Saturday, June 21, 2014

Growing goddess

Samita Bajracharya, age 12, lives in Lalitpur, near Kathmandu, Nepal, with her family. She is only allowed to speak to them, her tutor, and her close friends. Her mother must apply her special makeup and put on her jewelry every day. She is only allowed outside for certain festivals, to which she must be carried so her feet don't touch the ground. There, she blesses the faithful, both Hindus and Buddhists who worship her as a reincarnation of the goddess Durga. She has been recognized as a Kumari, one of the few in the country, and will remain so until the goddess vacates her body when Samita gets her first period. There are both pluses and minuses to the designation for both the child and her mother, who comments, "I felt both happy and sad. On one hand, I felt happy because when your daughter becomes god, having a god in the home is a delightful thing. But I also got scared because I wasn't sure if we would be able to follow all the rules."

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