Dashain Fesival - Nepal's western white Chrsitmas.

“It is like your western white Christmas”,  Nepali locals explain Dashain festival. During the fifteen day long national holiday families reunite and gather together regardless of the distance between them. The families celebrate in memory of when the good triumphed over the evil. It is a festival filled with joy, respect and sacrificing of animals. It is a time for appreciation of your sister(Didi), brother (Daai), mother(Aaamaa) and father (Buwaa). We are happy to have the opportunity to experience this time in Nepal.

Our experience of Dashain Festivalliving in Tanahun District

This week we have observed new rituals, lit and smelled incense and experienced cultural events due to the Dashain Festival in Nepal.  The festival for worshipping victory of good, lasting for ten days (“Das”), is the biggest and longest Festival in Nepal. In the Roman Calendar Dashain this year begins the first of October and last until the day of full moon. Dashain is a Hindu celebration, representing the main religion in Nepal. At the same time it is also a national holiday with worshipping, commemorating and remembering the victory whereas the good won over the bad and evil demons.

Goat ready to be bought in Damauli. Photo by Kathrine O. Flaate.

While walking around in the streets of Damauli centre we see people preparing for traveling home to their families, the road and the streets are crowded and filled up with kids happily running around, hard workers, smiling adults, elderly and different vehicles transporting everything from soda and biscuits to people and animals; a bustling and lively time in Nepal. During the first days in Dashain, we have seen hundreds of goats and chickens waiting to be sold to a family that will sacrifice it for their God and then prepare it for a Dashain Festival meal. After some days, chickens, goats, sheep and buffalo are sacrificed. The blood, as a symbol of fertility, is an offering to the Goddesses.

A visit to Chabdi Temple –  Observing hindu rituals at a temple

Some days ago we went to Chabdi Temple outside of Damauli in Tanahun District, were we observed the sacrificing. Chickens and goats were sacrificed in the ritual of holy bathing. The animal body was thrown into a holy water containing holy fish representing God. By eating all the blood of the sacrificed animal, the fishes are cleansing and cleaning the animals. The corpses are then washed and hair is removed. Later it is prepared and cocked as a nice meal. We washed and cleansed in the river that goes through the Temple, sacrificed banana to the holy fish, lit the incense and wished something for our future life and got Tika in our forehead; as the Hindus were doing.
 

"Tika?" you may ask. The colour you see in our forehead in some of the pictures. Soon we will share with you our experience getting Tika placed in our forehead. Now we look forward to the rest of the days of Dashain and learning more to share with you. Stay tuned and follow our Facebook pages for pictures and small stories about our life in Nepal: Link Ola and Link Kathrine.