Friday, October 10, 2008

Vijaya Deshami - Happy Dashain 2065!

Well ... not so happy for this guy. Read on.

We are in the middle of the most important festival on the Nepali Calendar. Dashain is a fifteen day festival when, primarily, the goddess Durga is worshipped. I say primarily because the Hindu manifestations of different gods and goddesses and what they represent are mind boggling. There are a couple of days during Deshain (pronounced "Dasai" with a nasal sound on the "ai") when Laxmi (the goddess of prosperity) or some other goddess de jour has their day in the sun.

In religious terms this festival involves a lot of sacrificing of animals to appease the anger of Durga. The festival celebrates good over evil because the Hindu sacred texts say that Durga triumphed over demons. The devout believe that sacrifices appease her wrath and negligence brings it on. Nobody wants to mess with Durga.
A busy temple in our neighborhood.

In social and familial terms this festival is similar to our holidays in the States. It is an annual opportunity to see distant relatives. It is like Christmas in the stores. They are packed (more than usual) with people buying gifts for family and friends and food for the festival feasting (say that ten times fast). People use this time in particular to be blessed by their elders and in turn bless those junior to them. Family heads are busy, busy, busy blessing.

This young woman is in the middle of her "puja" or worship ritual.

One day earlier this week the embassy drivers and guards sacrificed a goat to perform puja on all the vehicles. Niiiiice. I'm a pretty committed carnivore but this is all enough to make a vegetarian out of anybody.

More on Deshain before the festival is over ... Namaste.


Nik said...

Once again you have completely intrigued me by your experiences of Nepali culture. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it all - I just LOVE it!

breathtaking photos!

Kelsey said...

Hi I just found your blog through SITS.
Wow your blog is pretty amazing, definitely got my attention! I hope I never have to see one of those sacrificing rituals; they don't sound too pleasant.

Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brenda Jean said...

VERY interesting. I always learning something new when I visit you:) I'm with you though-- the animal sacrifice is a bit much. I'm sure when you grow up with it then it's just part of your life. I however have trouble smushing spiders, so this would be a problem for me:)

That deleted post was mine. I forgot to log off my husband's account til I posted and saw his name instead of mine. BAHAHAHA

traveler one said...

How great to discover your blog!! I thought I was leading an unusual life here in Albania but yours must be even more incredible! Can't wait to read more. (I've added your blog to my blogroll!

Jennifer said...

I love these Nepali culture posts... so interesting.

Did you see this? Thought you might enjoy...


Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Sacrificial goats? Eek!
*runs and hides until festivities are over*

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Sorry to put this in your comments section, but I couldn't find an email address. Did you leave a comment on my blog asking if I found you through googling "goat sacrifices?" I'm asking because it said Anonymous instead of your name. Also, if you are "Anonymous", I found you via SITS.