Mother’s Day in Nepal: Celebrating Mata Tirtha Aunsi

Mother’s Day is a global celebration that honors mothers’ love, sacrifice, and immense contributions. However, the special day in Nepal is observed with even more reverence and affection, as Mothers play a special role in Nepali culture. With Mother’s Day in Nepal, known locally as “Mata Tirtha Aunsi” or Aama Ko Mukh Herne Din, daughters and sons pay homage to their mothers by visiting the famous Mata Tirtha pond on the outskirts of Kathmandu. 

In this blog, we will explore the significance of Mother’s Day in Nepal and delve into the unique traditions associated with Mata Tirtha Aunsi.

Significance of Nepali Mother’s Day (Mata Tirtha Aunsi):

Mata Tirtha Aunsi, or Nepali Mother’s Day, is rooted deeply historically and culturally in Nepal. It highlights the importance of maternal love and respect within Nepali society. Moreover, mothers are regarded as the epitome of selflessness, devotion, and strength, making this day an opportunity for sons and daughters to express gratitude and honor their mother’s significant role in their lives.

Mother’s Day in Nepal has also been called Aama Ko Mukh Herne Din for many Nepalis living away from home or abroad. Which directly translates to – the day to see your mother’s face. This shows how important it is to respect and celebrate one’s mother in Nepal. Whereas, no matter where you are, you should try to visit or see your mother’s face on an auspicious day in Nepal.

The Legend behind celebrating Mother’s Day in Nepal:

According to legend in Nepal, a young boy would take his cows to graze near a pond near his home after his mother’s death. While he would sit at the foot of the pond for lunch, a small portion of his food would fall into the water. However, one day when this happened, he peeked over the edge, and to his astonishment, he caught sight of his deceased mother.

Overwhelmed by the desire to bring his mother back home, the boy began to cry and pleaded for her to accompany him. Unfortunately, she explained that she couldn’t return home as she had already passed away.

However, she promised him that she would appear every year on the auspicious day of Baishak Krishna Aushi, the no-moon day of Baishak. The boy agreed to this arrangement and reluctantly departed. From that day forward, he would visit the pond annually, witnessing the presence of his mother. News of this extraordinary phenomenon spread, and people started visiting the pond on the same day to catch a glimpse of their departed mothers. 

When does the Celebration of Mata Tirtha Aunsi Take Place?

Mata Tirtha Aunsi is typically observed during the month of Baisakh (April/May) on the new moon day. Leading up to the day, there is an air of anticipation as families prepare to honor their mothers and deceased ancestors.

Many people around the Kathmandu Valley venture to Mata Tirtha Pond in Chandragiri Municipality to pay homage to their mothers and hope to see their ancestors’ reflections. However, different celebrations take place for others who live throughout the country and cannot visit the pond. Also, some choose to begin the day by paying homage to their mothers early in the morning, marking the start of the festivities.

For others, the celebration occurs in the evening, as they spend the morning preparing various traditional Nepali meals for a lavish feast, which they then serve to their mothers later in the day. In addition to the feast, various pujas and religious prayers will take place at the house, which wish for the long lives of their mothers. No matter the prayers, feasts, or other activities, the festival’s underlying essence remains consistent – the expression of love and respect for their mothers.

Mother’s Day in Nepal Dates:

The following are the dates Mother’s Day will be celebrated in Nepal:

  • 11 May 2022
  • 30 April 2023
  • 12 May 2024

To see the exact day of Aama Ko Mukh Herne Din (Nepali Mother’s Day) then check out my Nepali Calendar Blog.

Rituals and Traditions of Mother’s Day in Nepal:

One of the main rituals during Mother’s Day in Nepal is a pilgrimage to the sacred Mata Tirtha Temple in Kathmandu. Devotees gather to offer prayers and seek blessings for the well-being of their mothers at the famous temple in Nepal. The temple holds immense significance as it is believed to be a place where one could see their deceased mothers.

Additionally, many Nepali also visit a holy pond near the temple. People pay homage to their deceased mothers by performing rituals, offering prayers, and lighting butter lamps. It is said that one may see their deceased mothers in the pond’s reflection once they offer up their prayers.

