Long live tradition


Traditionally, the average lifespan of a Nepali used to be 40-45. Child mortality rate was high, and very few people lived to a ripe old age.

Which meant that living long was a cause for celebration in the family, clan and community. People in Kathmandu Valley's Newa community celebrate 'Janko' or 'Buda Pasni' at milestones of 77, 82, 88, 99 and 105 years.

Look at it like a birthday, but is performed every decade or so after a person crosses 77. In case of couples, the Janko is performed according to the husband's age. For a single person, the date of birth and birth charts are consulted.

The first Janku known as Bhim Ratharohan is performed when a person is 77 years, 7 months and 7 days old. The grandchildren pull the chariots and the family tours the city and temple amidst much fanfare.

The second is Chandra Ratharohan performed at 82 years, 4 months and 4 days. Dev Ratharohan is the third Janko at 88 years, 8 months and 8 days. Divya Ratharohan at 99 years, 9 months and 9 days and the last one when a person reaches 105 years, 8 months and 8 days.

As people live longer, the processions in which elderly citizens are paraded around town have become more and more common. Photographs from a Jankothis week of Bishnu Bhakta Deupala and Jas Maya Deupala, who are celebrating 77 years, 7 months and 7 days.

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