Monday, 18 October 2010

Culture file (Tihar and Bhai Tika - Nepal)

Tihar is a five-day festival worshipping the Hindu Goddess of Fortune and Wealth (Goddess Laxmi) as well as different animals. During this time, great meals are cooked at home, kites are flown and homes and streets are decorated.

The Bhai Tika festival in Nepal is celebrated on the fifth and final day of the Festival of Light (Tihar) during the months of October and November and celebrates the bond between a sister and her brother. Bhai in Nepali means brother and Tika is the temporary mark of saffron and rice grains on a brother’s forehead which consists of five colours (red, green, blue, yellow and white) and protects him from evil. A sister prays for her brother's long life and draws a boundary (mandap) around him with oil using doob grass. A sister then gives her brother a shagun of fruit, sweets and gifts. She also sings and prays for her brother's longevity and prosperity. At the end of the ceremony, a brother blesses his sister and presents her with gifts or money.

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