The Tihar festival
The Thiar festival is the second most important Hindu festival in Nepal. The festival honors certain animals and the different days are celebrated in different ways.
The first day celebrates the craw by offering rice to the bird that is the symbol of death. The second day is the honor of the dog and is celebrated by giving all the dogs a mala around the neck and a tika in the forehead. Except for that, we could see the dogs eating dahl bath from a bowl of leaves.
The third day, also called Deepawali, is the goddess Lakshmi’s day, the goddess of wealth. During the day it was a lot of preparations going on for the evening. Everyone was painting colorful bells on the ground and small paths into the house to welcome Lakshmi. In the house, they had prepared a small altar for Lakshmi with pictures of her, flowers, fruits and candles. At the altar, they were offering money and believed that it would help them to earn more money for the next year. In the evening everyone lit candles in the houses and outside the houses. The whole city was lighted up with all the candles and lights which made it so beautiful. During the evening the children were gathering together to sing outside all the houses. They sang a song called bhayli ram and stayed outside each house until they got some money or a gift, it could be some snacks or fruits.
The fourth day was in the cows' honor. In the Hindu’s eyes, the cow is the mother and is, therefore, a holy animal. All the cows got this day a mala and a tika, just like the dogs got two days earlier.
At the last day was it the brothers turn to be honored. All the siblings in the family gathered together to give each other tikas and some gifts. We were invited to take part in the celebration by participating in the ceremony with a Nepali family. They put the colors, oil, some malas and gifts in the middle of one room. Then all the brothers sat down and the sisters walked around them and poured a string of oil to protect the brothers from death. After that, it was time for the tika giving. The sisters gave a seven-colored tika to all the brothers and started with the oldest one. When the tika was finished they also gave them a mala and a gift plate with sweets, fruits, and some other gifts. After all the brothers had got their multicolor tika it was time for the sisters to get their tika. All the sisters got a red rice tika and some money from all the brothers. When the whole family had got their tika it was time for us too. We got a red rice tika, a mala and a gift plate, it was so nice of the family.
The Dasain festival,
Dasain is the biggest festival here in Nepal. And during the time we have been given the huge opportunity to experience this festival for real.
The festival lasts for fifteen days and celebrates the goddess Durga's victory over the evil devil. During the festival, you can see kites in the air and bamboo-swings that the children make. Different days mean different things, for example; the eight and the ninth days are the days they sacrifice the animal for the goddess. The most important day is the tenth when everyone gets a Tika from the oldest family member. We have been celebrated the festival in a typical Nepali village - Lunkhu Deurali. During the festival, we went up to a temple on the “green mountain” top. On the top, we saw how they sacrificed the goats and the rituals around that. It was something that we never experienced before; it was scary and interesting at the same time. The biggest day everyone dressed up in beautiful colors. There was a lot of joy and happiness. The family members were gathered together to share the Tika ceremony. They had a plate with the colored rise and Jamara (yellow grass), the oldest one blessed the younger once by prayers, Tika and Jamara in their hair. The fact that we lived in a Nepali family gave us the chance to get close to the festival. They thought us a lot and invited us to take part in the celebration. We feel so blessed that we got this opportunity. It has been a real adventure and something that you usually can´t experience as a tourist.
Hanna and Ida (Sweden)