We who live on this side of the world particularly India and Nepal put great importance on astrology. It’s like what eastern medicine is for Chinese. Something that has an impact on people’s everyday life. The impact may be of varying degree on different individuals but few can deny it’s existence. Even for someone like my family who is supposed to follow kirati religion is influenced by astrology. But in all fairness we haven’t given up on hinduism esp. my generation who knows more about hindu religion which I think we got into in the first place as it was our nation’s religion a long time ago (nepal being a hindu kingdom in those time and all). But by the time our country became secular and my dad was insisting we write our religion as kirati for the census, data collecting process as we are kirati, it was already too late. I remember protesting vehemently, asking him how we were supposed to be kirati when we knew nothing about kirati and loved celebrating the great hindu festivals. I was very young at that time and he was silenced (there’s a joke somewhere here). Eventually my parents started losing enthusiasm for hindu festivals or maybe it was those times when the baton was passed on to me to do all the preparations for those celebrations on holidays. I cannot tell. It’s all very confusing. It’s like we follow two religions. You know the information on one is very little. But we do what we know and what we can… And we also do a little bit of hindu thing.
With regards to birth, marriage, death… Limbus are not influenced by hinduism at all. I mean at all. The rites are different from Hindu rites. I have compared notes with my actual Hindu friends and there’s very little similarity if at all. But still I think of myself as Hindu also. This is not an uncommon thing in my country I guess. Some of my friends say they are Buddhists but they do both things, Hinduism and Buddhism. This is how my country rolls, one can have more than one religion at a time.
As I was saying, my family follows atleast some Hindu traditions. We celebrate the great hindu festivals… There’s no way out… Even if the elders wanted to give up on it, we the younger ones of the family will not allow it. It’s what we’ve grown on. And besides it’s too much fun.
Back to astrology, when a child is born, the exact date, day & time of his birth is noted and a cheena (kundali in hindi) is made. It is made by a hindu priest, some writing on a paper with diagrams. And the chartering of the planets begin, saturn, neptune, mars, the sun, the moon, the zodiac signs and what not. The priests are usually the ones who decipher the codes and tell about the person’s past and future just by looking at the cheena. He will tell all about the person’s important milestones, when he should get married, whom or what type of person he should get married to, at what age to do certain things like marriage, buying properties, go abroad and all that, even going as far as to suggest what faculties someone should pursue in study or what job one should go for…Is it too much??? Not yet, it’s also imperative that two people’s cheenas should match for their marriage to suceed. Or who knows what disaster may befall and things like that. How do I know all this? Because of my mom. She is a firm believer and does this stuff from time to time. She and my aunties swear how something predicted has come true to the minutest detail which is amazing. I mean the stories… And other times point out how things the priests said didn’t come true. So, I am half and half on this. (yes even being a science student).
Superstitions- Nepalese have lots of superstitions like they believe cats especially black cats crossing your path bring bad luck, breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck. Looking into a mirror at night, cutting nails at night or even combing your hair at night are all bad. You are always supposed to flip back an overturned footwear, always or the owner of the footwear will fall. And then the saturdays, you cannot leave your home and set off on a journey on a Saturday or the first of a Nepali month. That’s bad, bad. And many more…