Yomari Punhi, also known as Yomari Poornima or Dhanya Poornima, is a cherished festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and cultural pride across Nepal, particularly by the Newa community. Observed annually on the full moon day of December, this festival heralds the advent of winter and marks the end of the harvest season. Rich in tradition and history, Yomari Punhi is believed to have originated over 400 years ago, deeply rooting itself in the cultural fabric of the Newar people.
The festival is synonymous with the preparation and consumption of a unique and delectable sweet dish called Yomari. This traditional delicacy, central to the celebration, is made from rice flour dough, which is shaped into a figure resembling a fish and filled with a sweet mixture of jaggery and sesame seeds. The process of making Yomari is not only a culinary practice but also a communal activity, bringing families and neighbors together, symbolizing unity and the sharing of joy.
Yomari Punhi is not just a celebration of the harvest but also a time for expressing gratitude to the gods for a successful harvest. It is a day when people pay homage to Annapurna, the Goddess of Grains, for the bounty of food. The festival is a beautiful blend of gastronomy, religion, and social customs, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Newar community.
Furthermore, Yomari Punhi coincides with another significant celebration known as Jyapu Day. This day is dedicated to honoring the Jyapu (farmer) community within the Newar culture. Jyapu Day is a tribute to the hard work and contribution of farmers and their indispensable role in sustaining the agrarian lifestyle that is so integral to Nepalese society.
The festival's vibrancy is captured in the photographs taken by Post's photojournalist Sanjog Manandhar, showcasing the joyous spirit and colorful traditions that mark this auspicious day. The images depict scenes of communal harmony, culinary art, and cultural festivities, offering a glimpse into the heart of this important Nepalese festival.
In essence, Yomari Punhi is a celebration that encapsulates the essence of gratitude, community, and cultural richness. It is a time for feasting, rejoicing, and paying respects to the deities and ancestors, strengthening community bonds, and preserving the cultural heritage of the Newa people.