Rishi panchami in New Zealand
Resettled Bhutanese women in New Zealand observed Rish Panchami offering rituals to five legendary saints – not teej as in other countries.
In a distant land, availability of Datiun – a special kind of plant used for taking bath on this occasion – added charm to the rituals and festival.
Hari Priya Luitel from Beldangi II, resettled to Palmerton NZ in February this year, had carried Datiun along with her from Nepal.
However, public bathing in river was a constraint for these women, who were forced to choose their bathrooms.
Luitel looked excited to carry on the tradition across the seas and expressed hope that the festival would be livelier next year when more Bhutanese Hindu women join them.
Priest was not a problem – Ghanashyam Kafley performed the duty perfectly. Fetching wide leaves from nearby trees for tapari was a little fun and interesting for these dozen women.