As I mentioned in my last post, life has been a bit crazy over the past few weeks and I’ve been neglecting this blog (though check out the last post style watch for an update with the link to my first article).
One of the reasons for this was the festival of Dashain. Dashain is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) festivals here in Nepal. This festival is the time of year when people leave the cities and go back to their villages for family gatherings. The city of Kathmandu becomes (relatively) empty and it’s the time of year where you can see just how many people are transplanted here from the rest of the country. Traffic decreases tenfold and most stores are closed…it’s like an extended Christmas.
During Dashain, people throughout the country people worship the goddess Durga with many pujas, offerings and animal sacrifices. One of my favorite parts was seeing some of the many temporary Durga shrines that communities put up in their neighborhoods. These become a place for people to make offerings and come and do their pujas (definitely check out the pictures below to see what they look like!).
I could go into more of what Dashain is, but in reality, I am not that educated on the full history of the holiday and this website will do a much better job.
Families and friends get together to fly kites, gamble, give tikka and be merry. I was able hang out with my friend Direk and his family and fly kites from his roof and play cards for the Friday afternoon of Dashain. Then, on the Sunday I spent time with Kerry and her house family in Patan for Tikka Day. On this day people go around to family members and receive Tikka from their elders. I received Tikka at her house, the temple for a woman who has the goddess living within her, and again at her neighbor’s house.
All in all it was a great weekend where I got to spend time with good friends and experience a big part of Nepali culture!
photos (c) Bethany Meuleners