One of the greatest festivals in Nepal is Dasain. It reminds me of Christmas in a way: same shopping fever when everybody buys gifts and new clothes, same gathering of all relatives together for celebration and same joyfull athmosphere around.
The ten days of Dasain represent both a battle of the forces of good over evil followed by celebrations for the success of good. The festival starts with the planting of jamara, a small plant whose needle shaped leaves are considered auspicious.
During Dasain days old and young enjoy hand-made swings. They consist of four huge bamboo poles, strongly tied together two by two on top, their "legs" spread out and solidly fixed in the ground. A swing made of twisted and interwined bamboo and other fibres and attached to the bar with thick ropes. When Dasain is over they are immediataly dismantled.
The most important day in Dasain is known as Vijaya Dasami, the Day of Victory. At this day each Nepali calls on his elder relatives, to begin with his parents and grand-parents with the purpose of receiving from them the tika - the red dot, a mixture of vermilion powder, rice and curd, placed on the forehead. The tika is an ancient emblem of victory and power, often bestowed upon soldiers on their way to battle, and is now a blessing of good fortune.
Along with tika the elders also give their family members the jamara that was planted on the first day of Dasain, and money.
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