Tigray Rebels Seize Lalibela UNESCO World Heritage Site In Ethiopia

Rebels seize a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ethiopia's Tigray Region. 

The takeover comes after Ethiopia's civil war lasted nine months. 

  • The hamlet of Lalibela, home to UNESCO-protected 12th and 13th-century rock-hewn cathedrals, has allegedly been captured by rebel troops from Ethiopia's Tigray region. 
  • Lalibela village in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia, near the Sudanese border. 
  • The confiscation has sparked concerns about the holy site's safety. 
  • This is the latest episode in Ethiopia's horrific civil conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people and forced more than 1.8 million people to flee their homes, putting them at danger of famine. 

The deadly war started in November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent army troops to Tigray's northern region, which borders Eritrea, to crush political opposition. 

Since then, his administration has formed an alliance with Eritrea to combat the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controlled Ethiopia for three decades until Ahmed's ascension in 2018. 

  • Ahmed, who was originally hailed as a reformer after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for ending a decades-long conflict with Eritrea, is now accused of abusing power, brutally repressing opponents, and committing war crimes. 
  • According to reports from Ethiopia, the Ethiopian army and its supporters have perpetrated murders, ethnic cleansing, and rampant sexual assault. 

According to the United Nations, more than 400,000 people in Tigray, an impoverished area that has long suffered from food shortages, are now facing famine. 

  • According to the UN, the situation is the "biggest worldwide famine in decades," with another 1.8 million people on the verge of starvation. 
  • In June, the TPLF took control of Mekelle, Tigray's capital, and refused Ahmed's government's last-minute ceasefire offer. 
  • The conflict has now spread to Amhara, where local militias have formed an alliance with the central authority. 

There is now concern that the conflict may jeopardize the integrity of 11 ancient monolithic cathedrals in Lalibela, which are holy to millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Some people left the town, according to eyewitnesses, but Reuters was unable to independently verify these reports. 

  • Over 250,000 people have already been displaced from their homes in the surrounding regions. 
  • Several Tigrayian heritage sites have been targeted by the central government and its allies throughout the conflict, in what has been dubbed "cultural cleansing." 
  • In February, Eritrean forces were accused of carrying out a brutal massacre in the country's most sacred Orthodox church, which is located in the Tigrayian town of Axum. 

The ancient Ark of the Covenant is said to be housed in the church, according to locals. 

  • According to accounts, the assault killed 800 people. 
  • Eritrean troops attacked Tigray's historic Debre Damo monastery in January, looting its antiquities. 
  • They also demolished and burned more than two dozen monks' shelters. 

When questioned about the threat to Lalibela's ancient churches today, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the US has urged fighters to "preserve this cultural legacy."

Calendar of the Baha'i Faith

The Baha'i calendar, known as the Bad (which means "wonderful"), is divided into nineteen months, each with nineteen days. 

  • In normal years, four intercalary days — known as AYYAM-I-HA, or the Days of Ha — come after the eighteenth month, while five are added in leap years. 
  • The sum of 19 multiplied by 19 = 361, plus four intercalary days equals 365. 
  • However, the number nineteen was selected for reasons other than its mathematical use. 

Mirza Ali Mohammad (commonly known as the BAB), the Baha'i faith's first prophet, created a calendar for the new religion. 

He had eighteen disciples, thus the calendar's structure remembers the nineteen original Babis.


  • The regular Baha'i worship gathering is the Nineteen-Day Feast, which takes place on the first day of each month. 
  • The three-part structure of each Feast is the same: prayer, congregational business, and fellowship over a shared meal. 
  • The Baha'i year starts on March 21, the spring equinox. 
  • The years of the Baha'i faith are running out. 
  • The first year was 1844, which was the year of the Bab's Declaration. 

