IHI ceremony was held by United Newha USA -Dallas on Sunday, May 1, 2016. IHI is one of the many tradition the Newar community in Nepal follow and is unique to them. IHI is the most inevitable and ritual ceremony in Newah Society to retreat Newah girls at the age of 5-11 years. IHI stands for a certain time and age.
The IHI rituals was conducted by renowned Newah Priest Mr. Basav Rajopadhyay.
According to the religious and astrological belief, IHI is an act of giving a virgin in marriage, but it is not a physical wedding. The main objects at this ceremony – provided separately to each girl – are the Bya (Bel in Nepali, binomial name – Aegle marmelos) which is the fruit of Bya plant and a golden image (or flat piece of gold with an image engraved on it or golden object). The Bya fruit represents Lord Shiva and the golden image represents Lord Vishnu/Narayana, also known as Subarna Kumar. At the exact astrological time, called out by a priest, the father hands-over his daughter to the god as manifested by pressing her thumb against the golden image. The image is held against the Bya, representing Lord Shiva as the witness to the marriage. This occasion, therefore, is popularly known as IHI (misinterpreted as Bel-Bibah).
The principle behind this traditional practice is that a married lady should not be considered “widow” even after her husband’s demise, because she was married to Lord Subarna Kumar at her pre-pubescent age. It is performed to prevent widowhood of Newah women. Thus, IHI ritual is the most important ongoing ritual prevalent in Newah culture.