Photo of the Day: Celebrating Nepal’s largest festival away from home

Bristi Poudel, an international, second-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Physiology, celebrates Nepal’s largest Hindu festival in her apartment Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in Carbondale, Ill. “I feel like missing home while celebrating the biggest festival, Dashain,” Poudel said. “Receiving blessings and tika from the elder ones and putting tika to the younger ones gives me immense joy when I think of it. Coming here to the U.S.A. and trying to cope in the different culture is challenging for me but I have not forgotten my values and culture even though I am away from home,” Poudel said. Dashain is one of the major national festivals of Nepal which comes every year during the month of October and lasts for fifteen days. It is the festival of giving blessings to the young and celebrating with friends and family by receiving tika [a mixture of vermillion powder, rice, and yogurt that is worn on the forehead] and jamara [barley sprouts that are often worn behind the ear] from the elder members of the family. By giving tika and jamara to the younger members of the family, they are bestowing good fortune, health, and long life upon them. In Hindu culture, not having jamara and tika during Dashain would be like not having a Christmas tree on Christmas. On this occasion, people wear new clothes, eat delicious food, invite relatives to play cards, and celebrate with love and happiness. Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil by representing the victory of the Goddess Durga. According to Hindu Mythology, the demon Mahidhasura created terror in the world where god lives but the Goddess Durga killed the demon. The first nine days symbolize the battle which took place in different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally defeated Mahidhasura.  (Monica Sharma | @mscli_cks)