It is the Nepali festival of Tihar, much like the Hindu festival Diwali, which means “festival of lights.” And all I can say is that it is simply beautiful here!
Tonight, the Kathmandu Valley is lit up like a Christmas Tree, and since we still don’t know many people here we spent the evening taking in all the illumination, fireworks, and singing/dancing/celebrating from our balcony, which turned out to be a pretty good vantage point since our neighbors had a big party. It was the biggest night of festivities so far.
Tihar is a five-day festival, during which Nepalis honor crows, dogs, cows, the Goddess Laxmi, and the brothers of their families, among other things I am sure I left out. Typically, each “honoree” has a day devoted entirely to them, but we were told the Lunar Calendar this year was slightly off, so they had to double up a bit. Yesterday, all of the dogs in the city were sporting tikka and marigold garlands. Today, it was the cows.
One of the main goals of Tihar is to draw the Hindu Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, to a person’s home by cleaning and lighting all the candles, string lights, and fireworks you have. Also, singing, dancing, and trails of rice and tikka apparently help get her in the door. Tonight we witnessed bands of carolers going from house to house, singing and dancing for the residents in return for a small donation. Every few minutes fireworks go off.
Here’s a few photos from what we’ve seen so far!
The lights of Kathmandu at Tihar.
Candles from our balcony.
Women making a rice mandala for Tihar at the local supermarket, Bhat Bateni.
Our landlord's dog Puppy, with his necklace and tikka.