Each Baha'i month is named after one of God's attributes: 

Bahá (Splendor) March 21

Jalál (Glory) April 9

Jamál (Beauty) April 28

Azamat (Grandeur) May 17

Núr (Light) June 5

Rahmat (Mercy) June 24

Kalimát (Words) July 13

Kamál (Perfection) August 1

Asmá (Names) August 20

‘Izzat (Might) September 8

Mashiyyat (Will) September 27

‘Ilm (Knowledge) October 16

Qudrat (Power) November 4

Qawl (Speech) November 23

Masá’il (Questions) December 12

Sharaf (Honor) December 31

Sultán (Sovereignty) January 19

Mulk (Dominion) February 7

Ayyam-i-Ha (Days of Ha; intercalary days): February 26-March 1 (February 26-March 2
in leap years)

‘Alá’ (Loftiness) March 2 (month of fasting)

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Mayan And Aztec Calendar

Both the Mayan and Aztec civilizations utilized what is known as the Mesoamerican calendar. The Olmec civilization, which flourished between 1300 and 400 B.C. in what is now southeastern Mexico along the Gulf, may have inspired this ancient calendar. 

Between 1000 and 900 B.C., the Mesoamerican calendrical system used not just one calendar, but a system of two interconnected calendars: 

  1. a 260-day calendar and 
  2. a 365-day calendar. 

These two calendars were shown side by side. 

A named day from the 260-day calendar would be the same as a named day from the 365-day calendar once every 52 years (there are 18,980 days in 52 years, and 18,980 is the least common multiple of both 365 and 260). 

Both the Mayans and the Aztecs were aware of this 52-year cycle. 

Between 300 and 900 A.D., Mayan civilization thrived in what is now southeastern Mexico, Belize, and parts of Guatemala and Honduras, a period known as the Classical Mayan Period. 

  • The 260-day tzolkin calendar was utilized for religious reasons, while the 365-day solar-based calendar, known as the haab, was employed for agricultural purposes. 
  • The Mayan calendar system used glyphs, which are tiny graphic inscriptions, to indicate time periods such as a day, a month, and a year, as well as particular months and days within those months. 
  • Each day was named after a deity who was said to have shown himself on that particular day. 
  • The numbers for the days were written using a mix of dots and bars. 
  • The Mayan calendar was split into 13 months, each of which included 20 designated days. 
  • The 365-day calendar was split into 18 months with 20 named days each, plus a five-day month called Uayeb, which meant "ominous days." 
  • The Calendar Round is a Mayan cycle that lasts 52 years. 
  • The 260-day method is said to be the world's only one of its type. 
  • Scholars are unsure what the significance of 260 is, but some have pointed out that the typical human pregnancy lasts around 260 days. 

Furthermore, the Mayans had a sophisticated understanding of astronomy, and 260 was a significant number in calculating the appearance of Venus — the planet associated with the Mayan god Kukulcán, known to the Toltecs as Quetzalcoatl — who dominated Mesoamerica from the 10th century to the middle of the 12th century. 

  • Mayans also devised the Long Count, a complex time-keeping system that sought to cover the whole history of the planet from its beginning to its conclusion. 
  • Between 400 B.C. and 100 A.D., the Mayans are believed to have created the Long Count. 
  • They calculated that the present creation took place in 3114 B.C. using this method (or 3113 B.C., by some contemporary calculations). 
  • According to some experts, the Long Count will finish in December 2011. (or 2012). 
  • After the fall of the Toltec kingdom, the Aztecs (who called themselves Mexica) ruled Mesoamerica from the early 1300s until the Spanish started colonization in the early 1600s. 

  • The Aztecs, like the Mayans, employed a 260-day calendar split into 13 months of 20 days, which they termed tonalpohualli, or "day count." 
  • Their 365-day calendar also had 18 months of 20 days and a five-day interval that the Aztecs considered bad. 
  • The Aztecs also named their days after gods, but unlike the Mayans, they used just dots for number representation. 

  • A Long Count was most likely not used by the Aztecs. 
  • The Aztecs celebrated the new beginning with a huge renewal ritual at the conclusion of their 52-year cycle, which they termed xiuhmolpilli, or "year bundle". 
  • The 365-day civil calendar is now widely used across the area, but some Mayans still utilize the 260-day calendar to commemorate holy events.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar, which is extensively used in Asian nations, is based on the oldest still-in-use method of time measurement, with an epoch of 2953 B.C. 

