“Sikali Jatra” Kicks Off

By Kabita Maharjan

Khokana, the traditional suburb occupied by 4258 people, according to Population Census 2001, and 7 km far away from the capital city in Nepal has a very unique and eve-famous festival called Khokana Jatra or Sikali Jatra. It begins on 29th of September and concludes on 3rd of October.

The custom, traditions, and  life style is still far from modernization. Even being so close to the capital, the urban influence is still not pervasive out there. Thus, certain aspects of living style and culture are kept at bay till this day.

As the legend goes, Khokana Jatra is celebrated as the retelling of the story of triumph of good over evil. In this festival, goddess shrikali comes out victorious in the battle against Ashur (devil) who was tormenting humanity alongside gods and goddesses. This Jara tis very special and unique, because people in Khokana do not celebrate the greatest festival of Hindu – Dashain.

Khonamese have their own culture and norms and values that they have still preserved them. This year’s celebration is even more special and significant due to its 12 year cyclic celebration. Every 12 years, they celebrate it little differently, in a sense, that the celebration procedure and rules become even stricter than previous 10 years. It is known as, in their vernacular, “Bãhra Barse Melã” or “12 years fiesta”. During this Jatra, chicken and their  eggs are totally prohibited to eat. A month  before the kick off of this festival, locals are barred from taking bath, wearing leather belt, jacket, shoes, and also forbidden to sing or play song and watch television within the perimeters of Khokana. Because of this tradition and hearsay cultural and religious obligations,  the Kantipur Daily branded this Jatra as a dirty jatra of khokana.

However, nothing is going to change this kind of jatra sooner. The traditional houses, temples, shrines, traditional dresses, ornaments etc.  are the attraction of Khokana.

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