29 September, 2009 – It’s the time of Dashain and so a time for Lhotsampa communities to get together.
In this festival to commemorate the victory of good over evil, family members, wherever they are, make it a point to come home to apply tika, made of uncooked rice and curd, on the forehead and receive blessings for a good and long life from their elders.
In Tsirang, people have come from Phuentsholing and Samdrupjongkhar to celebrate. A housewife in Tsimasham, Tika Pradhan, 43, travelled all the way to Suntaley, Tsirang, along with her husband and daughter. “We make it a point to come home every year on this festival,” she said. “Receiving blessings from family and elders is important for our daily life.”
Known as Vijaya Dashami, or the Day of Victory, the tika ceremony begins with the oldest person in your family putting tika on the youngest, then the second youngest in the family and so on.
According to a private company employee, M B Subba, who took leave to attend the ceremony, faith, hope, inspiration and blessings are an integral part of the ceremony. “I never missed it ever since I got into job,” he said.
The person, who puts tika, also gives money. “It is a note of appreciation,” said Nar Bahadur, 89, from Manidangra. Nar Bahadur applied tika to 21 people in his family, who had come all the way from Wangduephodrang and Thimphu to receive his blessings. He gave a Nu 20 note to everyone.
Villagers also gather at the gup’s house to receive raja tika from the village pandit. “Since the gup is the head of our locality, we have to receive blessings from his home too,” said a Gosaling resident.
Speaking to Kuensel, a pandit, who performed the puja at the Gosaling gup’s house, Pushpalal Acharya, 80, said that it is important for family members to gather together since Dashain is one of the main festivals of their community where the elders bless the younger ones for a good life ahead. “Since we made prayers to Durga puja for the last 10 days, bad luck and bad things will be eliminated from the life of a person, who receives the blessings,” he said.
Gosaling gup Kharka Bahadur Tamang, 38, explained that Dashain is a cultural ceremony, an opportunity for a family to get-together and an occasion to shed the stresses of a mundane life through recreational activities.
It is also an occasion for a good meal and new clothes. Dashain is celebrated to mark Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, the Lanka king, and his return to Ayodhya, an ancient city in Uttar Pradesh, India, from exile after 14 years.
In Bhutan, Dashain was declared a national holiday in 1980.
By Tashi Dema, Kuensel