  • Part of the reason the Chinese calendar has remained intact for so long is because it was regarded holy until the middle of the twentieth century. 
  • Any modifications to the calendar were strictly regulated by imperial officials, and interfering with the time-keeping system was punishable by death. 
  • The official calendar was given to the emperor, governors, and other officials in an annual ceremony until the advent of Communism in China during the twentieth century. 
  • The Gregorian calendar has been in use for municipal purposes since 1912. 
  • The Chinese New Year occurs on the new moon closest to the point in the zodiac sign of Aquarius that is described in the West as the fifteenth degree. 
  • Each of the Chinese year's twelve months lasts twenty-nine or thirty days and is split into two halves, each lasting two weeks. 
  • The Chinese calendar, like other lunisolar calendars, has to be adjusted on a regular basis to maintain the lunar and solar cycles in sync, thus an intercalary month is added when required. 
  • Each of the twenty-four two-week periods has a name that corresponds to a festival that takes place at that time. 

These periods begin with the New Year, which occurs in late January or early February, and are referred to as: 

The Rain Water, 

the Excited Insects, 

the Vernal Equinox, 

the Clear and Bright, 

the Grain Rains, 

the Summer Begins, 

the Grain Fills, 

the Grain in Ear,

the Summer Solstice, 

the Slight Heat, 

the Great Heat, 

the Autumn Begins, 

the Heat Limit, 

the White Dew, 

the Autumnal Equinox, 

the Cold Dew, 

the Hoar Frost Descends, 

the Winter Begins, 

the Little Snow, 

the Heavy Snow, 

the Winter

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Buddhist Calendar

The Buddhist calendar, like the Hindu calendar, began in India and varies according to geographical region. Among Buddhist groups, the process for calculating the new year's date varies. 

Theravada Buddhists (mostly in Sri Lanka, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia) use a Hindu calendar to calculate the months and the new year by the position of the sun in reference to the twelve segments of the sky, each named after a zodiac sign. 

  • When the sun enters Aries, which occurs between April 13th and April 18th, the solar new year starts. 
  • The duration of the lunar months alternates between twenty-nine and thirty days. 
  • Except for the Burmese Buddhist calendar, which starts in April, the first lunar month is typically in December (see Hindu Calendar above for Burmese names). 
  • Intercalary days are added to the seventh month on a regular basis, and an intercalary month is introduced every few years. 
  • The months are referred to by number in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. 

Tibetan Buddhists, whose calendar is strongly influenced by the Chinese calendar, start the new year on the full moon closest to Aquarius' midway. 

Mahayana Buddhists (mainly in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Korea, and Japan) follow the Buddhist, Chinese, or Gregorian calendars for their festivals.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Hindu Calendar

Despite the fact that each geographical area of India has had its own calendar, they are all based on an ancient calendar, India's oldest time measuring system, which can be found in writings dating back to 1000 B.C. 

  • The bulk of the many regional Hindu calendars, which are solely used for religious festivals, split a solar year of 360 days into twelve months. 
  • With the intercalation of a leap month every sixty months, each day is 1/30th of a month. 
  • Along with the calendar, time measurements based on constellation sightings are utilized. 
  • Each month is split into two fortnights: 
    • krsna (dark or waning half) and 
    • sukla (light or brilliant half) (waxing or bright half). 
  • The month starts with the new moon in southern India. 
  • The full moon is marked the start of the month in other areas of the nation. 
  • Many references to the Hindu calendar are provided as follows (depending on the source): month, fortnight (either S=waxing or K=waning), and number of days in that fortnight, for example, Rama Navami: Caitra S. 9. 

The Hindu months' names (with other spellings) are shown below, with the Burmese name in brackets: 

  1. March-April: Caitra or Chaitra [Tagu] 
  2. April-May Vaisakha [Kasone] 
  3. May-June: Jyeshta or Jyaistha [Nayhone] 
  4. June-July: Ashadha or Asadha [Waso] 
  5. July-August at Sravana [Wagaung]. 
  6. Asvina [Thadingyut]: September-October 
  7. Bhadrapada [Tawthalin]: August-September 
  8. October-November: Kartika or Karttika [Tazaungmone] 
  9. November-December: Margasirsa or Margashirsha [Nadaw] 
  10. December-January: Pausa or Pausha [Pyatho]. 
  11. January-February [Tabodwei] Magha 
  12. February-March Phalguna [Tabaung]

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar, known as hijri or Hegirian, is still based only on the lunar calendar. Furthermore, the sighting of the new moon determines the start of a month. 

