No community in Nepal has as many festivals and celebrations as Newar community. All these festivals have a common significance of victory of good over evil. One of such many festivities is Gathe Mangal. It is celebrated on Shrawan Krishna Chaturdashi by burning dummy-like figures of serpents, demons, wind, water and fire. Also known as Gaanthaamo or Gathaanmo where gaan means bell and mo meads head, this celebration is for victory over demon named Ghantakarna who wore iron rings and created havoc in Newari societies. During this day, people offer money, clothes, salt and handmade dolls to semi-naked man, referring to demon Ghantakarna who is covered with tar on his face and paints all over the body.
On this day, people clean their houses and surroundings and have Samyabaji- a dish consisting of seven food items namely chatamari, beaten rice, roasted soybean with small pieces of ginger and garlic, fried boiled egg, boiled beans with extra spices and potatoes.
Like every celebration starts with an incident, there is an interesting folklore about how people of Newar community started celebrating Gathe Mangal. There was once a demon named Ghantakarna who created havoc in the Newar community. As per the folk lore, this demon with pair of bells on ears terrified people by destroying their crops, animals and sometimes even the humans. This created panic in the community. People started gathering and developing ideas to destroy the demon. They tried their best to remove him but were unsuccessful. Then, a clever frog generated an idea. He lured the demon to a swamp and trapped him. People, then gathered and killed him and were then finally, able to get rid of the demon and live in peace. Since then, people started worshipping the frog to honor his deeds and make his name known to future generations.
Gathe Mangal is also known as the metal day. Newar communities wear gathemangal ko authi (ring) which as per belief has power to safeguard people from evil. People also hammer 3-legged nails on the door of their houses before nightfall to evade from demons and evil spirits. During the day, dummies of demons resembling Ghantakarna are erected at street crossroads and are dragged all over the city. A man with black and blue paint all over the body begs for money with passerby and walks along with the dummy. At the end of the day, the dummy is taken to the nearby river and immersed signifying defeat of the demon.