With the arrival of Asar (June/ July), the cloudy-grey sky and greenery surrounding the hills and plains of the Himalayan Kingdom and the realm at its apex in rice plantation is overwhelming. Nepal is an agricultural country and Asar holds the utmost importance for every Nepali as it is the time when farmers plant new seedlings of rice crops in their paddies with the hope of growing quintals of rice by planting kilos.
Depending on the weather, the rice plantation generally begins from the first week of Asar and is considered as a feast or celebration rather than work. Singing Ashare jhyaure geet (monsoon song), splashing each other with muddy water and relishing dahichiura (curd and beaten rice) farmers plant rice with joy and merriment.
The advancement of new farming technology has changed the methods of cultivating rice; it has become easier and faster. The tractor has replaced Kodali (a tool to dig field), water pump has substituted kulos (man-made canal) and the use of insecticides and pesticides and high quality seeds and seedling have helped farmers to get more harvest. This mechanization of rice plantation has been a boon for the farmer and if nature permits the monsoon’s heavy rain brings smiles to the farmers.
Asar has become the month of celebrating rice plantation and this celebration has pulled both foreigners and domestic tourists to be part of the feast. It’s a splash of muddy water and music that bring smiles and happiness to enjoy Asar as a cultural heritage and tradition passed on with glorious legacy.
“I planted crops along with local farmers and enjoyed every minute of the plantation,” says Alan Smith, a visitor from USA.
“The melodious folk song, the muddy water and the greenery of the atmosphere fascinated me. I also ate potato pickle, beaten rice and yogurt in the leaf of Sarbada (a kind of flower),” added Smith.
Like him, every year hundreds of foreigners and travelers from all over the world join this festivals in a muddy field of Khokana, Kritipur and Bhaktapur to relish their quest of culture and tradition. From the past few years the festival of rice plantation has been attracting foreigners and domestic tourists alike, in large numbers, and every year hundreds of visitors enjoy the plantation along with the local farmers.
Asar 15 is the busiest day for farmers. The day is marked as the climax of rice plantation and is celebrated as Ropain festival by eating curd and beaten rice with a belief of curing all kinds of sickness.