Kids are cute on their own but when dressed in traditional costumes they are even more cute and adorable. Look at this three years old beauty on the photo above - she is actually a Living Goddess Kumari.
In Nepal there is one Royal Kumari but different Newar communities have their own Kumari also. The girl on the photo is Kumari of Sankhu, a small town in 17 km from Kathmandu. Kumari is chosen from girls between three and five years old which must qualify in different signs of physical perfection; any wounds, scars, blemishes are considered disqualifying factors. Most Kumaris lead almost normal life with their families but make public appearances in special makeup and jewelry for festivals.
As a goddess, Kumari demands and deserves the most lavish in clothing and jewelry. Her clothes must be red, even for daily wear. For ceremonial occasions some Kumaris wear dresses of red brocade. The special makeup consists of heavily lined eyes and a large area of red on her forehead bordered by a solid yellow line. In the centre is placed the third eye. Her head is decorated with a crown which can be different in style and made of different materials.
This sweet couple of kids represent a groom and a bride in wedding dresses. The children were dressed like this for a cultural festival. Unfortunately child marriages are still a reality here in Nepal. According to UNICEF statistics, 63% of marriages in Nepal are with a bride below 18 years old, of which in 40% of cases the bride is under 15. Marriages between children 6-8 years of age also happen - it is 7%. Such alliances are most common in the south-eastern Nepal, among the Maithili and Parbat people. Law of Nepal prohibits marriage until the girl is 18. Nevertheless, many people prefer to marry off their children before they reach adulthood. This applies especially to the people of the lower social classes and tribes. Marrying off their daughters at an early age, parents thus get rid of an extra mouth to feed. In addition, child bride’s dowry supposed to be smaller than the one of an adult female. The groom's family, in turn, gets free helper in the household. And the law is powerless here - it can take effect only if the girl goes to court. And how can we expect this from a child, besides the one living rural?
These girls were representing different ethnic groups of Nepal during a cultural festival.
Have to say that they were rather bored with the task though tried their best to look interested and cheerful.
Indra Jatra. At this day thousands gather from all over the valley to watch living goddess Royal Kumari procession.
The Royal Kumari is taken out of her house, placed in the chariot and to the firing of military guns the carriage goes forward pulled by groups of shouting men. So, many girls are dressed in Kumari style at this day - all in red with make up on their faces.
This very cute little boy is dressed as Hindu god Krishna during Krishna Jayanti (birthday of Krishna) festival.
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