Each October, Nepal celebrates Deshain, a festival which brings families together in a 10 day celebration. In a predominately Hindu and Buddhist nation – and like Christmas – central to the festival is feasting; a family dinner.
To my knowledge there is not one turkey in Nepal, instead millions of goats are sacrificed. Each goat’s soul when passed is believed to go on a celestial journey across the universe to be reborn as a human, anywhere in the world. It is therefore seen as a gift. This journey, like that of humans, can take anything from 2 weeks to several years.
Only male animals can be sacrificed in Nepal, females are seen as mothers of the earth. Nepal is also a sizable Buddhist nation with many different Buddhist traditions, not all following Tibetan Buddhism, and not all are vegetarians.
One Buddhist sect of monks worships alcohol – particularly in the festival. Becoming intoxicated is seen as an act of religious healing. A temple in central Kathmandu is also devoted to alcohol, with pilgrims pouring beer, whisky and wine over the heads of deities.
Nepal; landlocked from the rest of the world until the late 1950s, retains many of these Hindu traditions, long gone in previously colonised Hindu nations such as India. Those coming on our last tour of Nepal this year, will visit at the time of the festival.