Showing posts with label Dashain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dashain. Show all posts

November 16, 2012

Celebrating Nepal's Deepawali/Tihar in DC's Palisades

As we get ready for our two big holidays -- Thanksgiving and Christmas -- my Nepali friends are just ending the second of their two biggest festivals. Both occur in the fall as the harvest is ending. The dates vary with the phases of the moon.

Dashain comes first, and it's the main event. Nepalis in country and abroad do their best to get home for this festival -- at 15 days, their longest. Over the past decade, I've been fortunate to have celebrated Dashain four or five times in Nepal.

During Dashain, the goddess Durga is worshiped with many offerings and thousands of animal sacrifices for the ritual of drenching the goddess in blood (not my favorite part of the festival). But the emphasis is on family gatherings and the renewal of community ties.

Dashain was celebrated in October. On the festival's final day, the family elder gives the red tika blessing to family members. I performed that function for the first time last month as the elder (by far!) in our family.

The second of the big two festivals is Tihar, or Deepawali -- which literally means "row of lights." It lasts five days and honors Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck. I've also celebrated Tihar in Nepal several times and really enjoy it.