Monthly Archives: October 2011

Tihar

Thanks to my fellow blogger Basundhara (Nepal mero maya) for taking such an interest in my blog. I am writing Tihar posts with your comments in mind.

Tihar is the second biggest festival of Hindus in Nepal. It is celebrated over 5 days which are:

Each day has different significance.

This year Tihar is from 25 October to 28 October.

Tihar is also called the festival of lights so houses in Nepal are decorated with lights and garlands of the marigold flowers.  Normally houses are decorated either using traditional diyos  (oil-fed lamps made with clay ), candles or electrical lights hangings from the roof in front of the house. During the night if you walk through the main roads of the city, it looks beautiful with the houses all around light up for the festival.

There are lots of stories/ mytological reasons behind the celebration of Tihar. One of them is that Lord Ram return to Ayodhya  after 14 years of exile. He killed Ravan on Nawani of Dashain thus we celebrate Dashain and his home coming is celebrated in Tihar with lights and flowers.

One of the thing I remember about Tihar is playing Langurburja. It is a game similar to the British dice game “Crown and Anchor”. I remember taking money from dad and running to play a game with my friends. The game is played with 6 dice and a mat. The mat has similar symbols, as the dice, and they are spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs, crown and flag. The player can choose one or more symbols to bet his money on. If he gets at least one die with the same symbol which he bet on, he wins. If he gets two then he wins 2:1, the more he gets on the throw the more money he wins. As a kid we used to play for 25 paisa (equivalent to less than a cent in AUD now) a game. It was more for fun than for the money. I am sure they now play with more money than that.

Adults mostly play cards instead of Langurburja.

Tihar is celebrated a bit differently in various ethnic groups in Nepal. I will be writing my post based on the Newari culture.

As the festival progresses, I will keep posting more on what I did and what each day is about.

Happy Tihar!!!

A Nice Suprise

As you may already know Nepal follows a different calendar than the Gregorian calendar. For most of the children born in Nepal, a birth chart is made by an astrologer as per the Hindu astrological calendar. This chart is called a “Cheena” or “Janam Patro”. So if you look at it as per the Gregorian calendar it looks as if a child’s birthday falls on a different date every year based on the Cheena. A day as per the astrological calendar is called a Tithi. So a child can have his birthday celebrated on his Tithi birthday or as per the Gregorian calendar or both.

Every year, my mum takes my birth chart to an astrology to get my birthday according to the Tithi. And so every year, I have two birthdays. One according to the Cheena, and the other according to the Gregorian calendar.

 On my Tithi birthday , my mum performs some Puja in Nepal for me and on my Gregorian calendar birthday I usually have some friends over and enjoy the day.

While Skyping last Saturday, she told me this year my Tithi birthday was last Tuesday. I thanked her for the gift she had sent me with my friend and told her how much I loved it.

So Tuesday came as any normal day and I even forgot that it was meant to be my Tithi birthday for this year. We had invited some of my cousins and my brother for dinner(not for the birthday of course) that night so my head was occupied with all the cooking and planning I needed to do for the evening.

I had to go for a training from work in the city that day so I didn’t reach home till 6pm. When I was rushing home to cook, AS called to let me know that he had to stay back at work a little longer (it always seems to happen when we have plans eeeerrrrrrrrrrr). I was annoyed but I knew he would have come early if he could to help me with the preparations.

I went home and quickly started making dinner. While I was cooking, AS came home. When he opened the door, I saw him carrying a stunning bouquet packed with luscious red chocolate hearts. It also had a card with very sweet message. “Light of my light, heart of my heart, you’re my true love under the stars. Happy Birthday Love”. He handed me the chocolate bouquet and wished me happy birthday. I was so touched and felt so special. I wasn’t expecting anything at all as I knew he would get me something on the day of my other birthday.

I guess this is another perk of being married/in relationship. You get unexpected surprises which warms your heart .His gesture brought a big smile to my face and made me feel very loved.

I love you baby. Thank you soooooooooooo much.

With marriage comes great responsibility!

No matter who you marry, marriage comes with great responsibilities. And I think you have more responsibilities when you marry someone who comes from a background where there are lots of tradition and culture.

As I am not in Nepal, I am not forced to follow all those culture and traditions but at the same time I miss not being part of something important and fun. I remember while growing up there, I used to love all the festivals (of which there was one at least once a month if not more). There was always something to do, eat or watch. I feel sad thinking that if we settle in Australia for life, our kids will miss out on all those opportunity to enjoy and learn Nepalese tradition and culture.

Anyway, in Nepal, the first year of marriage is considered to be very important. So during every festival, there are things you are meant to do. This affects how you celebrate Dashain, Tihar, Father’s Day, Mother’s day and more. I will only learn all these as the time goes by and each festival comes along.

The first one for me was Father’s Day in September. I was grateful to my MIL and the rest of the family when she made my dad’s Father’s Day special. Even when I was living so far away from him, my MIL made sure things were done according to the tradition and so she sent all the yummy stuff to my dad. It included Rotis, sweets, cakes, fruits, Sagun , cooked meat, Achar, whisky and a shirt for my dad.

