Who is Kirant RAI
Rai people is very ancient and landlord (Mulbasi) of Nepal since its existence. Many dynasties and books described that Kirant rulers were brave, friendly and economically prosperous at that period of Kirant regime (around 5080 years ago). Kirat has been discussed since the Rig Veda, considered to be the first written text in the world. Handmade/handloom product especially woolen products were exported during the time of Kaultilya’s Arthasatra. 29 to 32 Kirant kings had ruled over the Nepal at that time Nepal was bigger than current map. Mentioned in Saskrit verse ‘Marutantra Himakhanda’ and Dr. Jugmang Gurung half of the Asia was Kirant territory. Overall, there were 29 kings of this dynasty who reigned over Nepal for about 1225 years. According to the chronicle (history) of Kirkpatrick genealogy, Kiratis reigned over Nepal nearly 900 B.C. to 300 A.D. On the base of the Puranas and other ancient religious texts, it is assumed that the Kiratis reigned in Nepal after Gopal and Mahipal. Kirati kings were well proficient in the art of warfare, and were skillful archers. The cultural and religious life of the people was highly developed under the Kirants, The key holistic principle is MUNDUM. They adored Lord Shiva/Parbati known by different names (Mahadev/ Paruhang/ Sumnima/ Kirateshwor) and nature etc. The images of Kirateswar Mahadev and Birupakshya show the typical of architecture of the Kirants. Buddhism also flourished under the Kirants, during Jitedasti regime. The stupas, pagodas, and temples were all constructed on the model of kirants art.
Currently, Kirant people are living an east from the Kathmandu valley. They are Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar, Jirel, Dhimal etc. These people are very laborious, friendly and honest. They worship to ancestors and nature. According to my grandfather; Jetho is Bhote, Mailo is Rai and Kanchha is Tharu, we are children of Paruhang/Shiv. Among Kirants, Rai is prominent caste having many festivals and rituals, which are Sakenwa, Chachhuwa, Mangsire, Chhembi Mang, Thampung/Sikari, Suptulung, birth to death, etc. Rai people have diverse sub castes, such as Bantawa, Chamling, Sampang, Kulung, Thulung, Mewahang, Nachhiring, Yamphu, Lohorung, Bahing, Koich, Puma, Khaling, Wambule, Yakkha, Dumi, etc.
But nowadays, numerous Rai people do not communicate their language and culture because parents themselves have not taught their children at home. Also Kirawa children did not yield interest because this language was not imparted in any school and so called modernization somehow also effected in Rai culture and language. Besides ethnic people, other caste people called our language (Gai khane bhasa)… Because of these, our Rais tradition, culture and language are at the edge of extinction.
‘Mundum’ is the oral literature of the Kiratis. Mundum is called oral literature as it still survives in the oral tradition and contains comprehensive descriptions of Kirati’s language, literature, culture, history, geography, songs, music, religion, philosophy, etc.
Mundum is the ancient cultural history and common identity of the entire Kirati. Therefore, Mundum is not only the heritage of faith and belief of the entire Kirati, but also the source and basis of the overall identity.
Kirant Mundum encompasses chiefly: How human beings existed in this world. What they worship, why they worship, when they worship and how they worship are seen in rear occasions. Worship fire hearth three stones or Suptulung, Chhekulung, Sabalung and Baralung, which each chula has different meaning. Suptulung is head of the firehearth or family, Chhekulung is chhekuchhachi choricheli and sabalung is son.
SOME RITUALS IN RAI CULTURE WITHIN LIFE SPAN
1. Naming Ceremony (Wachakma Halam):
When a new baby is born, after 5 to 6 days, first home purifying and naming ceremony will be done with head women from the kinship, which I have already updated how we will conduct naming ceremony and its process.
2. Kok Sukmau Halam (Rice Feeding):
First food feeding to baby called rice feeding or Coke Sukmau. It comes after 5 months. In first (rice feeding or Coke Sukmau) program, baby will be given variety food and liquid by scooping with a coin. Nowadays, those who can afford make silver or gold spoon and give first food grain and liquid like hengma and umbak to baby for he or she is existed. The key purpose of this ritual is somebody is now on entity and acknowledged as a vital member of family. He or she is equally rights and he or she became a member of heir.
3. Chewar and Guneu Cholo (Tangkhoma Halam and Humao Halam):
This ritual conducts in odd months after two years. Like 3, 5 and 7 years.
4. Marriage Ceremony has several traditional procedures. Marriage is prominent ritual and part of life in human beings. Mother and father will not be responsible after completion of their son and daughter’ married. Parents will be freed from their responsibility, after giving blessing to married couple if they didn’t help and take care, parents will not be sinner or in other way son or daughter both are capable to handle their lives ahead.
Rais are Nature and Ancestors worshippers like sun, moon, air, water, soil, local deities, Paruhang and Sumnima etc. Within Rais community there are 26 different languages, which people are, somehow communicate with their own language. Rai celebrate Sakenwa twice a year that are Dongdawa and Donglasa (Udhouli and Ubhouli). Sakenwa Silli dance which is widely known as Sakhewa, where Rai people perform many types of imitating like planting, harvesting and animals. Bhumi puja, in Kirat Rai language it is called Henkhama Puja and Rasi Puja. Rai execute Chenbi Mang puja which indicates prosperous of wealth. Also execute new harvest food grains puja Chachhuwa Mang, which brings happiness and wealth to the family. Rai people have spiritual beliefs which perform through Nakchong or Mangpa that is healing and curing method or treatment to patients. They believe in divine and evil spirits, folklore myth is a one of the most mysterious parts among Kirantis.
These are some of the traditions and culture of Kirant Rai. There are many more tradition and culture which I will update later on… Baddhe Baddhe Alangney, Thank you.