CELEBRATING TIHAR

We woke early to another stunning  day in this small Himalayan village. The excitement of today's celebration was becoming infectious, and it took us away from the sadness of the devastation surrounding us, and the continuous fear of the small tremors we have been feeling since arriving. We are not even 100% sure if we are feeling movement under our feet or just imagining it. 

We have been invited to several local homes to celebrate with the families, our first stop was Shanti's grand parents home. Both Christine, myself and a good friend Robyn sponsor Shanti to attend college in Kathmandu.  Arriving at the home we were greeted with happy smiling faces, woven mats were placed on the verandah were we were asked to sit and enjoy this amazing landscape of rolling hills and deep valleys. The children and their mothers sat near threading marigolds to make mallas for the celebration, we could smell the delicious aromas of the cooking wafting through the window. Twin goats were born 3 days earlier and they were jumping over us with excitement, happy to be caught and given pat and cuddle.
Ama (Mother) and her daughters 

Grandfather invited us into his home were we sat on the floor, coloured dye was mixed by the sisters and then used to place a tikka on the forehead of their brothers as a blessing. I was invited to give a tikka to the  grandfather who has  not had a sister place a tikka on his forehead  for 20years. We were both made to tears. It was such a great honour to be included as part of this family tradition.

After the ceremony of all the boys in the family receiving their tikka and were presented gifts of sweets and fruit, we in turn were presented with a plate ladden  with home made local food which included local 
rice donuts, fruit, corn chips, boiled eggs, soya beans, swallowed down with local raksi (rice wine). I had bought with me to the village 15 kgs of  knitted blankets lovingly made by a group of women inMudgee  NSW, one of these we presented to the grandmother, who was overwhelmed.

Several hours later we were escorted by Shanti to our guide's home. Dil has a big family, 5 uncles, 3 brothers and 4 sisters, unfortunately he and his brothers will not receive tikka' this year as their belovered grandfather was killed during the earthquake. Today has been such a privilege to be part of their celebration.



Leaving Dils home we decided it was time to head back to our camp, but along the way we were enticed by joining in a gambling board game with the teenagers, big money of 5 10, 20 rupees,
5, 10 and 20cents. Jen managed to win every game, her excitement was totally infectious. 

Arriving at our camp totally exhausted it was time for a nanny nap, before another round of candle light activities in the evening, which included singing, dancing. This time the family joined us at our camp site for a delcious dinner of chichen curry. We went to bed feeling very emotionally overwhelmed, but on the hand feeling a sense of belonging and gratitude to these wonderful giving people.