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Welcome~ Is this your first time with Yamari?
The picture above is of my family and me making Yamari (traditional typical Newari Bread) in Nepal 2019. It was midwinter, freezing cold morning. The majestic view of snowclad mountains seems refreshed after wakening up. Many trees were denuded of leaves and the lawn was covered in frost. I was wearing gloves and a woolen cap to escape from the cold, sitting in my yard drinking chiya (a traditional nepali tea) and enjoying the splendid morning view with my father. In the meanwhile, I heard my mother calling us to the kitchen. We went to the kitchen and saw my mother ready for making “Yamari”. She wanted us to give her our hands in making the “Yamari”. "Ya" means "to like'' and "mari" means "bread" in Newari language, which literally means “tasty bread”. Yamari is a steamed sweet bread made of rice flour (from the new harvest) dough, shaped like fig with ends like a fishtail and filled with chaku (a sweet made up of sugarcane, ghee, and nut, etc.) and sesame seeds. I was so excited because Yamari was one of my favorite foods which are eaten once a year, in the winter season only. I always wondered why it is made in winter only but not in other seasons. My mother explains, “Eating Yamari avoids the effects of cold winter. Our body gets weak in winter, so, to energize our body we eat chaku which is only made in winter”. However, nowadays it is becoming a popular snack and can be seen in city markets. My mother taught me how to make nice shaped Yamari. The closing part of it must be like the shape of the tail longer if possible because it is believed that the longer the tail is the longer the day will be, and night get shorter which means soon the winter will end. I followed my mother but failed several times. Some shaped round, some shaped semi triangle. After failing several times, I was able to make a beautiful Yamari (third picture). According to the Newari tradition, children including elders go to nearby houses door to door singing a special song and asking for Yamari on a full moon day known as the yamari full moon day. This event used to be real fun and memorable especially for children. However, today this tradition is gradually disappearing. Children and youngsters have no craze for Yamari like before. They are more interested in mobiles or computer games than in preserving their culture and tradition.Nepal