KATHMANDU: Today is Asar 15 – popularly known as Paddy Day in Nepal. Farmers are celebrating the Day by planting paddy seedlings to the tune of Asare folk songs.
Girls and boys add romance to the Day by splashing muddy water at each other amidst a song, ‘Chhupu Ma Chhupu Hiloma Dhana Ropera Chhodaunla, Banai Kulo Lagai Pani Aera Godaunla,’ that resonates across the rice field.
Tired with the relentless work in the searing heat of the sunlight, there is a tradition to have curd and beaten rice on Asar 15 which is believed to boost energy by cooling the body.
As many as 43 countries of the world had requested the United Nations to declare International Paddy Day in 2004.
A cabinet meeting on December 14, 2004 decided to celebrate Asar 15 as the Paddy Day. Nepal has been celebrating Asar 15 as the Paddy Day since June 29, 2005.
Rice is planted in 47 percent of the total cultivable land in Nepal, of which 70 percent of land lies in Tarai region.