Each culture is a world apart. A universe of beliefs and traditions that can be surprising for anyone who does not live among them. For the children of Western culture, the traditions of Arab countries or Hinduism are often seen as strange. And although many of them are recognized and admired for their exoticism, others border on affecting the quality of life and the human rights of those who star in them. Today in Supercurioso we want to travel to Nepal, to present you the peculiar history of the Kumari Nepal. These are little girls who are anointed as deities, but who in return must confine themselves to solitude and a life full of rules, which have little to do with the innocence of childhood. Join us to learn the story of the Kumari girls.
Who are the Kumari girls?
The curiosities of Nepal draw us a region full of traditions and exoticism. But many of its cultural manifestations border on and even cross the limits of human rights and respect for individual will. This is the case of the Teej Festival, for example, in which women refrain from eating and drinking, and dedicate themselves to praying for the welfare of their husbands.
And it is that curiously, many of the traditions have women as protagonists (and affected). The Kumari Nepal are a clear example of this. To get an idea of the situation, the first thing would be to clarify: What is it like to be Kumari girls?
A Kumari is a kind of “temporary reincarnation” of a Hindu goddess in the body of a mortal. It is about Goddess Taleju, a Nepali version of Goddess Durga. SAccording to legend, King Jayaprakash Malla, after a red snake entered his bedroom, began to have impure thoughts towards the goddess Taleju, who upon realizing it punished him by no longer showing himself as a woman, but as a girl and This is why since then the spirit of this goddess has been hidden among the girls.
How do you know that a girl is a Kumari Nepal?
To distinguish a Kumari Nepal girl, Hinduists have a whole list of distinctive signs that the little girl must have. The first would be to come from the Shakia caste, the same to which Buddha belonged. EITHEROther signs would be having a conch-shaped neck, deer thighs, lion chest, banyan body and golden complexion, among others. But don’t think that as soon as a girl is born they are already checking her to see if she meets the requirements! It is said that when a mother dreams of a red snake, it is a warning that the Goddess Taleju has chosen the body of her daughter.
It is from here when families can present their daughter to the judges to determine if the girl has the 32 Kumari purity signs. Then it will be her turn to pass the test of courage, which consists of remaining locked in a dark room all night, where she will watch over dead cows wearing demon masks. A terrifying test that if passed, will be compensated with the honor of embodying the goddess Taleju until her first menstruation appears.
Usually, Kumari girls should have a pure, immaculate soul, body and heart. Other requirements for a little girl to be considered a reincarnation of the goddess is that she have perfect teeth and a perfect medical history. Also her eyes and hair must be very dark. The Kumari girls of Kathmandu must also have a zodiac sign similar to that of the President of the Republic. This is said to help ensure the good fortune of the country.
How do Kumari girls live?
The Kumari girls’ way of life is quite peculiar. Although for them and their families it is an honor, for Western culture it is a rather cruel tradition, in which the little girl is completely isolated, unable to lead a normal life. After the Kumari Nepal is recognized as such, she is cut off from the world, isolated in a room from which she will not come out. Not to go to school, not to play with his friends. In addition, she will be forced to dress in the clothing of the Goddess, wear makeup, appear before her faithful to be worshiped at festivals dedicated in her honor, to give a blessing, among other rituals that are imposed on her as a duty.
Each town has its own Kumari Nepal, and It is the families that bear all the expenses of maintaining a goddess. That is why the lawyer Pundevi Maharjan took the case to the Supreme Court, which was dismissed for not involving a real job. It must be said that in the meantime, it has been possible for the Kumari to receive three teaching hours a week and to receive a small pension.
What happens when the Kumari grow up?
The whole way of life of the Kumari girls, the living goddesses, is quite amazing. But even more complex is what happens when they cease to be. The reign of the Kumari is quite short, just a few years. They are chosen on average at the age of five, and remain goddesses until their first menstruation arrives. What popular belief says about it is that the bleeding wound that occurs in the girl’s body desacralizes her.
Then, at that moment, the goddess Taleju leaves the girl’s body, and begins the search for another virgin girl. It is at that moment that the truly difficult things begin for the Kumari girls. After a whole childhood and the beginning of an adolescence lived as goddesses, isolated from the world, now they are forced to insert themselves into a normality that is completely unknown to them.
The young woman must learn to walk the streets, to go to school, to make friends, all from scratch. For many it is a very difficult moment, because while for years they were worshiped as goddesses, now no one recognizes them in any sense. Despite this, the majority defend that the ancestral tradition must continue, since it is part of the spiritual and cultural identity of Nepal.
And you, Did you know about the existence of the Kumari Nepal? What do you imagine it would be like to live as one of the Kumari girls? Go ahead and leave us all your opinions in a comment. We will be happy to read you!