Nepal: and our tour there this year, we will co-inside with the festival of Deshain, the biggest in the country; both intimate between families, and extrovert in society. Guide books suggest, crudely and simplistically, it is a festival of good over evil, but it represents a more subtle sentiment than that – with no celebration of good over evil at all.
Instead it is a celebration of the Universe, the coming together of Gods and souls – both the souls of animals and humans: dogs, birds, cattle, elephants and even crows are blessed, most are given ‘Tikas’; red vermilion powder mixed to a paste – on what would be the forehead.
Yet there are animal sacrifices too – in the belief they will be reborn in a ‘higher realm,’ as a human. Goats for example, will be asked if they want to be sacrificed by the sprinkling of water over their eyes; this results in the goat shaking its head, a Hindu agreement and ‘yes.’ Being cut off from the outside world until 1959, Nepal is one of the few countries that practices sacrifice.
Unusually, it is also celebrated by Buddhist’s and Hindus (the Buddha himself was a Hindu). Like Christmas in the West, it is the coming together of families; and feasting. Our tour is quite privileged to see Nepal at this time – we’ll give you an intimate knowledge, not only about this festival but the people, their culture and how they celebrate it. There’s a lot of fun, merriment and affection at this time, and it will be interesting to see how this festival reinforces what it is to be a Nepalese. Deshain may only represent part of our tour, but it will enrich your visit. Here is a picture of one of the many makeshift swings put up in the Himalaya at the event.