Kirsten Wagenaar

The Golden Child

In Cut and Paste on December 31, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I was inspired by a story a dear friend told me. While traveling she witnessed the Living Goddess of Nepal in all her jeweled splendor traveling through Kathmandu city in a three tiered chariot.

Kumari Devi as the Goddess is named, is selected at an early age. After passing the preliminary test (concerned with 32 attributes of perfection, including the colour of her eyes, the shape of her teeth and the sound of her voice) the 4 to 7 year girls are made to confront a goddess in the darkened room. The real goddess is unlikely to be frightened, so the one who is calm and collected throughout the tests is the only girl who is entitled to sit on the pedestal for worship as the Living Goddess. As a final test similar to that of the Dalai Lama, the Kumari then chooses items of clothing and decoration worn by her predecessor.

Under normal circumstances, her days as the Living Goddess come to an end with her first menstruation, but if she turns out to be unlucky, as they say, even a minor scratch on her body that bleeds can make her invalid for worship. She then changes back to the status of normal mortal and the search of a new Kumari begins. It is said to be unlucky to marry an ex-Kumari.



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