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'katto' ceremony in Nepal

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A few days ago, an article from The Hindu was posted on this forum,

describing a funeral ceremony referred to as 'katto'. I have a few

questions for the specialists:


1. What is the etymology of 'katto' ?


2. The article says:

"Traditionally, the priest is supposed to eat marrow from a bone

collected during the cremation of the dead monarch". Is this


specific to Nepal, or was it sometimes performed for Hindu kings in

India? Where is it described? When was this ceremony performed last?


3. The subsequent banishing of the performing priest evoques

traditions of "bouc emissaire" (scapegoat). Is this analogy valid?


there other scapegoat ceremonies in dharmashastra ?


Thanks for your answers


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The following article, which was published by KP, which does not

archive articles like The Hindu hence my posting of the entire

article :-( alludes to the contradiction between what is tradition

and what really happens :-)






Katte-bahuns end up in their Valley residences


Post Report


LALITPUR, June 17 - Contrary to expectations, the katte-bahuns, who

were sheltered at the Jawalakhel-based Kattepati for past few days,

refused to be chased out of the Valley, Monday morning, and instead

ended up at their residences right inside the Valley, feeling cheated

and betrayed.


Durga Prasad Sapkota, 75, and Devi Prasad Acharya, 65, who drew

public attention by consuming the forbidden meal `Katto' on the 11th

day rituals of the late Kings Birendra and Dipendra, were driven to

their residences Sunday afternoon. By tradition, security personnel

were supposed to escort the katte-bahuns to the end of the valley.

But this time, they were forced into a police van and driven away

from the temporary resident at Jawalakhel.


The duo were almost in tears when policemen took away the katte-

bahuns in a van without a number plate today at 3.20 p.m. under tight



They complained to the journalists at their residence near

Pashupatinath that the government did not fulfil the promises made

during the Katto ceremonies.


"The hakims said that they would provide me with a house but that did

not materialize. We were simply cheated," said Acharya.


Earlier, a dozen armed army personnel blocked reporters from talking

with them and even taking photographs. They were originally scheduled

to leave the Kathmandu Valley on Saturday.


"When King Mahendra passed away 30 years ago, the katte-bahun was

taken on elephant to Thankot," a woman said, who was at Jawalakhel

right from the morning to see the departure.


People at Jawalakhel watching the incident, said that both the

priests did not appear satisfied with the donation they received for

consuming the Katto meal. Quoting Acharya, a spectator said that

Sapkota was given donations equivalent to Rs 2.1 million whereas

Acharya had received Rs 600,000. "Dissatisfaction is the reason of

their delay in departure," he said.


It has been a tradition that the one who partakes the Katto are also

given "sufficient amount of cash", gold ornaments, silverwares,

living room furnitures, cupboards with clothes, kitchen utensils and

staple food enough to feed one family for a month or so. Local people

say that by traditions these brahmins become social out-cast because

the katto meals is supposed to be contaminated with some "unwanted



However, the brahmins themselves are not sure whether anything like

that is practised today or not. Still, such a person is not allowed

to conduct any religions rituals and thus is exiled from the

Kathmandu Valley.


Kathmandu Post



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