Celebrating Dashain at the childrens’ home

Articles, Human Rights, Street children

I was very excited on my second visit to the childrens’ home. Not only because I was thrilled about seeing the boys again, but also because we were going to celebrate Dashain, the biggest Hindu festival of the year, in which all Nepalis, regardless of their cast, worship the goddess Durga with ceremonies, rituals and animal sacrifices.

Dashain celebration at a temple in Parwanipur.

It was very interesting. I gladly didn’t see the animal sacrifice part of the festival, and just experienced the “happy” celebration. The boys got new clothes: a pair of jeans and a shirt, and they wore them happily when we went to the fair (or ‘mela’, in Nepali). There, we ate some snacks and sweets and the boys bought little toys or a traditional necklace with a golden coin with a Hindu god such as Shiva or Hanuman (‘the monkey God’, one of the boys told me), with a bit of pocket-money they had.

During Dashain, it is very common to fly kites, particularly in the rooftops of Kathmandu. According to the tradition, flying kites is a way to send a message to Indra, the God of rain, telling him that there is no need for more rain, since the festival is celebrated after the monsoon season. 

In Birgunj, the boys also took their kites and spend a whole afternoon running around with them in the garden, laughing. Some of the boys were really good and managed to make the kite fly up in the sky, while other kites were barely flying at all. But all the boys had a good time, and seeing them I had as much fun as them.

Before that, the kids were still going to school but getting ready for holidays. On the last day of classes, the school organised a special programme with speeches and performances. Samrat and Rohit danced a song that they had been practising a lot at home, and Ramesh sang a song. I was watching everything with amusement, trying to go as unnoticed as possible. But then I got put in the spotlight when one of the teachers asked me to give a speech. Even though I’m not really a fan of speaking in public, (especially when I have nothing prepared) I accepted and found myself explaining where I come from, what I do and why I came here. I received an ovation from my audience when I said in Nepali: “malai Nepal man parcha”, which means ‘I like Nepal’. And then this phrase became a joke that the boys kept repeating to me the following days.   

One of the boys singing a popular Hindi song.

*Article published on the website of Our Sansar, a british NGO helping street children in Nepal.

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