Families typically gather to share stories and memories of their mothers, reflecting on the love, guidance, and support they provided. It is also common to pay respects to ancestors by visiting various temples in their locality and performing a special puja in front of photos of their ancestors.

Finally, exchanging gifts and gestures is integral to Mata Tirtha Aunsi. Traditional gifts such as flowers, sweets, and clothing are given to mothers as tokens of love and appreciation. It is a heartfelt way of expressing gratitude for their unconditional love and sacrifices in Nepal.

Modern Trends and Commercialization of Nepal’s Mother’s Day:

In recent years, the influence of globalization and commercialization has had an impact on the way Mata Tirtha Aunsi is celebrated. While traditional rituals and customs remain at the core, there has been a fusion of modern elements, with gifts becoming an integral part of Nepali Mother’s Day. In this regard, gifting options have expanded, incorporating electronics, cosmetics, and personalized presents.

That being said, the traditional rituals and prayers offered for generations are still an important part of the celebration. Many Nepalis still visit temples, cook traditional foods, and perform puja for their mothers. The traditions are an important aspect of religion in Nepal, and many families still prefer these acts while celebrating their mothers.

Famous Mother’s Day Sanskrit Mantra

Below is a famous Sanskrit mantra to praise one’s mother in Nepal. I have included the English translation below as well.

Mothers Day Mantra in Nepali:

स्नात्वा करोतिम य्: श्राद्धं माघो: कृष्णकुहौ दिने ।  

वियोग न भवेन्मातु: वार्धक्येऽपी सुनिश्चितंम ।

तृप्ता भवति तन्माता स्नानमात्रेण चात्र वै । 

ऋण: प्रमुच्यते सद्धो मातृगर्भस्थितोभ्दवै |

Mother’s Day Mantra in English:

One who takes a holy bath in Mata Tirtha River every Biskhak Krishna Aushi does not need to come into the mother’s womb again for the next life. The person gets salvation from human life and achieves moksha. 

Mata Tirtha Aunsi: Honoring Mothers on Mother’s Day in Nepal:

Mata Tirtha Aunsi, the Nepali Mother’s Day, is a special occasion that highlights Nepali society’s immeasurable love and respect for mothers. It is a time to reflect on the significance of maternal bonds, honor the memories of departed mothers, and express gratitude to the mothers who are still with us.

This sacred day falls during the month of Baisakh and is regarded as a bridge connecting the realms of Deva (the gods), Pitru Lok (the world of ancestors), and Prithvi Lok (the earthly realm) under a unified philosophy. It holds great significance as a time to remember, meet, and express affection towards one’s mother, as well as to perform acts of charity and offer alms in honor of departed mothers.

Mata Tirtha Aunsi is an ancient festival that reveres mothers and their immense contributions. It serves as a day to cherish the tireless efforts of mothers, a day dedicated to honoring and remembering them.

FAQs: Mother’s Day in Nepal: Celebrating Mata Tirtha Aunsi

Below are the most frequently asked questions regarding Mother’s Day in Nepal:

1. What is the history of Mother’s Day in Nepal?

The history of Mother’s Day in Nepal says that a shepherd, grieving the loss of his mother, sought solace at the revered Mata Tirtha pond. As he looked into the pond, he saw his mother’s reflection in the water. From that moment, that day became known as Mata Tirtha Aunsi or Nepali Mother’s Day.

2. Where is Mother’s Day in Nepal?

The Mata Tirtha pond, where Mother’s Day is in Nepal, is located on the outskirts of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, in Matatirtha, which is now part of Chandragiri Municipality. The Mata Tirtha Pond is significant as the focal point of the revered festival, Mata Tirtha Aunsi, and is celebrated in the Nepali month of Baisakh (April/May).

3. When is Mother’s Day celebrated in Nepal?

Mata Tirtha Aunsi is a special celebration dedicated to mothers, serving as the Nepali equivalent of Mother’s Day. This festival occurs during the Nepali month of Baisakh (April/May) and is observed on the final day of the dark fortnight, typically in April or early May.

4. When is Mother’s Day in Nepal 2024?

Mother’s Day in 2024 (2081) will be held on 12 May 2024.

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