Dey Acharya Puja
Dey Acharya Puja is an age-old tradition celebrated by the gurjus of Kathmandu district that helps in keeping alive the sense of community in them. The festival that has been celebrated by Bajracharyas, a sub-caste of valley Newars who have historically been the practicing high priests at all Newar ceremonies, for about seven centuries since the time of the Malla dynasty, observes hundreds of Bajracharyas gathered in the premises of Tebahal in front of the popular Sankata temple to observe the ritual.
The dana (alms giving) ceremony is observed on this occasion where all the Bajracharya families of Kathmandu district come together during the ceremony that is jointly organized by Manisingh Mahavihar, Shrikandamul Mahavihar, Henakar Mahavihar and Suratshri Mahavihar along with the participation of 18 Mahavihars of Kathmandu. On this occasion, the Bajracharya men, who are eligible to take up the role of priests after their Bratabandha, participates in the function. The prime objective of this massive get together is to acknowledge the role of guthi which used to be and is still, an important socio-cultural governing body for people of the caste and to discuss important issues relevant to their community. The puja starts with a secret tantric puja which is attended by the senior most gurjus (priests) and is followed by a dana ceremony. The attendees receives alms in the form of food items like rice, sweets, beaten rice, etc. or money and even items of clothing.
The representatives from the Chya Guthi, who have been there for most of the last six hundred years, made and served butter tea (milk tea mixed with ghee, salt and khuwa) to all the attendees. The Dey Acharya Puja celebrated by the people of Bajracharya sub-caste group stands as a hope for those who are working to preserve and give longevity to the historical practices amidst the fast changing lifestyle of the people in Nepal, especially living in Kathmandu.