“In honour of the auspicious occasion of Dashain Festival and Tihar Festival 2010 we are happy to present this offer of buy one BrandName Cup a Soup, get one free”
Monsoon is finished. The weather is cooling. The fields are green and the rivers are full. School is on holiday. The first kites are being flown over the housetops. The nights are drawing in. Festival season is upon us.
I saw the above offer in a local shop yesterday, and felt it was almost too good to turn down, but turn it down I did. However all the shops have banners of various sizes wishing us a Happy Dashain 2010 (or 2067 depending on how Nepali they are) and there are many billboards expressing similar wishes.
Dashain is the biggest Hindu festival here in Nepal and consists of 10 days of festivities where various things are celebrated and worshiped (including cars!) and is followed by a week of visiting family etc, a bit like the week between Christmas and New Year in the UK. So in total about 17 days of worship and festivities. It starts tomorrow but the first few days are usually quite quiet and schools and work continues until the bigger celebrations next week.
Tihar then follows at the end of the first week of November. Better known as Diwali this is the festival of light, and we blogged about it last year.
Although Nepal is now officially a secular country, Hinduism is obviously still the de facto religion. It can be a difficult time for Nepali Christians who don’t wish to partake in the celebrations and festivities as there can be pressure from family and community to join in.
We’re spending the holiday by heading of to Pokhara for a 5 days of rest and relaxation, and 3 days of trekking. Thought we’d give trekking a go with Samuel, to see how he, and his porter Dad, find it. We’ve not been to Pokhara since before Samuel was born, so it will be nice to go back, and spend some time away from the hustle, bustle and pollution of Kathmandu.
The photos on this blog were taken on a recent walk (and we confess none by us but by our skilled photographer friend, Catherine).