The Newars are very much rich in traditional, classical and folk music as in dances. Various music and dance events take place in different parts of Newar societies on the occasion of different festivals. In fact, the Newars are so duly intermixed with music and dances that not a single festival, feast or ceremony, 'from womb to tomb', passes without a music or music and dances.
Various songs, musical instruments and dances are connected with various religious, social and cultural life of the Newars Different musical instruments are in practice in the festival, feasts, ceremonies and also in funeral procession. Musical instrumentsIt is believed that there are about 200 (two hundred) types of original musical instruments in Nepal, and 108(one hundred eight types) of musical instruments have been found till now. A great number of Newar musical instruments are included init. These instruments can be classified into four classes according to Sangeet Shastra.
Membranophones - Dhimay, Dhah, Paschima, NayaKhin etc. Idiophones - Bhusyah, Chhusyah, TainNain etc. Chordophones - Piwancha Aerophones - Muhali, Nekoo, Bansuri etc.
Mostly used musical instruments in Newar societies are membranophones, which are generally accompanied with idiophones and aerophones.
Devi DanceThe Newars are very much rich in traditional, classical and folk music as in dances. Various music and dance events take place in different parts of Newar societies on the occasion of different festivals. In fact, the Newars are so duly intermixed with music and dances that not a single festival, feast or ceremony, 'from womb to tomb', passes without a music or music and dances.
There are many mask dances, folk dances and classical dances the newars perform. A number of mask dances are also performed once in every twelve years. In general, these all types of dances can be classified into three categories
Masked Dances - Mahakali Dance, Bhairab Dance, Sikali Dance, Various Gan Pyakhan etc. Folk Dances - Jyapu Dance, Ghintanmuni etc. Charya Dances - ManjuShree, Arjya Tara, Sodasa Lasya etc.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
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The Newa (Nepal Bhasa:नेवाः Newa or Newah, Old Nepal Bhasa: नेवार Newar, नेवाल Newal) are the indigenous people of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. Newars are a linguistic community with Tibeto-Burman ethnicity/race and faith, bound together by a common language. The term Newar applies roughly to the descendants of citizens of Medieval Nepal (consisting of Kathmandu valley as the capital and the territory ever changing with farest extent being Gandaki river to west and Koshi river to the east, Tibet to north and Terai in south). Their common language being Nepal Bhasa ("Newari" according to Statistics Nepal) or the languages progenitor of Nepal Bhasa. According to Nepal's 2001 census, the 1,245,232 Newar in the country are the nation's sixth largest ethnic group, representing 5.48% of the population . Nepal Bhasa is of Tibeto-Burman origin (but heavily influenced by Indo-Aryan languages like Sanskrit, Pali, Bengali and Maithili). Nepal Bhasa also contains Austro-Asiatic words and phrases. In 2001 the language is spoken by 825,458 Nepalese as their mother tongue.
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The different divisions of Newars had different historical developments before their arrival in the Kathmandu valley. The common identity of Newar was formed after their arrival to the valley. Until the unification of Nepal, with the possible exception of the Muslims under Gayasuddin who attacked and destroyed many parts of the valley, all people who had inhabited the valley at any point of time were either Newar or were progenitors of Newar. So, the history of Newar correlates to a great magnitude to the history of Kathmandu valley prior to the Unification of Nepal.
Main article: Newar BuddhismNewar practice both Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the 2001 Nepal Census, 84.13% of Newars were Hindus and 15.31% were Buddhists.
Out of the three main cities of Kathmandu valley which are historically Newar, Patan is mostly Buddhist containing the four stupas built by Ashoka, Bhaktapur is primarily Hindu whereas Kathmandu is mixed.
Main article: Newa CasteThe Newar are divided into hierarchical clan groups by occupational caste, readily identified by surnames. In the past, the upper caste people used to look down upon the lower caste. Such a division of people created a rift in the society which has rendered the mention of caste as a taboo.Such as Shahi, Shakya, Maharjan, Bajracharya, Manandhar, Dongol, Singh, Shrestha, Napit etc.
The Newar Music consists mainly of percussion instruments. Wind instruments such as flutes and similar instruments are also used. String instruments are very rare. There are songs pertaining to particular seasons and festivals. Paahan chare music is most probably the fastest played music whereas the Dapa the slowest. The dhimay music are the loudest ones. There are certain musical instruments such as Dhimay and Bhusya which are played as instrumental only and are not accompanied with songs.more on
Main article: Newa Art
Traditional Newar Art is used in rituals and festivals. The prevalent art forms are Paubas (water based gouche paintings on cloth), sculpture (lost wax process bronzes, terracotta, wood and stone), masks (metal and paper-mache), woodcuts and murals. The Chitrakar and Vajracharyas are the traditional painters and the Shakyas are the sculptors. Along with being traditional painters, the Chitrakars are also mask makers (paper-mache), woodcut printers and mural painters.
