A local dance form of the Mithila region showing the essence of ethnicity.
RINA KUMARI MANDAL
Did you know Nepal has a special dance form called Jhijiya??? It's no wonder that being an ethnically rich country, Nepal has some amazing traditions and cultures to offer. Among many different traditions and their folk dances, Jhijiya is the traditional dance performed in Mithila region, Janakpur.
Jhijiya, the dance performed to honor the goddess Durga in Dashain represents the authenticity of the Mithila region. Young girls dance balancing seven clay pots with lamps on their heads. The pots are beautifully decorated and have many holes to let the light escape making it much prettier during nights.
This festival (on the 6th day of the bright lunar fortnight in Kartik) is the most auspicious festival of Mithilanchal. Another dance worth watching is performed by a group of women every year in the month of Ashwin (September/October) during the Dashain festival from Ghatasthapana to Vijaya Dashami. The singing and dancing go on for hours, with groups of women taking turns to carry the pitchers. The Jhijhiya dance lights up the energy of festival nights.
Legends say that Jhijiya helps to brighten up the festival moods, embarking the happiness and joy among the people. This dance is performed on a song that tells the story of deities inviting them to their households during festivals. The holes in the pots represent the demons' eyes which are blinded by the bright lights burning inside the lamps whereas the lights denote rays of hope.
As the men play the jhamar, the dhol and the jhaeel - traditional musical instruments of the Maithili community, the women slowly move in circles, swaying their hips lightly to the beat. The song they sing is calming and has a catchy rhythm—one that has your head following the beat, which goes dhamak-dhamak. The bouts of applause from the crowd adds to the energy, making the night even more surreal.