Can we offer Durga Tulsi

OK in Nepal

We started early this morning. By taxi to Pharping, so left for my host family's home village. And of course the exciting question arose, how many people actually fit in a taxi ... 😉 Everyone who wants to come along. Somehow it fits.

The village is about an hour's drive from Kathmandu. Super nicely located in the mountain range, at about 1,600 meters above sea level in the middle of rice fields. On the way we saw beautiful monasteries and a huge Buddha statue.

When we arrived in the village, we had tea with Krishna's family (tea number 2 this morning).

Then it went to the grandmother. At 81 years old, she is still super fit and a little sensation in the village. Tika, or the red rice blob, is given by the elders. So everyone has been going in and out of Grandmother's for days. We left chocolate and gingerbread and moved on.

The next stop was Gokul's father's brother. In his house we got the next tika and of course we drank tea again and left chocolate.

On the way back to Krishna's family a short swing on the village bamboo swing and Haribo for the children. Funnily enough, they didn't know about gummy bears, but after a brave one started tasting, everyone was thrilled after a few minutes.

It continued with Tika and then Dal Bhat in Krishna's house. Today with fingers and on the floor. We skipped tea number 4.And then the house with the best vibes came from a friend of Krishna's who is a trek guide and who had a lot of alcohol in the house. There was a new blob of rice on the forehead (the others were also slowly crumbling off) and a red fabric chain for a change. And then a cozy get-together with a colorful bustle of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all of whom had come to the home village for the Tika. We drank self-brewed rice schnapps (luckily no tea), continued to distribute gummy bears to young and old and even showed photos of the family from Germany. It was really fun.

Now, back at home, we first need a nap. After all, it is a weekend and a high holiday. In the meantime, relatives continue to give each other the door handle in the family room. After all, Gokul's father is also a senior person of respect from whom many relatives want to receive Tika.

And I have already received the first ideas from you about what kind of social business you could build with HIV women. Thanks a lot for this! Please continue!!! => see page "Ideas Board"

The website for the Transitional Home went online yesterday. Please have a look:

Posted in Dashain, Family, Culture, NepalTagged Dashain, Gokul, Culture, Nepal, tikaLeave a comment

Bijaya Dasami, the victorious 10th day celebrates Rama's victory over the demon Ravana. Various processions and dance troops march through the streets and families visit the family elders to receive blessings and tika (red rice blob on their foreheads and barley seedlings in their hair).

Accordingly, this morning, together with Gokul, I picked up the barley seedlings and other offerings from his in-laws from his in-laws. Since I was with this family for the first time, I also got a large plate of rice with all sorts of other things to try. No mercy and no excuse that I had only had breakfast from 15 minutes. We eat here every two hours. My assumption that I would get rid of the kilos I had fed on in Berlin was very naive. It will probably just add a few more pounds.

Back home we volunteers received a blessing from Gokul's father and mother. Tika call this here. We got the western variant. First a blob of rice from the father on the forehead, then another on top from the mother. Then the plants in the hair. Then we were fed sweet yoghurt and given 50 rupees. And to top it off, we had to drink a glass of Sprite (western variant). Delicious.

Since I've been here I've got at least one splash of paint or rice on my forehead every day. I have to think of something to do with my pony. My current hairstyle is a bit impractical for such ceremonies.

And because the day has such good karma and signals a great restart, Gokul and I have started to structure his ideas and work out the next to-dos. For this I had already brought my favorite utensils - Post-its- from Germany. After the carpet in the living room was full of little notes after 2 hours (unfortunately they didn't get stuck on the walls) Gokul was perhaps a bit overwhelmed. My constant questions about a future vision were certainly a challenge. I learned a lot from it and after the session nothing went into my head.

