Panch Dan


Panch Dan (Five Offerings) is a Buddhist festivals, falling on triodashi, two days prior to the Father’s day (Buwa ko mukh herne din) according to the lunar calendar. It is observed by Buddhists of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur and Banepa only, especially by Shakyas and Bajracharyas. Buddhist antiques are displaced and gigantic effigies of Dipankar are paraded around the town. However, the main highlight of the festival is the giving away of five elements (Wheat grains ,Rice grains,Salt,Money and fruit). Silhoute of Swayambhunath and its premises is seen on the clouds near by which is a mystical myth. Patan celebrants claim it is to commemorate the occasion when Buddha himself–a legendary visit to be sure–begged alms in Patan. On that occasion the then king of Patan and a humble old lady offered alms to Buddha at the same time. The Buddha accepted the old woman’s first, explaining to the offended king that hers was of greater merit because gained by her own toil. In Guita Tol, where this old woman lived, on the northeastern edge of Patan, people still make their “panch dan” in her name. But, as so often happens in the Valley, this is none other than a well-known jataka, or Buddhist birth story, recast in a purely local setting and the original source long lost to those who tell the tale.