Bhaktapur: Buddhists most important and big festival, Panchadan festival is celebrated on Sunday limiting to the general formal worship. The Panchadan festival is celebrated to limiting to simple formal worship due to the high risk of increasing Covid infection.
Shashiratna Shakya of Mahasbihar said that if Dipankar Buddha was brought out of Bihar/ Vihar to celebrate the Panchadan festival, the danger of spreading the disease would increase due to overcrowding. He said, “If Dipankar Buddha is brought out in the festival, all the devotees of Bhaktapur will come to donate alms. Therefore, keeping this in mind, it has been decided to limit this year to general formalities like last year.”
This festival is especially celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus. There is the tradition to bring out the five Dipankar Buddhas from their respective monasteries (Vihar) of Bhaktapur, known as Prasannashil Mahavihar of Kwathandau, Jhorvahi Mahavihar of Golmadhi, Chartubrahma Mahavihar of Sakotha, Thadhubahi Mahavihar of Bharvacho and Kuthubahi Mahavihar of Dudhpati and placed in the Suryamadhi Square.
There is a tradition of taking alms by the five Dipankar Buddhas around the city and various streets of the city after receiving alms. After reaching the Chartubrahma Mahavihara of Sakotha, five Dipankar Buddhas leave each other and return to their respective Mahaviharas according to the tradition.
According to the religious norms of Buddhism, the five Dipankar Buddhas are worshipped and they are offered alms especially in the form of Pancha dan i.e. paddy, rice, wheat, green peas and rock salt.
Panchadan is called Panjaran in the local language. The reason for saying Panjaran is that ‘Pan’ means earth and ‘Ja’ means origin. On this day, five types of items including grains, vegetables and fruits grown from the earth are donated.
For worshipping, incense, lamp (diyo), food items including paddy, rice, wheat, kwati, peas, gram, etc., beverages including molasses water are included. There is a tradition of donating needles, thread, rope, broom, white cloth (water filter), kashay cloth, asana, khari dhunga (chalk), dativan etc.