Tradition - Kumari


coping with tradition -
Kumari chews
a bubble gum

CLICK for original LINK

© PHOTO Kumari: Reuters Limited 2007


Kumari, or Kumari Devi
is a living goddess in Nepal. Kumari literally means virgin in Nepali and was the name of the goddess Durga as a child. A Kumari is a prepubescent girl selected from the Shakya caste of the Nepalese Newari community. The Kumari is revered and worshipped by some of the country's Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists, though not the Tibetan Buddhists.

While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, and she lives in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of the city. The selection process for her is especially rigorous. The current Royal Kumari, Preeti Shakya, was installed on July 10, 2001 at the age of four.

A Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for her to revert to common status.

© KUMARI / Wikipedia


Today, December 24 in Japan, I read in the Japan Times about the child that likes bubble gum ...

The living goddess likes bubble gum.

On a cold autumn evening, during a festival giving thanks for the monsoon rains, dozens of chanting worshippers pulled her enormous wooden chariot through the narrow streets of Katmandu’s old city. Thousands of cheering people pressed forward, hoping for a blessing. Drunken young men danced around her, pounding drums and shouting.

But the goddess — a child wrapped in red silk, a third eye painted on her forehead as a sign of enlightenment — took little notice of the joyous riot. Instead, she stared ahead intently, her jaw pumping furiously.
Then, finally, she blew a yellow bubble about the size of a plum.

Priti Shakya is 10 years old, the daughter of a family of poor goldsmiths. At the age of 4, a panel of judges examined her in a series of ancient ceremonies — checking her horoscope, searching for physical imperfections and, as a final test, seeing if she would be frightened after a night spent in a room filled with 108 freshly decapitated animal heads. She was not.

So Priti became a goddess, worshipped as the incarnation of the powerful Hindu deity Taleju, and going into near-complete isolation in an ancient Katmandu palace.

She will return home only at the onset of menstruation, when a new goddess will be named. Then Priti will be left to adjust to a life that — suddenly and absolutely — is supposed to be completely normal.

That is how it has been for nearly four centuries, in a tradition that held out against modernity even as Nepal, ever so slowly, began to change.

But modernity is coming, even to the goddess.

“We know there needs to be change,” said Manju Shree Ratna Bajracharya, the eighth generation of priest from his family to oversee the temple of the royal kumari — or virgin — as the goddess is commonly called.

“But this criticism of the tradition,
this is pure ignorance.”

Read the full article HERE
© mamimagazine.com


If you choose to write Japanese haiku, it is your decision to do so.
If you choose to wear a Japanese kimono, it is your decision to do so.

But it is part of a tradition and culture which might not be your own and you may not know too much about the real background of this tradition and culture you are trying to copy and use. You might not even be able to read Japanese and have to rely on translations and secondhand information when trying to understand what JAPANESE HAIKU is.

While wearing this unfamiliar Japanese kimono in the subway of your own culture, you might feel it uncomfortabel and want to make it suit YOUR needs. So you cut off the long sleeves and then throw away the many belts, using just a leather bucklebelt maybe ... and the long skirts have to go, make this into a pair of short pants, after all, yours is a hot country ...

When you walk the streets like the emperor with "YOUR NEW KIMONO", well, it might be adjusted to the needs of your living sourroundings, but what is it now ...

well, maybe just another bubble of the worldwide Haiku Gum...

to be chewed with a grain of smiling salt !


On second thought, you might try
a light cotton robe, yukata 浴衣 (ゆかた) !
The yukata is frequently worn after bathing at traditional Japanese inns. Though their use is not limited to after-bath wear, yukata literally means "bath clothes".

The Emperor's New Clothes

. Kanjak Ashtami Puja - India .

My Haiku Theory Archives



Anonymous said...



Great article. Thanks for sharing it with us.
I like your comparison with haiku and kimonos!

p. USA

Anonymous said...

How true about the poor kimono ...

Thank you gabi san


Anonymous said...

ah, a provocative cautionary piece you’ve assembled here, Gabi.

So, I will continue to admire the kimono and cultivate an appreciation of it, but also continue to leave the wearing of kimono to the traditional Japanese people.

Best to ‘cut one’s coat to suit one’s cloth’, as far as the derivation of Japanese haiku currently known as ‘haiku in English’ is concerned.

Anonymous said...

英語 ハイク 


Anonymous said...

Das ist ja wirklich interessant!


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