Janakpurdham, Nov. 20: The Sama-Chakhewa festival which depicts eternal love between brothers and sisters commenced on Saturday. It is one of the popular festivals celebrated in the eastern Tarai of Nepal.
The festival is celebrated from Kartik Sukla Panchami (a day prior to Chhath) to the full moon day of Kartik. During the festival, women sing various folklores and light up traditional oil-fed lamps across the streets every evening.
They also prepare various clay idols like sama, chakhewa, chugala and bamboo structures like changera and daliya.
Some major folk songs performed during Sama-Chakhewa are ‘Sama Khele Chalali Sakhi Sang Saheli Ho’, ‘Sham Chake Sham Chake Aaiho He Jotla Khet Ma Baisho Hai’ and ‘Chugala Kare Chugalpan Bilaiya Kare Meow’.
While singing these songs, people burn beards and moustaches placed in the Chugala statue and women act like beating the statue every evening.
Although the charm of Sama-Chakhewa is disappearing from the market areas of the Tarai region, its prevalence still exists in the rural areas.
Munni Singh, who has come to her mother’s house in Janakpurdham to celebrate Sama-Chakhewa, said that women gather across junctions, public spaces and temples carrying clay idols and oil lamps in bamboo baskets and sing a chorus in Maithili language and dance through the festivity for their brothers.
Kanchan Karn, a local in Janakpurdham-4, said that the local songs sung during the Sama had preserved the Mithila language, culture and traditions.
Kapari Bhramar, president of Madhes Pragya Pratisthan, said that there was a belief that the festival mainly acknowledges the eternal love, dedication, sacrifice, and respect between brothers and sisters.
The festival prevalent since the Dwapar Yuga, is not only celebrated in Mithila but is also enthusiastically observed in other regions of Aryavarta, especially among the Tharu community in the eastern Tarai.