Tradition of praying oneself – Mha Puja in Nepal

“Why do people pray God, is it because of their faith in divinity or their fear to assumed power of divinity? Sometimes, we also get to hear about devotees love and dedication towards the divinity.”

Several Hindu myths suggest an idea that God dwells everywhere, even inside the bodies of all living creatures including Humans. Praying the God dwelling inside our body is in a way praying oneself. The tradition of worshipping oneself has been the old practice to Newar Community in Nepal. Mha Puja referring “I” for Mha & “Prayer” for Puja is an annual ceremony in Newari Community in Nepal that worships oneself.

mha puja

Celebrated on the fourth day of the vibrant festival Tihar, Newar community all over Nepal celebrates Mha Puja with great enthusiasm every year. This day also marks the New Year according to the Newar calendar i.e. Nepal Sambat. Mha Puja refers to self worshipping and cleansing of mind and soul through various rituals.  Worshipping the body during Mha puja significantly mean to empower and purify one’s soul as a part of New-year celebration.

“Some also say that Mha puja is an act of purification of the body, mind and soul for enlightenment against ignorance and evils of the world.”

Buddhist Newars also believe that the puja as a promising start to the New Year to gain the 32 features of Buddha through principles of optimism and good deed.

Mha puja is performed generally on the floor in the dining area. The process varies from people to people but the elements used are same for all.  There are basically eight different elements used for Mha puja that are Manda or Mandala, Itaa, fruits, Jajanka (holy thread), Mari (sweets), Dhau (yogurt), Tika and Thoo (home brewed liquor).

Mha Puja this year is on 12th November and from 11th to 13th November of 2015 Hindus of Nepal observes their second largest festival Tihar, which is also the festival of lights, music, loads of fun and cards. On the evening of 12th November the Newari households across Nepal shall be performing Mha Puja and anyone willing to capture the moments of Mha Puja and be the part of it can find a Newari House in the neighborhood.


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