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Bakar-Eid being observed

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KATHMANDU — The Muslim community across the country is observing their second largest festival — the Bakar-Eid with much fanfare on Sunday.

On this day, the Muslims visit the mosques, offer prayers to Allah, perform the Namaj prayers and exchange greetings to each others on the occasion.

The festival falls on the 70th day of the Ramadan, the nine month of the Hijri (Islamic lunar calendar) and on this occasion the Muslims observe fasting during daylight.

The Jame and Kashmiri Mosques in the capital, mosques outside the Kathmandu Valley, madrasas and Eidgah (open-air places) are crowded with the Eid devotees gathered to observe the festival.

The government has announced a public holiday today on the occasion of the festival.

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The festival is observed commemorating the moment when Ibrahim, the first of the Old Testament who became ready to sacrifice his son at the command of Allah, the Muslim God, some 1435 years back as per the Hijri calendar, said Nirdosh Ali, chairperson of the National Muslim Commission.

Reading Namaj, observing Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca Medina) and Roja (fasting), and offering donations and sacrifices are the five main good deeds that are supposed to be followed by the Muslim people.

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Shree Panchami today

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KATHMANDU — Shree Panchasmi also known as Basanta Panchami or Saraswoti Puja, was observed across the country by worshipping Saraswoti, the Goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, art, music and culture, on Monday.

Shree Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the waxing moon in the month of Magh every year according to the Nepali calendar.

The festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Nepali month of Magh. People from the Hindu and Sikh communities mainly in Nepal and eastern India observe this festival.

The festival is taken as the symbol of an advent of the spring season as plants start sprouting; winter crops like barley and wheat plants and plum, pear and peach trees start yielding and many flowering plants start blooming with this.

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The day is very special for students and new learners. Students take early bath, observe the mass Saraswati Puja in schools and visit temples and listen to the Basanta Shrawran. Goddess Saraswati is worshiped with various names such as Bharati, Sharada, Jagatmata, Bageshwari, Kaumari, Baradayani and Kamdhenu.

It is believed that from this day, the sun starts moving to the northern hemisphere, causing longer days and signalling the beginning of spring season.

Marriage ceremonies and other religious functions are also performed on this day as the day is believed to be auspicious. Legend has it that reciting and listening to verses about goddess Saraswati on this day enriches knowledge.

The festival is considered as the best day of starting something new in human life and make a commitment to good causes.

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