23 August, Kathmandu
The Hindu women across the country are observing the Rishipanchami festival today as per the rituals. The festival, the concluding day of the Teej, is observed on the fifth day of the bright half-moon of the month of Bhadra.
Hindu women reaching their menstruation period observe this festival with due respect and importance by fasting and paying homage to the Saptarshis (seven powerful saints as per the Hindu mythology) with a belief that they will be blessed and forgiven for all sins they believed to have committed during the menstrual cycle.
On the day, those observing the festival wake up early in the morning, go to the nearby river, stream, pond and lake and take bath with established rituals. They clean their body with 365 stems of Apamarga, a medicinal plant; take bath with cow dung and soil collected from sacred places and ash.
But, this year’s celebration has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. People are forced to stay at their houses due to prohibitory orders imposed in different parts of the country including Kathmandu Valley.
The fasting ritual requires the devotee to take bath in the morning and carry out prayers after which the person is required to eat grains, vegetables, wild fruits, Kandamul, guava for a single meal and fast again.