  • If the sky is cloudy and the new moon cannot be seen, the previous month continues for another thirty days until the new month starts. 
  • The practical start of a month, on the other hand, is determined by moon cycle astronomical calculations. 
  • The Islamic period starts on July 16, 622, with the Prophet Muhammad's hegira, or departure into exile from Mecca to Medina. 
  • There are twelve Islamic lunar months, some of which are twenty-nine days long and others which are thirty days long, giving a total of 354 days in the Islamic year. 
  • Of comparison to the Gregorian calendar, the fixed holidays in the Islamic calendar shift “backward” approximately 10 days each year. 
  • Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, travels back across the full solar year in around 36 years. The Islamic day begins at sunset and ends at sunset. 

Other calendars were created in Islamic nations for agricultural purposes, which rely on the solar calendar. 

  • The Coptic calendar, a variant of the Julian calendar, was widely used until recently, but it is currently restricted to Egypt and Sudan, two nations with significant Coptic populations. 
  • The Ottoman Empire utilized the Turkish fiscal calendar, which was likewise Julian-based. 
  • In today's world, the Gregorian calendar is used almost everywhere for civic reasons, whereas the Islamic calendar solely sets religious observance days. 
  • Saudi Arabia is an anomaly, since it utilizes the Islamic calendar as its reference calendar, at least officially. 

The Islamic month names are an old representation of the solar year's seasons: 

  1. Muharram is the holy month, whereas Safar is the empty month. 
  2. Rabi al-Awwal is the first month of the Islamic calendar. 
  3. The second spring is Rabi ath-Thani. 
  4. The first month of dryness is known as Jumada-l-Ula. 
  5. The second month of dryness is known as Jumada-th-Thaniyyah. 
  6. Rajab is regarded as a holy month. Shaban is known as the month of division. 
  7. Ramadan is the hottest month of the year. 
  8. Shawwal is the month of the hunt. 
  9. The month of Dhu al-Qadah is known as the month of repose. 
  10. The month of Dhu al-Hijjah is the month of pilgrimage.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Jewish Calendar

Hillel II instituted a permanent calendar based on mathematical and astronomical calculations in 358, removing the necessity for eyewitness observations of the new moon, which marks the start of a new month. 

  • Due to uncertainty about the timing of the new moon, ancient law mandated that people living outside of Israel celebrate two days instead of one for each holiday, with the exception of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. 
  • This tradition had to be kept even after the calendar was created, according to the Talmud. 
  • The Jewish period starts with the creation of the world, which is generally dated at 3761 B.C. Hillel's calendar has remained mostly unaltered since the eleventh century, with very minor changes. 
  • A day is measured from sunset to sunset, a week is seven days long, a month is either twenty-nine or thirty days long, and a year is made up of twelve lunar months plus about eleven days, or 353, 354, or 355 days. 
  • A thirteenth month of thirty days is intercalated in the third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth years of a nineteen-year cycle to reconcile the calendar with the yearly solar cycle; a leap year may have from 383 to 385 days. 
  • The civil calendar starts with Tishri, whose first day is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On Nisan 15, Passover, the religious calendar cycle starts (Pesach). 
  • The Babylonians provided the names for the months of the Jewish calendar. 

The months are generally referred to in numerical sequence in the preexilic books of the Bible, starting with Tishri, although there are four months recorded with other names: 

Nisan/Abib, Iyyar/Ziv, Tishri/Ethanim, and Heshvan/Bul: Nisan/Abib, Iyyar/Ziv, Tishri/Ethanim, and Heshvan/Bul: 

