Ghanta Karna

Ghanta Karna (Gathyamuga)

July-August; 14th day of waning half of Hindu month of Sravana
This day commemorates the death of Ghanta Karna, or "Bell Ears," a demon with jingling bells in his ears so that he'd never have to hear the name of Vishnu. In Hindu mythology he caused death and destruction wherever he went, until a god in the form of a frog persuaded him to leap into a well, after which the people clubbed him to death and dragged his body to the river to be cremated.
Also known as the Festival of Boys because young boys play a primary role in the celebration of Ghanta Karna's death, this day is observed in Nepal by erecting effigies at various crossroads and making passers-by pay a toll. After they've spent the day collecting tolls and preparing for the Ghanta Karna funeral, the boys tie up the effigy with a rope and throw it in the river. Sometimes the effigy is set on fire before being thrown in the water. Young girls hang tiny dolls on the effigy of Ghanta Karna to protect themselves from the monster.
Children also sell iron rings on this day and use the money to buy candy. It is believed that those who have iron nails in the lintels of their homes or are wearing an iron ring will be protected from evil spirits in the coming year.
CONTACTS:
Kantipur Online
Subidhanagar, Tinkune
Kathmandu, BA 8559 Nepal
977-1-4480100; fax: 977-1-4470178
www.kantipuronline.com
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Aug 23
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 464