Bright Lights. Big Bangs. Music. Dancing. Welcome to Tihar.
A whole week of festivities. With the loudest and brightest occuring last Saturday night (21 Oct) and last Monday (23 Oct). The houses in the villages have been decorated. The shops in the city have been decorated. Garlands of flowers adorn the doorways to any establishment, and a bright powder display lit by candles draws your eye earthward. The occasional banging firecracker punctuating the relentless noise of the evening.
Both nights saw the young (and the young at heart or the just plain merry) out and about singing and dancing and earning a few bob. In Kathmandu some of the youngsters were most impressive in their displays. Dressed in Newari costume and doing a wee dance all in time while they chanted something that made all the adults smile indulgingly and part with their hard earned rupee. Some other little whipper snappers however saw the great chance at giving a halfpie attempt and fleecing foreigners for their dough. Very entrepaneureal. I myself was involved in one of these halfpie attempts; a very merry hotel employee dragged me outside and got me to chant the "chorus" while he did most of the work. I in turn dragged anybody within grabbing distance into this little escapade. The poor chaps in the shop next to the hotel got the full brunt of this half baked Nepali/Kiwi performance, and to their credit just burst into laughter (while trying to coach me on the finer language points). Barefoot as I was, I scarpered before I could be lead anywhere else. My cohort was so full of drink I think he barely noticed. In Bistachhap by comparison it was all about the fun. We volunteers joining in and making right clowns of ourselves as the onlookers and indeed at times, fellow participants couldn't contain their delighted (or perhaps disbelieving) chuckles. What can I say? We aim to please! A group of older gents were taking part aswell, armed with guitar and smiles a plenty, they went from house to house, their number constantly growing, having a ball and earning quite a few pennies. Which they then donated to the local temple. The lads were still wearing their smiles the next morning. Good on 'em!
The last day of Tihar is celbrated by sisters "protecting" their brothers with Bhai Tikka. Its a chance for girls to "spoil" their brothers with a small short ceremony which everyone looks forward to and can participate in (including yours truely- yay!). The ceremony itsself involves the sister drawing a cirlce around her brother(s) with oil and water. Incense is burnt and tikka (powdered dye) is applied to the forhead, sometimes dyed rice is also applied. The sister then offers a garland of dried flowers, and a plate of food and the brothers give her money. Its awesome to see and be a part of, 'corse its also cool to check out everyone else's tikka to see who got the best one!
Both in the villages and in Kathmandu, Newar girls were wearing their traditional dress. They look amazing. Absolutely beautiful. Very regal. Unfortuatley as is the case the world over, the boys venture out in what they deem to be "cool". Forgoing traditional attire for modern garb. Next to the girls they look rather shabby. Yay the girls!!