Dasain 7: Home for the Holidays

Oct 19, 2011 | Nepal


Neel with his mother, wife, and sons after the Dasain blessing.


On the 10th day of Dasain, the bloodshed has ended. The eldest member of a family blesses everyone younger, placing a mass of red powder-uncooked rice-yoghurt-mashed banana on each forehead and invoking wishes for success and well-being in the coming year. Over the next two or three days, people will travel all around visiting extended family and receiving blessings from the eldest in each household.

I happily received a blessing from my friend Neel’s 80+ year old mother until she blessed me with a child in the coming year! Not uncommon, she’s concerned that I’m past my prime at 40 and will have no children to take care of me when I grow old. (My tour operator was also asking this week if I’m ever getting married, and he was only half joking.) Neel and his wife and I laugh easily, and I accept the concern along with a red tika on the forehead, barley flowers for my hair, and a few crisp rupee notes. Nonetheless, I rid myself of those blessed rupees the first chance I get, paying the taxi driver on the way home.