I got to see the photos and I was really happy. My dad was pleased too.

In Dashain, I wasn’t expected to do much but me and AS wanted to grow Jamara and so we did. If I was in Nepal, it would have been a different story.

Now the next big festival , Tihar is coming. My brother is here so I do my Bhai Tika here. While Skyping with my MIL, she reminded me that as this is my first Bhai Tika after the wedding, I should do something special. She even gave me recipes for a few dishes that I could make.

Since that conversation, I am in a panic mode. I am sure I can’t do what they do in Nepal but still I have to try and do the best that I can. Normally I just buy some sweets from an Indian grocery store and some fruits and some Masala. But now to make this Bhai tika special, I have to make some Rotis myself as we can’t buy Nepali Rotis here. And I don’t know how to make them yet.

My cousin K is going to help me make some of those items. I also have my best friends, YouTube and Google, to help me but I am still stressed out. I am trying to think about what I can do to make the day special. I am really worried that I will stuff it up.

I think my MIL and the rest of the family have been very kind and supportive with me and are doing their share in the relationship to make me and my family comfortable so now the ball is in my court.

I know it is my responsibility now to shine as a “Good Bhuhari(DIL)” but I am not sure how well I will handle these responsibilities.

I am scared to disappoint, not sure who? May be me first, then AS, and both our families. Worried worried worried!!!

A Different Perspective

I have read a few blogs from the perspective of a wife, a husband or a daughter in law in an intercultural relationship but never from the prespective of a mother in law.

Yesterday I was talking to one of my colleague and I came to know a bit about the perspective of a mother in law and it was quite interesting so I am sharing it here with all of you. 

My colleague is from Russia and she moved to Australia more than 20 years ago. She has two boys who were both born and brought up here. So they are more Aussie than she wants them to be.  

Anyway, her older son was in a relationship with a Japanese girl for a while. They met when she came to Australia as an exchange student.  

Last month they got married in Japan so my colleague and her family flew to Japan to attend the wedding. 

 She was not very happy about how everything was working out before she left the country. A few things that she mentioned were: 

  • She wanted a Russian daughter in law.
  • She felt that her new daughter in law was not very open when she visited her. (She stayed in the same house with my colleague.)
  • She wanted to be a part of the wedding preparation but she was never consulted about anything.
  • She wanted the wedding to be in Australia especially after the nuclear problem in Japan recently.
  • She was scared that her son was planning to move to Japan after the wedding. 

 Yesterday I saw her for the first time after the wedding. When I asked her how the wedding went, she was positive about her experience. 

 She said she is happy about lots of things after visiting Japan as she can now see that some of the things she was not happy about with her new DIL is more cultural than personal. 

For example, she was a bit sad when her DIL didn’t hug her when they met. Now she is happy that DIL doesn’t hug her mum either which means that hugging is not a part of the Japanese culture. It made her realise that her DIL is not trying to keep a distance from her; it just is not a part of Japanese way of life. 

 Also she was happy that the bride’s family made a lot of effort to make them feel comfortable and welcome in Japan. 

 The most important thing for her was, that her son and DIL spent lots of time with them and made sure that they were looked after while they were there. So now she doesn’t worry about how her DIL is taking her son away from ber as she feels that her DIL is a part of her family now.  

I think all relationships are difficult in the beginning but for intercultural relationship it is more difficult for a man and woman but same goes for their families as well.

My early birthday gift

I am not a very big fan of yellow gold so when we were getting married I wanted a white gold ring but as we were getting married in Nepal, it was not possible. In Nepal, if you wear white gold, people think it is sliver so both our families didn’t like the idea.(I love my wedding ring now).

During our wedding, I received lots of jewellery from my family and AS’s family. I also received some jewellery from my and AS’s relatives. Most of them were of yellow gold .When I was coming here my mum and MIL told me to take a few of them with me. I didn’t want to but still I brought a few rings, a white gold diamond necklace set,  few ear rings, a small necklace, a ruby necklace and a few gold bangles. I left the rest of my jewellery with my MIL.

I never thought I would miss my jewellery but when we returned to Sydney, we had a wedding reception for our friends and family here who couldn’t come to Nepal. I had to dress up as a bride again and that day I missed my jewellery for the first time. I so wished I had my long gold necklace.

After that I had to attend few Nepalese functions where I wore a sari. I missed my jewellery then and of course when it was Dashain where everyone wore their best gold jewellery, I missed mine again.

I was a bit surprised that my preference for gold had changed. I still loved white gold and diamonds but I don’t mind yellow gold any more. Is this only happening because I am married now?

   

Anyway, I was telling my mum about this while I was Skyping the other day. A friend of mine has just returned to Sydney from Kathmandu recently. I met with him yesterday and to my surprise, my mum sent me a golden necklace with 9 stones (Nav Ratna) with matching bangles as my birthday gift. Oho I just loved it.

Even though my birthday is still 2 weeks away, I received my first birthday gift for this year. Thank you mum!