Seasons of Nepal: Winter Shishir Ritu (शिशिर ऋतु) – Shree Swasthani Brata

Swasthani Barta Katha - Buy Swasthani Book in USA at

Swasthani mata is a Hindu goddess, known for the good fortune of king Navaraj and queen Chandravati. Swasthani Barta Katha, which translates to a dedication story to Swasthani mata, is a mythical story narrated by lord Kumar, the elder son of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati, to Saint Agasthya Muni.
The Barta lasts for a month and devotees dedicate the month to fasting, reading and daily discipline of devotion to Lord Shiva and Swasthani mata. The occasion starts on the full moon day of Paush (Nepali Calendar month) and ends on the next full moon day of Magha. This is an important religious occasion for Hindus in Nepal when families gather around to listen to their elderly recite one chapter a day about the Swasthani goddess. The story has many directives on dos and don’ts to help devotes with the month-long fast. Many women fast during the month to show their devotion to Swasthani and to pray for their family’s well-being. Those who fast for a month cannot eat food cooked by others. They can only eat rice, beaten rice, sugar, ghee, sugar candy, molasses, and peas.

The scripture also has a chapter that tells about the start of observing fast which brought in prosperity and happiness and mentions about Sali Nadi (River Sali). Therefore, Sali Nadi has an important role and place during this month. Sali Nadi is in Sakhu on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Every day, early in the morning, women gather around a bonfire during the chilly winter of Kathmandu. Hindus believe taking a holy dip in the river cleanses one from their sins and ailments. During the month, you can find priests around the Sali Nadi reciting holy Swasthani books along with vendors selling pooja samagris (essentials for praying) to devotees.

Hindus believe that goddess Swasthani helped goddess Sati overcome her troubles after she burned herself at Dakhsya Prajapati’s Yagya, when they insulted her husband, lord Shiva. During the Swasthani Barta, married Hindu women observe the fasting for the wellbeing of their husbands, and unmarried women observe the Brata hoping to get a suitable husband in the future. Women wear red colored clothes and bangles during the one-month, as they believe red as the sign of good luck.

Besides Barta, there are many holy places those are important to visit during the month to pray. People fast and pay a visit to Pashupatinath, Farphing, Panauti, and Chagu Narayan during the month. Swasthani book mentions these holy sites and has an important place for the followers. It is said that women who keep their fast, please Swasthani mata who then grants bardan (wishes) for their devotion.

The book was originally written in Newari script and now you can find the books translated in Nepali in USA at foomantra. In the book, Lord Kumar (eldest son of Lord Shiva) narrates the story to Saint Agastya Muni. There are 31 chapters in the book for 31 days of the month. Many of us are very familiar with the beginning of the book “Kumarji agya garnu huncha, hey Agasta muni …”. The katha (story) is an important telling of Hindu goddess Swasthani mata. The book is mainly about ignorant people who offend gods and Swasthani mata helped them wash off the sins by doing the Swasthani Barta. There is also a story of goddess Parvati who performs Swasthani Barta hoping to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Parvati’s story is the focus of the first few chapters of the Swasthani Barta.

On the last day of the barta, devotees offer 108 pieces of each items such as janai dhago (holy cotton threads), traditional bateko dhoop, supari (betel nuts), fruits, selroti (nepali fried rice flour donuts), sindoor (traditional red vermilion) and money is offered to Swasthani Mata. As instructed in the book, women take 8 pieces to be given to the husband, or son, or friend of a son. If devotees don’t have none of them, they release the 8 offerings in the Sali Nadi.

Rich culture and traditions like Swasthani Barta Katha are one of many which make Nepali culture unique. These traditions also create a need for Nepali people who migrates to foreign countries a desire to be close to Nepali cultures. was formed to help people who miss Nepal and want to bring Nepal closer to their second home in USA. Our goal also is to spread these beautiful arts & crafts and fascinating stories amongst communities outside Nepali who appreciate them and would like to purchase authentic products locally.

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