The concrete next steps are:

  1. To structure the commitment, the selection and the projects of the volunteers in the Transitional Home (i.e. the transition home for children freed from slavery).
  2. To shoot a video with the current volunteers in the Transitional Home and to document their work
  3. Identify a topic with which HIV infected women can start a social business.
  4. Design a concept and a test pilot for a social tour. That means offering a tour for interested tourists and showing them a side of Nepal that you normally don't get to see as a tourist (Transitional Home, HIV Crisis Center, Child Care Center, etc.)

If you have any ideas, please let us know.

What can women who have no special education or qualifications produce or provide as a service so that they can use it to finance their living and their medication and are not dependent on donations?

Maybe you can make something innovative out of plastic? Unfortunately, there is plenty of plastic waste here. Or something related to spirituality? I haven't really come up with anything that can be easily and simply implemented with little funds and start-up capital.

In the afternoon I followed Dominique, another volunteer Bhaktapur hazards. This is an incredibly well-preserved town about 40 minutes away. Here you can get an idea of ​​what Kathmandu must have looked like in the past.

And to celebrate the 10th day of Dasain, there was really something going on in Bhaktapur. Everyone was in their best clothes and dressed up really well. The whole city was on its feet. Children were given toys and ice cream and balloons. Little boys and adults too have let their kites fly on the roofs. There were parades everywhere in the streets and the Nepalese posed for photos in front of the palaces. What a beautiful, colorful and happy hustle and bustle. And what a great setting.

When I got home there were a lot of new shoes in front of the entrance. Visit. Lots of visitors! I took the opportunity to quickly slip into our room to take a shower (the gas boiler fell off the wall this morning. Unfortunately, there is now only cold water) and to escape new dining invitations for the time being. Terrific bad planning! While I was brushing my teeth, Ama was in the house temple and prayed (the temple is next to our room). She came to me curiously and looked at my electric toothbrush in amazement. She had all the time in the world and told me a lot (I don't know what ... she only speaks Nepalese). In the end I showed her all the pictures of Berlin, the Peperkörnern and the Prothmanns and we got along perfectly, even without words.

Then there was food again. Very tasty, very much, very greasy. And banana lassi. Now I would really like to have a schnapps. But there is still wine tonight. We celebrate the farewell of my roommates. Ina flies back to Germany, Kim goes trekking and Dominique goes on a project in Pokhara. Next week I'll probably be alone with the family for a few weeks.

Tomorrow at 7 a.m. we will all drive to Gokul's family's home village to receive further blessings from the elders in the form of red rice blobs and stalks of barley. That’s going to be interesting too.

Posted in Dashain, Kathmandu, Culture, NepalTagged Bhaktapur, Dashain, tikaLeave a comment

What is Dashain

Dashain (also pronounced Dasain) is the longest and most intensely celebrated festival in Nepal. It is referred to by different names: Dasain, Dashain, Vijaya Dashami, and Dahse-ra. Although the way the festival is celebrated and even though it is referred to by different names, most Nepalis celebrate it with the same zeal and enthusiasm for 15 days.
Dashain is the festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Good will always triumph over evil!

When is Dashain?

The 15-day Dashain Festival usually falls in October. In 2014 the festival will be celebrated from September 25th to October 7th. So right at the beginning of Kerstin's journey.

How is Dashain celebrated? What is done during Dashain?

