Atwari is a holy festival of Tharu Community. Atwari is celebrated especially by the Tharu community in the western Terai of Nepal. The Atwari Parba is also celebrated for brother and sisterhood. It is being celebrated generation to generation from the ancestors to now. It is only celebrated one day in a year and the day is always same Sunday. It falls in month of (Bhaddra). When the Krishna Janmastami (Astimki in Tharu language) festival is celebrated, Atwari Festival is celebrated after 2 Sunday.
Tharu’s belief in “Mahabharata Stories”. It is said, one day, five Pandavs went to live in forest (banbash). They made a small village and settled there. There was a huge giant monster and the monster always used to destroy the villager’s fields, always eat the barley, disturb, harsh and bother to women too.
One day, five Pandavs were preparing their food, a man came and told to Pandav brothers that the monster was destroying everything and troubling women. Then, Bhim went to help the villagers and Bhim fought and conquest the monster. Bhim protected the life of villagers and dignity of women. Bhim also found Villagers were living without foods and hungry from several days due to giant monster’s distresses. He gave foods to them which he had.
From that day Atwari was celebrated. Why this festival named “Atwari”? Because when the Bhim defeat the monster, the day was Sunday (Aitabar). From that day women call Bhim as their brother because he protected them from the giant monster and women think that he was their brother so, he helped them and in Tharu language brother is called as “Vewa”.
In Atwari festival, people woke up before Cock-a-doodle-doo (kukurika) at 1am to 4 am in Saturday Night time. And they prepare different dishes to eat. That time is called as “Vinsarya Khana”. If they will eat after the Cock-a-doodle-doo (kukurika) then it will be bad luck.
Then the next day Sunday (main day – atwari festival ) men and women fast whole day. Especially men fast; they didn’t eat any thing whole day even water too. At evening time they worship and then eat foods likes Bariya, Khurma, Roti, fruits, curd, milk, sweets, Honey and many more but without salt before the sunset and after sunset they are not allowed to eat not even the water. But before eating food they separate the food for their sisters.
The next day Monday, they prepare rice and 5, 7, 9 or 11 types of vegetables and curry including fish to eat and again before eating food they separate the food for their sisters. The day is called “Farrar“.
The food which was separated from the brother’s food is gifted to their sisters. And sister also returns the food to her brother. In tharu language the gifting (Kosheli) process is called as “Agrashan“. The Agrashan (gift) is especially given to their married sisters.