  1. Nisan is from the middle of March until the middle of April. 
  2. Iyyar: from the middle of April until the middle of May 
  3. Sivan is from the middle of May until the middle of June. 
  4. Tammuz is from the middle of June until the middle of July. 
  5. Av: mid-July to the middle of August 
  6. Elul is from the middle of August until the middle of September. 
  7. Tishri is from the middle of September until the middle of October. 
  8. Heshvan is from the middle of October until the middle of November. 
  9. Kislev is from the middle of November until the middle of December. 
  10. Tevet is from the middle of December until the middle of January. 
  11. Shevat is from the middle of January until the middle of February. 
  12. Adar: from the middle of February until the middle of March 

As required, the intercalary month of Adar II is added before Adar.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Gregorian Calendar

Because the Julian year, averaging 365.25 days, was somewhat longer than the actual length of a solar year, which is known to be 365.242199 days, the discrepancy between the Julian calendar and the seasons had increased to 10 days by the late sixteenth century. 

  • Fixed holy days started to fall in the “wrong” season, both for the church and for farmers, who relied on specific holy days to schedule planting and harvesting. 
  • From the year 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a reform that removed 10 days; in that year, October 15 was the day following October 5. 
  • This adjustment, along with the removal of leap days in “century” years unless they were evenly divisible by 400 (e.g., 1600, 2000), rectified the calendar to the point that only rare “leap seconds” are required to keep months and seasons in sync today. 

The Gregorian calendar (N.S., or New Style), which was originally used exclusively in Roman Catholic nations, gradually gained acceptance across the West and is now used by the majority of the globe, at least for business and government.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Julian Calendar

In 46 B.C., Julius Caesar ordered the conversion of the reformed Roman lunar calendar to a solar calendar. The ninety-day intercalation fixed a developing mismatch between the seasons and the months in which they had historically fallen. 

  • The Roman municipal year had become approximately three months “ahead” of the seasons prior to this intercalation, thus spring started in June. 
  • To make the correction, the year 46 B.C. was given 445 days and was dubbed ultimus annus confusionis, or "the final year of the confused counting." 
  • The new calendar, which was based on the Egyptian solar calendar, had a 365-day year with an extra day in February every fourth year. 
  • The Julian year has an average length of 365.25 days after adding this leap year and day, which is quite near to the real solar cycle. 

The Julian calendar (O.S., or Old Style) has been in use in the West for over 1,600 years, and it is still the foundation for the “Old Calendarist” Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar, which is utilized by all Orthodox Christian churches to establish Easter dates.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.

Worldwide Calendar Systems

Julian, Gregorian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Mayan and Aztec, Baha'i, and Zoroastrian calendar systems are all used throughout the world. 

A calendar is a tool for keeping track of time using divisions such as days, weeks, months, and years. 

  • Some of these categories, such as months, are derived from observations of natural occurrences. 
  • Others, like as weeks, are completely random. 
  • People used to count by moon cycles (months), but when a more practical, shorter period was required, days were grouped, for example, the intervals between market days likely led to the adoption of the seven-day week. 

Beginning in the third century B.C., the traditionally Jewish seven-day week became a norm across Western culture. 


  • Despite the fact that the amount of daylight varies throughout the year, the day is a pretty natural divide. 
  • The Babylonians divided the day into twenty-four hours, although the hours fluctuated in length over the year. 
  • The day was first given scientific regularity with the invention of precise clocks, which was a consequence of the Renaissance's concern in nautical navigation. 


  • A lunar month, or the length of a complete cycle of the moon's phases, lasts approximately 29.5 days, is easily recognized by all, is short enough to be counted without large numbers.
  • A lunar month closely corresponds to the female menstrual cycle and, given its relationship to the tidal cycle, the duration of cyclic behavior in some marine animals. 

  • Its importance stemmed from its simplicity and ease of observation (assuming overcast skies are excluded), and it was extensively adopted as the foundation for calendars in many civilizations. 
  • The duration of each month varied depending on the culture; for example, the Babylonians alternated between twenty-nine and thirty-day months, while the Egyptians kept them at thirty days. 


  • The issue with using a lunar calendar is that the seasons are determined by the sun's cycles, not the moon's, and the predictability of the seasons is critical to agricultural productivity. 
  • Solar observation, either by monitoring the cycle of the midday shadow produced by a stick put vertically in the ground, or by complex astronomical calculations, may be used to predict the seasons. 
  • Both systems produced a solar year of around 365 days, which was incompatible with the twelve 29.5-day lunar months, which produced a 354-day year. In various ways, civilizations tried to harmonize lunar months with the solar year. 