Main article: Newa DanceThe Newar Dance can be broadly classified as masked dance and dance without the use of masks. The most representative of Newari dance is Lakhey dance. Almost all the settlements of Newar have Lakhey dance at least once a year. Almost all of these Lakhey dances are held in the Goonlaa month. So, they are called Goonlaa Lakhey. However, the most famous Lakhey dance is the Majipa Lakhey dance. It is performed by the Ranjitkars of Kathmandu. The dance takes place for a week during the week containing the full moon of Yenlaa month. The Lakhey are considered as the saviors of children.
Main article: Newa Cuisine
Red Typical Newari Choila, spicy and hotThe Newar Cuisine is a unique type of cuisine. Mustard oil and a host of spices, such as cumin, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi, bayleaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chili, mustard seeds, vinegar, etc. are used in cooking. The cuisine served in the festivals is considered as the best diet cuisine. The grilled meat over the flames of dried wheat plants makes a delicious and spicy typical newari food called Choila. In various occasions people from this tribe cook varieties of food depending on the climate and occasions. Newars use Beaten Rice in various occasions. A typical newari thali consists of the beaten rice, choila, different beans, stuffed potatoes, spinach, Bara, bitter soups and typically two kinds of liquor. Chyang and Aila are the common liquors that newars make at home.
Main article: Newa architectureNewar architecture consists of Pagoda style, Stupa style, Shikhara style, Chaitya style and others.
Red patches in map represents significant Newar settlement in NepalTraditionally, the Newars are an urban people with farmlands and farmhouses located on the outskirts of the cities and towns. Although it is widely believed that Newars are native of Kathmandu valley only, there are significant historic Newar settlements outside the valley where Newars still have a large population. Some of these are in Kabhre district (Banepa, Panauti, Dhulikhel etc), Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk (the Pahari population), in Tatopani (on traditional trade route to Tibet), Chitlang, Tistung etc. Some of the Newar businessmen were settled in Gorkha (called Gorkhali) by the kings of Gorkha to improve the economy of Gorkha. Many Newars used to trade with Tibet and used to have permanent shops in Tibetan market. After the unificition of Nepal, Newars have moved to Palpa, Bandipur, Pokhara, Biratnagar, Hetaunda, Birgunj, Nepalgunj, Bhojpur, Ramechhap, Baglung, and other new settlements.
In India, places of Sikkim and West Bengal like Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Gangtok etc have sizable Newar population. Some of the Newars are also settled in Bhutan.
Festivals and rituals
Janmaadya chariotNewar culture is very rich in pageantry and ritual throughout the year. Many festivals are tied to Hindu holidays, Buddha's birth and the harvest cycle. The important Newar festivals are "Mha Puja" , celebrated in the occasion of the New year as per local calendar (Nepal Sambat), Bisket Jatra celebrated on the first of Baisakh and many more. One of the important festival celebrated by Newar people is Gunhu Punhi. During this nine-day festival, Newar men and women drink a bowl of sprouted mixed cereals and offer food to frogs in the farmers' fields. On the second day, Sā Pāru (Gai Jatra), people who have lost a family member in the past year dress up as cows or anything comical and parade through town, a ritual carried by a king to show his queen that not only his son died but other people die too. The last day of Gunhu Punhi is Krishnastami, birthday of lord Krishna, an incarnation of lord Vishnu.
Yanyā Punhi (Indra Jatra) is a holiday related to Hindu god king of heaven, Indra. The festival begins with the carnival-like erection of Yosin, a ceremonial pole, accompanied by the rare display of the deity Aakash Bhairab, represented by a massive mask spouting beer and liquor. Households throughout Kathmandu display images and sculptures of Indra and Bhairab only at this time of year. Finally, the Kumari, or virgin goddess (living goddess), leaves the seclusion of her temple in a palanquin and leads a procession through the streets of Kathmandu to thank Indra the rain god. And there is an occasion in Tihar where people worship themselves know as Mha Puja(self-worship)in which people eat good food and wear good clothes, this day is also the newari new year or Nepal Sambhat in which a rally takes place where people go around town in motorcycles, busses and huge celebration. It is another emerging rituals that even young people take it deep.
Afterwards, the full complement of life cycle rituals will have been completed, until the death ceremony.