Jho Bhuye in Newari culture

Himanshu Shrestha

Grade 8

Nepal is a culturally diversified nation. Nepal has around 124 ethnic groups, and 123 languages, Nepal is considered a multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual country. Among all the various cultures of Nepal, Newari culture is regarded as one of the most unique and attractive Cultures. Newar, a community with rich original culture and traditions with their domestic place of Kathmandu Valley, they are very rich in its culture and traditions. Major districts such as Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Palpa, Butwal, and Bandipur are mostly dominated by the Newari caste. To be more precise, the Newars are one of the primary reasons behind the rich history, arts, architecture, culture, and business in Nepal and its heritage.

 ‘Newar,’ which refers to ‘Inhabitant of Nepal’, was believed to have originated from a colloquial (natural) form. This name was found for the first time in 1654 in one of the famous inscriptions present in Nepal. Before the start of the Unification campaign, Kathmandu valley was solely ruled by the Newari King precisely known as the Malla kingdom. Hence, The Nepal Mandala and the development of the Newar have a big relation. After forming the Modern State of Nepal, Newars slowly started fading their position and power however, the culture and traditions are still alive and are continued. Today, Newari people are scattered throughout the country for various means.

Of the huge Culture and traditions, Newars are considered to be engaged with entertainment which can be seen in many traditions, festivals as well as Jatras, Also the Newars have a unique way of food items, preparation, and serving.

One of the major examples can be taken from the famous Practice of “Jho Bhuye”. Jho Bhuye is a famous tradition passed from the past generation in which people, their family, relatives, and neighbor sit together in a traditional Straw mat (Sukul)in a descending order ranging from high to low age, eating the food items served in a way that the body gets the nutrition required. It is usually of 4 types, which include:

  1. Utsab Bhoj (उत्सव भोज)- The bhoj eaten after celebrating an event that occurs once in a lifetime. For example- Weeding, Bratamandha, Gufa, etc.
  2. 2. Festival Bhoj (पर्व भोज)- The bhoj eaten after celebrating any festival which comes once a year. For example- Dashain, Tihar, Gai Jatra, etc.
  3. Death Sanskar Bhoj (मृत्यु संस्कार भोज)- The bhoj eaten after the death of a near one or a relative. It takes place in the 7th, 14th, 45th, and 1st yr after the occurred death.
  4. Puja Aaja Bhoj (पूजा आजा भोज)- The bhoj taken after worshipping or remembering a specified God or Goddess. For example- Ghar puja, Guthiyar, etc.

Food items

The food items present in Jho Bhuye are as follows;

Bitten rice, Meat, Spinach, Peas, Potato, Cucumber, Methi, Pankua, Yogurt, Rice wine, Alcohol, Cauliflower, Fruits, Sweets, Curd, etc.

The food is separately divided into 4 phases they are as follows:

1st phase (नहापंगु सारा)

Bitten rice, Radish Pickle (especially), Meat (1-2 pieces), Green garlic, etc.

2nd phase (निसरा )

Dyakala( Sub item of meat which contains Gravy ), Legumes, Cauliflower, Potato, etc.

3rd phase (स्वसरा)

Legumes, Mushrooms, Methi soup, Pankua, Radish, Chana, etc.

4th phase (लिपंगुसरा )

Bhutan, Curd, Small peas, Radishes, Carrots, Cucumber, Fruits, Sweets, etc.

Importance of Jho Bhuye

  • It has great importance in the history of Newar
  • It provides sufficient nutrients.
  • It saves our culture and tradition.
  • It provides importance to local food.
  • It uses local products such as Straw Mats (sukul), Leave Plate (Lapte), etc
  • It provides a balanced diet
  • For family gatherings and Togetherness
  • To protect the food item passed by our ancestors
  • To Share happiness and Sorrow

Thus it has many benefits such as providing a balanced diet, It makes our body circulation by use of Sukul, It has serial served food items, It has several beneficial food items, etc.

Like this Jho Bhuye has quite a great importance in the Newar society. According to today’s time, people are often attracted by the western culture of party palace which has resulted in the decrease of Jho Bhuye which affected disappearances in our culture. Therefore we should promote Jho Bhuye more than other Ceremonies.

As per this, on the 13th of Asoj 2079, our School Mahendra Vidya Ashram held the Jho Bhuye program to promote the culture. The program was conducted under school premises by Students of grade 8, me, and my classmates. It was a really good program which resulted in showing now entertaining and good our culture. Even our teacher took part in the program. All Students as well as our Teacher came in Cultural Dress and conducted the program.

For me, this program will always be remembered in my heart, as well as the Tradition of Jho Bhuye which is very amazing. I hope this culture will be present in the future. If I could I would defiantly promote our cultural traditions, as the culture is very amazing and exciting. Therefore, we all can agree that Culture is immensely good.