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Scattering on Water

Nepal: Scattering cremation ashes 13 day ceremony

Nepal: Scattering Cremation Ashes in a 13-Day Ceremony

The Nepali Congress has made the decision to scatter the ashes of their former Prime Minister, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, across all thirteen districts of Nepal in a ritual lasting thirteen days. This act is part of a profound ceremonial practice.

Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, a devout Hindu and Nepal’s first Prime Minister, passed away at the age of 87 due to multiple organ failure. His death marked the end of an era for many Nepalese, given his significant role in the country’s political history.

In Nepal, the scattering of ashes holds immense cultural and religious importance, particularly within Hindu funeral rites. The ritual signifies the return of the deceased’s physical elements to the earth and the liberation of the soul from the physical body. It is a symbolic gesture that honours the deceased and ensures their journey to the afterlife according to Hindu beliefs.

The ashes were scattered over water, which is a common practice in many Hindu traditions. Water, especially rivers, is considered sacred in Hinduism. The Ganges River, for example, is a favoured site for scattering ashes due to its religious significance. In Nepal, rivers like the Bagmati hold similar sacred status and are often used for such ceremonies.

To provide some context, Nepal is predominantly Hindu, with approximately 80% of its population adhering to the faith. Buddhism, which accounts for around 10% of the population, also has significant influence in the country, often intertwining with Hindu practices. The two religions share many similarities, including the reverence for sacred rivers and the rituals surrounding death and the afterlife.

This ritual of scattering ashes across multiple districts highlights the cultural importance of ensuring the deceased’s connection with different parts of their homeland. It also serves as a way for the living to pay homage to their leaders and ancestors, ensuring that their legacy continues to be honoured and remembered.

Such practices are deeply rooted in Nepalese culture and reflect the country’s rich tapestry of religious traditions. The act of scattering ashes not only fulfils religious duties but also strengthens the communal bonds by collectively mourning and celebrating the lives of those who have passed.


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