Photo Credit: Ropain
The month of Asar(June/July) holds huge importance for every Nepali as it is that time of the year when farmers plant new seedlings of rice crops in their paddies hoping to grow quintals of rice. The Rice Planting Festival(Ropain Festival) usually begins from the first week of Asar itself. We call it festival or celebration because that is what it is. It is time for sowing the seeds of rice along with some merry making by singing Ashare Jhyaure geet(monsoon song) that enumerates the joy and sorrow of farmers, splashing muddy water on each other, getting a bit wet and relishing delicious Newari feast.
Traditionally, women are involved in planting the rice plant and men plow the field. Asar 15th is marked as official beginning day of the Ropain Festival and is celebrated by eating curd, beaten rice and chyang(a local drink made of fermented rice) with a belief that it will cure all kinds of sickness. Nepal Government has announced this day as National Paddy Day, to encourage farmers and celebrate the crop planting festival.
With the advancement in technology, rice plantation process has improved and has been replaced by modern technologies. However, there still are many places in Nepal where rice planting festival is celebrated jubilantly commemorating the legacy of Nepali tradition and culture. From the past few years, Ropai Festival has drawn the attention of a large number of international travellers as it is one of the biggest cultural exploration for them. Hundreds of foreigners and travellers from all over the world participate in this festival along with the local farmers in a muddy field of Khokana, Kritipur, Bhaktapur,etc. to live and experience Nepali culture and tradition.