Gathemangal

The Gathemangal festival is held in remembrance of the death of the legendary devil Ghantakarna. This festival which falls on the Shrawan month (July / August) trayodashi (third day) is also named Ghantakarna Chaturdasi. There is a belief in Nepal that there was a demon called Ghantakarna, a mythical demon causing chaos among the people. It is said that this festival is observed in order to remember Ghantakarna’s demise. According to myth, the villagers were terrorized by a demon called Ghantakarna by taking the villager’s children and women. He used to demand money and presents from the farmers and villagers. His body was dressed in purple, blue and black and on his head, he used to wear a pair of rings. He looked very terrifying and the bells jingled every time he moved. He got his name at his ears from the rings, i.e. Ghanta means bell and Karna means mouth. Like most Nepali festivals, the Gathemangal or Ghantakarna Chaturdasi festival is an example of the victory of good over evil.

Demon dummies are erected at the crossroads of streets. At such intersections, people place pots of cooked rice for him. A man wearing black and blue paint goes around begging for money. The dummy is dragged at the end of the day to the nearby bank of the river for disposal with the painted man sitting at the side. 

People wear metal rings on this day also called “gathemangal ko aunthi”. It is believed that this Ring has the power to protect people from all ills and evil spirits. On this day, the locals hammer three-legged nails onto the door lintels before nightfall to scare off the ghosts. There are various legends and myths attached to both revered and feared Ghanta Karna devil.

 

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