KATHMANDU, June 29: The farmers are celebrating Asar 15, also popularly known as the festival of ropain or dhan diwas across the hilly and terai regions of Nepal today.
This day carries a unique and national significance among the farmers of Nepal, a country where the principle economy is chiefly based on agriculture, as the day marks the beginning of ropain (rice plantation). The month Asar is a favorable month for paddy cultivation due to the rainy season. The government has also officially endorsed the tradition to celebrate Asar 15 as National Dhan Diwas (National Rice Plantation Day).
And the good news is that the monsoon this year arrived in Nepal in time after nine years. The farmers are expecting that the timely arrival of monsoon will yield more crops this year.
According to Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD), this year the monsoon entered Nepal from the eastern part through the Bay of Bengal and formally arrived on June 8, two days earlier than the normal onset. In the earlier years, the monsoon had arrived days later than the normal arrival date. The MFD data shows that monsoon entered the country on June 12 last year. Similarly, in 2016 it entered the country on June 15, in 2015 on June 13. Likewise, Monsoon arrived on June 20 in 2014, on June 14 in 2013, on June 16 in 2012, on June 15 in 2011, on June 17 in 2010 and on June 23 in 2009. The country had seen the normal arrival of monsoon in 2008.
Like every year for centuries, farmers are marking Asar 15 (today) by planting paddy. Men and women gather at their field and plough the field. They have fun throwing mud and water to each other, plant paddy and eat cheura (beaten rice) with yoghurt. This is why this day is also popularly known as dahi cheura khani din. People living in the urban areas, whose occupation is not based on farming, also mark this day by eating dahi cheura.
Another major attraction of the day is the tradition of singing Asare songs. Farmers add to their monsoon joy singing Asara jhyaure songs while planting paddy.
Photos: Mukunda Kalikote