ancient tradition of closely-knit family unit. This sort of kinship is not only the result of religious teachings, but also due to various festivals and ceremonies, which brings the family together and strengthens the family ties in the Nepalese society.
Such is the festival of “Mata Tritha Puja” which in English is “Mother’s day” . This festival falls on the last day of the dark fortnight of April or early May. It is a day when one shows appreciation and gratitude to his/her mother for her unconditional love and undying support.
On this day, each house bustles with activities and everyone, regardless of age, participates. There aren’t much religious ceremonies but the fact that it is a day for mothers, calls for celebrations for she is the one who keeps the family together through ups and downs in life. Even the small children dig into their savings to buy gifts for their mothers. Sons and daughters living separately, come with presents and delicacies to spend time with their mother. It is a day of reunion for married daughters with their mothers. The entire day is filled with festivities and merry making.
Those who don’t have a mother pay obeisance to Mata Tirtha, which is a sacred site of pilgrimage and holy bathing. It lies six miles south – west of central Katmandu, consisting of two pools-the larger for bathing and the smaller is famous as the place where one “looks upon one’s mother’s face”.
Legends reveal that in the ancient times the region was ruled by a cowherd king. One of his cowherds was so depressed by his mother’s death that he went to pray and make offerings at a water storage pond in the forest on this day. Miraculously his mother’s face appeared and her hand accepted the offerings. Thus its called Mata Tirtha, where many hope to see their mother’s face. Alot of folklores are attached to this site, some of which are tragic. But whatever it maybe, people still believe that paying homage to this site will bring peace to their mother’s departed soul. So for this reason people come from distant places, on this day, to show their reverance.
Thus, Mata Tirtha holds a very profound meaning in each person’s life. For a mother, is a figure present in everyone’s life. This day gives each child a chance to show the depth of his/her feelings for her.
Article by Padmakshi Rana