Kathmandu valley is observing Yomari Punhi, a Newari festivity marking the end of the rice harvesting season, today. The full-moon day sees reverence of Goddess Annapurna wherein a steamed sweetmeat prepared with fresh rice-harvest is prepared and enjoyed.
Yomari, also called Yamari, is a delicacy of Newar community in Nepal. It consists of an external covering of rice-flour and an inner content of sweet substances such as Chaku(molasses) and sesame seeds or khuwa (thickened milk) are typically used to make ya:mari.
The delicacy plays a very important role in Newaa society, and is a key part of the festival of Yomari punhi.
Story Behind Yomari Punhi;
The festival is believed started from panchal nagar (Panauti). It is said Suchandra and Krita, a married couple, first experimented with fresh yield of rice from their field. They came out with shape of yomari. The new food was distributed among the villagers. The food was liked by all, the bread was named yomari, which literally means ‘tasty bread’. The couple offered yamari to Kuber (god of weath) who was disguised and passing by. Kuber was happy and disclosing himself blessed the couple with wealth. He also declared that whosoever prepare Yomari in the form of gods and goddesses on the full moon day of Marga Sukla Purnima every year and observe four days of devotion to god, will gain wealth and prosperity.
The festival is celebrated for four days. All the four days people pray and worship. A big celebration is observed at night in Dhaneshwar Mahadev temple in Banepa. There is tradition of doing Depawali at home. People worship god Kuber, Ganesh and goddess Subhadra in these 4 days.
On the second day Yomari is prepared in the shape of gods and goddesses and stored inside the rice silo (bhakari) and worshiped. On the fourth day Yomari is eaten as Prasad and believed that those gods in the form of yamari enter to human body those worship and take yamari Prasad.
People distribute yomari and rice to yomari asking kids home to home. In this day goddess durga is worshiped as Dhanyalaxmi or Annapurna mata.