With the monsoon showers in full swing, it is imperative to note how we humans find ways to celebrate even the slightest variation that surrounds us. The four-day annual Ambubachi Mela began on Wednesday in the Kamakhya Temple here with several lakh pilgrims already arriving from different parts of the country. Here are some facts you need to know about this festival:
1. The Ambubasi festival is held annually during the monsoon in the Kamakhya Devi Temple in Guwahati, Assam.This is a time when the river Brahmaputra may be called ‘mighty’ in the actual sense.
2. The celebration is said to acknowledge the yearly menstruation course of the Goddess Kamakhya, or celebration of feminity in the real sense of the term.
3. The occasion is also named as Ameti or the Tantric fertility festival mainly due to its close association with the Tanaatric powers mostly prevalent in eastern parts of the Indian sub-continent.
4. During this period, the Goddess is considered to be extremely powerful, thereby cleansing and revitalizing the entire Earth, which in practice is Her body itself. On the 4th day, the deity is bathed to reclaim limpidness and various rituals are performed.
5. The main attraction for the devotees is the unique “Prasad” or the offering to the deities that comprises of small bits of red coloured cloth supposedly moist with the menstrual fluid of Goddess Kamakhya. The Prasad is considered highly auspicious and thought to attract good luck and charm.
However, being part of the glorious spirit of Ambubachi Mela is one thing while celebrating its spirit is another. To celebrate means to acknowledge, observe and honour the significance of the celebrating entity. We may as well worship feminism but how often do we honour and acknowledge a female in her truest form, is still a question left unattended and unanswered. Need we speak more of the status of the second half of the population in our Nation? A Nation that worships the female deity but condemns living women? A Nation where a menstruating deity is considered powerful while a menstruating woman is considered an untouchable?
Our only wish this Ambubachi festival will be this that may the all powerful Goddess Kamakhya Devi enlighten our fellow statesmen to not only worship an idol but to honour her replication, or, in the truest sense of the term, ‘A Woman’.
By Shweta Raj Kanwar
(The views reflected in this piece are that of the author and need not necessarily be that of TNT-The Northeast Today)