The most important ancient effort was that of Egyptian astronomers, who set up the Roman calendar that Julius Caesar adopted, based on accurate mathematical measurements and drawing from Babylonian astronomy.

You may also want to learn more about Global Calendar Systems here.  

Roma Festival of the Saint Mary

Sara, the patron saint of the Romany people of France also known as gipsies), is the subject of two legends. Sara was the servant girl of Marie Jacobe, the Blessed Virgin Mary's niece, according to one storey. Marie Jacobe and Marie Solome, the mothers of the apostles James and John, joined Jesus' disciples from Bethany (Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary), Joseph of Arimathea, and Mary Magdalene out of Palestine after Jesus' crucifixion. The festival is known as La Fete des Saintes Maries in French and is celebrated between May 24th  and 25th  every year.

When they arrived at the sea, the party set sail, but Sara remained behind. Sara began to weep, and Marie Jacobe responded by casting her mantle upon the waves and dragging her onboard their small boat. Sara then led the boat to its destination—Camargue, Provence—with the help of an angel (France). Marie Jacobe, Marie Salome, and Sara stayed at the landing site and evangelized the locals while the other parties dispersed.

Sara was a Romany queen in the other version of the novel. She greeted the party from Palestine and was baptized by the two Maries. They were converted to Christianity after she revealed them to the other gypsy chiefs. She oversaw their burial on the spot where the Church of Notre Dame de la Mer would later be constructed after they died. This location was previously used for Pagan worship. The three women's remains are still thought to be in the cathedral. Sara is not considered an official saint since she was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Her tomb is located in the cellar of the cathedral.

Meanwhile, the two Maries' remains are kept in the upper chapel. On their reliquary, scenes from their lives have been drawn. Romany people from all over Europe get to flock to Provence in mid-May for the annual celebrations of Sara (May 24) and the two Maries (May 25) at Notre Dame de la Mer. The field surrounding the church transforms into a vast campground, where casual parties, song, dancing, and general merriment take place.

The pilgrimage's aim, however, is to honor the two Maries, especially Sara, who is revered as the mother of the Gypsies and is thought to be an Egyptian from whom the Gypsies get their common name. They'll make time during their stay to kneel before her shrine and light a candle. They'll dress the statue in new clothes and leave a variety of offerings—thanks for prayers answered and wishes for prayers left unanswered.

A statue of Sara is brought from its permanent resting place in the church basement to the main sanctuary on the first day of formal events, and the reliquary of the two Maries is also lowered from the upper chapel. Members of the assembled congregation try to touch the reliquary as it finds its spot. The Mass for the day begins with songs dedicated to the two Maries. Following the Mass, Sara's statue is taken to a local beach for a blessing ceremony.

The statues of the two Maries will be taken to the shore for a similar blessing ritual on the second day. Some young local girls dressed in traditional regional attire will lead the procession to the port. The archbishop of Aix en Provence will follow behind the statues. From a boat just offshore, he will perform the ritual blessing the waters that took the two Maries to Provence.

Sara and the reliquary of the two Maries will be returned to their permanent resting place at the closing ceremonies at the cathedral, as the gathered chant: Great Saintes Maries, we are about to abandon you. Intercede for us before God, so that he will protect our souls and bodies, and so that he will assist us in becoming better people. Many people would take water from the well in the church's middle. The water is said to have healing properties.

Biska Jatra - A Nepali New Year Festival marking the Death of the Serpent

 Bisket Jatra Celebrated by Nepalese during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thousands of Nepalese gathered in the town of Thimi to celebrate the Bisket Jatra festival, despite a government order that gatherings not exceed 25 participants. To welcome the arrival of spring, coloured powder is spread as part of the festivities. Bisket Jatra is a nine-day festival that started on Saturday. The Supreme Court has released an injunction preventing the New Year Bisket Jatra from taking place in Bhaktapur.

