Friday, July 19, 2013

Little Known “Ara Phunmey”

The tradition of  ”Lolay” in the Wang (Thimphu region) and the “Deepawali” (sorry if I have misspelt it) in the Southern part of the country are similar, in that people, the children in the former and all age groups in the later, go around the village visiting houses and singing the lolay and doushiri.  The house owners are supposed to offer these visitors money, food, rice and even flowers, in return for which they pray and bless the household.
                Equivalent to the above two, there is another one that is being practiced in the east, (at least in Pema Gatshel).  I am not sure if it is practiced in other eastern dzongkhags.  It is called “Ara Phunmey”, literally meaning, begging for drinks.  The men folk would go around the village, singing songs.  This is done during the Losar (New Year) and Thrui (Blessed Rainy Day).
                Though it is called “Ara Phunmey”, it is not only the drinks that they are offered.  On top of the drinks they are also provided food and meat.  The group would go around the village, visiting every household and singing songs, some of which I don’t hear any more. 
                Ara ma ga nain bu
                Singchang gala drik pey
                Tshering Tshomo lu la yang chey ru ru
Bjangchuk shing go patra
So yala tsemo lha shing shokpu ruru…
                A rough translation of the song goes something like this, “Even if you do not give me ara (locally brewed wine), it’s alright to offer me bangchang/singchang (equivalent to a beer)…”
                I am not very sure if this little tradition is still observed today, but I don’t hear the song being sung these days. 

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