Kushe Aunshi | Father's Day in Nepal

In Nepal, this festival is popularly called as Baabuko Mukh Herne Din which means a day to owe respect to father. As per the lunar calendar, this day falls on the new moon the month of Bhadra (late August / early September).

When is Kushe Aunshi (Nepali Father's Day) in 2023?

Father’s day in Nepal (Kushe Aunshi) in 2080 BS (2023) is on Thursday, 14th September.

This festival is generally the day of offering respect and good vibes to father offering delicious food and being together with him. Children who can not physically be with their fathers can order gifts now-a-days and deliver to the doorstep of their fathers. Those who have already lost their fathers, summon the priest to their homes and offer sida to the priests in memory of their fathers. Some pilgrims take bath in the river and worship gods and goddesses, whereas some others also perform shradda of deceased father.

The father’s day in Nepal is also called Gokarne Aunshi. It is called so because, a big mela is observed at Gokarna, in the Northern fringe of Kathmandu valley. This place where people do shradda of their deceased fathers is located on the bank of Bagmati river at Gokarna. During Gokarne Shradda, children offer pinda– food for deceased parent, to the deceased father. The same place hosts a famous temple of MahadevGokarneshwor Temple. In Shree-Swasthani – a Hindu religious story, it is said that Shree Brahma had established Gokarneshwor Temple.

Kushe Aunshi (Father's Day in Nepal)

Let us discuss why this day also known as Kushe Aunsi. Kush is a typical grass which is deemed sacred according to Hindu beliefs. If you look at the featured image of this blog post, we have kept the sample of that grass in inset. There is a tradition of taking Kush home on the day of Bhadra Krishna Aunshi. Hence, the day is also called Kushe Aunshi. The priests who visit the homes of their yajamaan for collecting sida bring Kush to same homes. This grass is used in religious functions at home throughout the year.

A priest bundling the grass 'kush'
‘Kush’ the sacred grass being bundled for sale at Asan, Kathmandu (Photo: melafestival.com)

There is an elaborated explanation of sacredness of Kush– the grass. Lord Vishnu had to take form of this grass when he got a spell from Vrinda– widow of Jalandhar demon. She had to do so because her husband died of adultery-sin during a war between Mahadev and Jalandhar, as lord Vishnu slept with her in guide of her husband.

Significance of Kush in Hindu Life

Kush grass has bn found to have two botanical names- Eragrostis cynosuroides and Desmostachya bipinnata. This plant is found throughout the Indian Subcontinent, broadly Hindu Kush Himalayas and from Sahara to Tanzania. During Hindu religious rituals, people us Kush grass more often. It can grow even in semi arid condition. It is believed that it can deviate bad radiation and evil vibes from the one who wears it. Ayurvedic science has mentioned various health benefits of this grass.

Story of Gokarneshwor Mahadev

In the story of Shree Swasthani, there is an interesting note of lord Shiva becoming a deer and losing horn to devas. Once, lord Shiva wanted to explore the forests in eternal peace. He then disguised as a deer and mixed up in the wild flock in Sleshmantak forest in Nepal Mandala. Parvati– wife of lord Shiva found out with truth seeking vision about his whereabouts. She then went to some spot on the bank of Bagamati river and started meditation. Not seeing both Shiva-Shakti, devas started to worry about the balance and peace of the universe.

Devas searched here and there, in many places in the universe. They then almost gave up and were returning to their places. Suddenly, they saw Parvati and asked about lord Shiva. She told everything and added that lord Shiva has forgotten his responsibilities. The devas decided to take him home rather forcibly.

From the flock of deer, they tried to catch lord Shiva in guise of an outstandingly beautiful deer. Lord Vishnu, Brahma, and Indra caught the horn in three different spots. Then lord Shiva suddenly disappeared from his will from there. In the hands of lord Vishnu, Brahma, and Indra were 3 pieces of horn of lord Shiva’s horn. With regret, these gods worshipped lord Shiva. Then Mahadev (Shiva) came to their sight and suggested Indra to setup his piece in Heaven. Vishnu had to put the piece in Patala. It was Brahma who had to install the piece in his hand in Gokarna of Martyalok (mortal world – the earth).

Hence, temple of Gokarneshwor Mahadev is associated with this story. According to a popular Nepali blog IMNepal, worshipping Shiva at Gokarna, and offering Pinda to deceased ancestors is equivalent to the divinity of 10 pilgrimages to Gaya- a famous pilgrim site in India.

Story of Dantur and His Deceased Father

There was a boy called Dantur who did not have father. People used to make comments of him. One day, when he had become an adult. Upon advice from Mahatma (Yogi), he established a rule in his own life of offering Pinda to his deceased father.

One Bhadra Krishna Aunshi, or Pitri Aunshi, he was ready to offer Pinda to his father also with Kush in his hands. Suddenly, he saw many spirits of deceased fathers. Dantur was not able to recognize the face of his father.

Dantur was very upset because he did a lot of devotion to offer Pinda to his deceased father, and ultimately he could not recognize his father in the mass of several spirits of deceased fathers. Brahma jee suddenly came in front of him and pointed at his father among the mass of several other fathers. Then Dantur offered Pinda to his father.

Since then, Bhadra Krishna Aunshi, or Pitri Aunshi has been also termed as Gokarne Aunshi or Kushe Aunshi.

Story of GaganGanj BodhiSatva

In another story, one of the prince got suggestion from GaganGanj BoshiSatva for disentangling his deceased father’s spirit from the mortal world. The prince was able to do so by offering water and Pinda to his father’s spirit.