Dashain has its own important and significant story.
As already said, the festival marks the victory of good over evil.
Dashain reminds us that times can be "very hard and very sad" at times, but in the end the good will always prevail.
Dashain falls after the harvest. All the farmers are happy with the fruits that have been brought in, and most of the barns and pantries are filled with rice and grain.
That is why the tika usually consists of rice colored red. Sometimes people also mix the rice with curd - then the tika stays white.
Wherever the people in Nepal live - at Dashain everyone tries to be with their family. The younger family members get their parents' blessings, celebrate with the whole family and forget (for a while) all their worries and fears. That is why Dashain is also called Dashahara. Dasha means (loosely translated): sick and hara means: take away.
It is a tradition to wear new clothes and have a big feast.
Being with the whole family is the most popular aspect of the festival.
Many travelers to Nepal are familiar with the swings, which are made of bamboo and coconut rope. People say that when you get off the ground while swinging on the swing, all bad feelings are taken away and replaced with new, life-giving feelings.
Launching small paper kites is also a beautiful tradition that is part of the Dashain Festival.
All over the country, people praise and worship Durga Bhawani and visit the temples. This is called a “Nauratha” visit. Early in the morning the believers go to the temple of Devi Durga.
Music is being made. Especially for the Dashain Festival there is music called "Mal Shree Dhun".
On the 10th day of the festival, people give "Prasad". Prasad means: “That which gives peace.” In addition, the Hindus offer food, tulsi (basil), flowers and vibhuti (holy ashes) to the gods.
In some areas we also make a “dummy” of Raman (Ravan / Rawana) who is then burned on the 10th day of the festival. There are also excerpts from the performance: Ram Lila (a multi-day theatrical performance of the epic: Ramayana).
Because the Dashain festival is the most popular and longest festival in Nepal, the authorities including the government in Nepal are closed for 7 days (so if you fly to Nepal in October, it is important to know when Dashain is and when the authorities - including TAAN, NTB, Immigration Office etc. are closed or open !!)

What are the most important days of the festival called?

Day 1: Ghatasthapana (Pratipada). A special “Dashain room” is set up at Ghatasthapana, which also serves as a prayer room. This is where the pujas (religious ceremonies) for the goddess Durga Bhawani take place. Barley is scattered (Jamara in Nepal) to pay homage to the “Astha Matrikas” (the 8 tantric goddesses) and the Nava Durgas (nine forms of the goddess Durga).
Day 7: Fulpati (Saptami)
Day 8: Asthami
Day 9: Navami
Day 10: Vijaya Dashami (main Dashain Day) - Dashain ko Tika (Dashain with Tika)
Day 11: Akadasi
Day 15: Kojagrat Purnima

The reason why the 10th day of Dashain Festival is the most important (October 3rd)

The victory of Ram Chandra over Ravan (Rawana)
King Ram Chandra, whose wife Sita was kidnapped by King Rawan, was able to free his wife Sita on the 10th day after the kidnapping. Rawan was defeated. Before that he (King Ram Chandra) had worshiped the goddess Durga Bhawani for 9 days. Therefore, on the 10th day, a doll symbolizing King Rawan is burned. This in turn symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Another reason is the victory of the goddess Durga over Mahishasur
Demons (Asuras = demonic beings) who had become very strong tried to conquer the sky. One of these asuras was Mahishasur. He was in the shape of a bull, gray and very strong. He wreaked havoc on earth. The Asuras attacked the Devas (demigods and gods) and drove them out of heaven. The world collapsed under Mahishasura's cruelty. Then all the gods united their energies. The “Trimurti” gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu released a powerful “band of light” from their mouths and created a young and beautiful virgin with ten hands. In addition, they equipped this maiden with special weapons. The so formed Shakti (female elemental force representing active energy) changed into the form of the goddess Durga. Your mount is a lion. Durga Bhawani fought against Mahishasur. This battle lasted 9 days and nights. On the 10th day the demon was defeated and killed by Durga.

A service from:
Free translation. G. Stratmann
Slightly adjusted.

Posted in NepalTagged Dashain, ChristmasLeave a comment

You can tell it's getting serious. The journey is not only the main topic of conversation more and more often, but also in the apartment one slowly but surely realizes that something is coming.

Suddenly half the dining table was full of crap. Kerstin has cleared out the closet, where all the things are in there that you can definitely use again, as toys for children who come to visit or as a small souvenir or whatever. The task will now be to take away the things that can be given away in Nepal from this hodgepodge, because it is Christmas (Dashain) when Kerstin arrives there.

Posted in PreparationTagged Dashain, Presents, Preparation, ChristmasLeave a comment