Dashain – the biggest festival in Nepal is starting on September 21, 2017. The first day of the festival is called Ghatasthapana. On the day a Ghada (water pot) is set and worshipped as the Goddess of strength, Durga. That is how the goddess is invited in home for the festival.
A yellowish plant shoots that sprout from grains like barley is used during Dashain Tika is planted on Ghatasthapana day. Some people also use maize if barley is not readily available. Others use a mix of various grains such as maize, barley, rice, wheat etc. as the seed for jamara. The plant germinates and grows in the 9 days period ready to be used on Dashain Tika. There is a procedure to plant it and worship everyday.
On Ghatasthapana day, clean sand is brought to plant the seeds for jamara. The sand is usually placed on a plate prepared from leaves. The plate is placed on a specially prepared room, or area that is mostly dark. The lack of sunlight makes the sprout yellowish.
According to Hindu mythology, the goddess Durga likes Jamara. For that reason, people wear Jamara with tika on the Dashain Tika.
Starting on Ghatasthapana, Dashain is celebrated for 15 days. The most important day is the 10th day, the Dashain Tika. People start the Tika festival on the 10th and it ends on the 15th day.
In the attached photo different types of Jamara can be seen. The greener one on the top right had received more sunlight and has turned into greener in colour. The one on the left was kept in a very dark place and didn’t receive much sunlight. The one in the bottom photo has received a little sunlight. Hence, the colour of jamara can be designed according to one’s liking by the amount of sunlight that is allowed while it grows.
Apart from having ornamental value, there are mentions of Jamara in Ayurveda. The plant sprout is believed to have medicinal value in the ancient medical science.