(October 7th, 2011)
I am amaized more and more by the patience of the people over here. They work so hard, through these hot, melting days, and never complain. They simply carry on doing what they have to do, and always, but always, have a smile for you.
Today was the last day of day of Dasain. I was welcomed to join the family tradition of taking the Tika. It’s done from a red powder and water, mixed into a purple paste – and rice. The eldest put it on the foreheads of the youngest: fathers, mothers and grandparents to their children, older brothers to their youngest ones. It’s a blessing. The oldest ones will always accompany it with a mantra.
A plate similar with the one used for bringing offering to the Gods it’s used in this day as well; only now, the family is being celebrated. Tika, flowers, fruits and water. The red powder, a special flower raised in the first 12 days of the festival that have passed until now, bananas and apples, and a bowl of water. You sit with your legs crossed, and with your palms together and opened. The Tika is put on your forehead and the mantra is scanted. Like a continuation, some of it it is spread in strops over your head. You lead it down, and the flowers are caught up into your hair. Once over, both old and young put their palms together like in a prayer: Namaste!
The houses are blessed with the Tika as well. The father of each family puts the Tika and a few flowers over each door. Only after that, the family blessing can start. And we only eat, late after we were given the Tika.
With the tracks of red paint on our foreheads, we leave the houses late in the afternoon to close the day with a swing. Nepali tradition is, that everyone, child and adult, should be lifted of the ground at least once during Dasain. So we walk through the fresh air of the evening, through the wide fields of rice that had become part of our lives these days. Far away in the woods, a giant swing from bamboo will fly us under the moonlight.