A single bench of Justice Purushottam Bhandari heard a writ petition filed by Raj Kumar Suwal, a local resident and advocate in Bhaktapur, and ordered the District Administration Office in Bhaktapur not to carry out the decision to stop the festival. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the COVID-19 Crisis Management Operations Center, chaired by Chief District Officer Prem Prasad Bhattarai, agreed not to facilitate the procession. The Supreme Court heard a writ petition challenging the ruling and ruled that the cultural procession would proceed. The administration's decision to halt the procession infuriated locals and guthiyars in Bhaktapur. The Supreme Court has also ordered the authorities to explain why the procession was stopped.

Locals in Kathmandu are not only uncertain about whether they can proceed with their festival as scheduled or heed the official call as the new jatra season begins in the country's culturally rich capital, but they are also enraged.

The Biska Jatra in Bhaktapur was set to begin on April 10th. Locals in the city, however, are venting their disappointments and disagreements with the decision online following the April 4 order against the program. Soon after the decision was announced, an online call for a rally was put in motion. Such instructions mean that the government is ‘targeting' the local festivals and the Newa culture. That is what has left the group enraged. The authorities, like all political events, should and should work with the locals to help organize the festivals and reduce disease concerns. Locals will not be silent and will not passively obey orders. Locals have also staged the first round of protests.

Infections and diseases are a threat to all. However, various individuals in culture have opposing viewpoints. Experts advise against drinking and smoking for health reasons, but many people do. So, once the crowd gathers and begins the festival, no one will be able to stop them. The people of Bode have stated that if the government decides to cancel the festivals this year, they will fight back vehemently. They should not recognize the health risks when political party meetings are to be organized. When it comes to the Newa festivals, however, they begin to clash. Our community's festivals are important to us, and we will ensure that they are organized as planned.

Locals are preparing for the Paachahre festival, as well as the larger annual Chandeshwori Mela and Biska Jatra, which begins on April 13. Locals claim they've already brought a lingo, a symbolic pole erected to signal the start of festivals, and that they're cleaning up the area and deciding, hoping that the festivals will bring the area to life this year.

 Biska Jatra Celebrated since Antiquity in Nepal

Biska Jatra, also known as Bisket Jatra, is a Nepalese festival held in Bhaktapur, Dhapasi, Madhyapur Thimi, and Tokha, among other places, every year. On the Bikram Sambat calendar, the festival begins at the start of the new year however, the festival is unrelated to Bikram Sambat.

This festival is said to be the "festival after the death of the snake," according to legend. This festival is observed in different parts of Bhaktapur district, each with its own rituals. The most eventful locations are Taumadhi Square and Thimi Balkumari. A chariot bearing the statue of Lord Bhairava is dragged by hundreds of people to towards upper or Thaney and lower or Koney Tole as tug of war. The chariot is assembled near the Nyatapola temple, or five stair temple, about a month before the festival.

The signature event on Bhaktapur Taumadhi is a tug-of-war between the Thane (upper) and Kone (lower) parts of town, which sets off the biska jatra "dya koha bijyaigu," which means the god Bhairav is carried outside from its temple for festival. The chariot is drawn from both sides, and whoever wins that section of town gets to ride in the chariot while the other sides wait their turn. On the eve of the Nepali New Year, the chariot is finally pulled down to Gahiti, where it is held for two days before being pulled down to Lyasinkhel.

In the yosi khyo, a 25-meter Yoh si Dyo has been erected. The chariot is then driven into the lyasinkhel, where it will be held until the next day. On the eve of the New Year, the Yoh si is lowered. Then again the chariot is pulled to gahiti and on last day which is also called " dya thaha bijyaigu" which means god bhairav is again taken to temple, the chariot is again pulled on both sides and finally settled to the premises of 5 storied temple.

Biska Jatra is celebrated in Madhyapur Thimi or Thimi, Nagadesh, and Bode, among other locations. In Layeku Thimi, people from all over Madhyapur Thimi assemble, each with their own chariot. People throw simrik colour powder and play Dhimay music to cheer and exchange greetings.

Bode witnesses a tongue-piercing ceremony. One city dweller spends his days with an iron spike slicing his tongue and roams the streets with numerous flaming torches slung over his back. The most well-known tongue piercer town is Juju Bhai Shrestha.