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Dashain : Festival of Victory

Dashain is that magical time of year for Hindus…

…The Christians celebrate Christmas, Jewish people worship at Hanaka, Muslims have Eid and we Hindus and especially Nepali Hindus have our Dashain! These are the great festivals that bring so many families around the World together to celebrate and eat and exchange gifts and to share their love for one another.

As a migrant worker or as a student studying abroad or as a businessperson travelling for extended periods for work or as a soldier fighting for a foreign military, we Nepali’s love to travel and it means that we often spend many years away from home. Back in Nepal Dashain is the longest National Holiday with 5 days set aside for family and fun but for those of us living abroad we most likely don’t get any days off work unless the Dashain period coincides with weekends. It is tough and emotionally a strain on Nepali’s living abroad when they know their families are all together at this special time of year and it is also tough for our parents and siblings knowing that we are away from home. Hardest perhaps for our families back home is knowing that we will be missing the 10th day of Bijaya Dashami when a mixture of rice, yoghurt and vermillion is prepared. Elders put this Tika on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with abundance in the coming years. Red also symbolizes the blood that ties the family together. Elders will bless younger family members with a boon of Dakshina which is often a small amount of money. It can still get quite expensive though especially as Nepali families can be so large! During the putting on of the Tika, the elders recite Sanskrit mantras to bless the recipient with good health and prosperity.

For those of us who cannot take the time off work or studies to travel back to Nepal to celebrate this important festival with our families, what can we do instead to feel like we are contributing to everyone’s enjoyment and to help our parents and siblings at a time of year which can be quite expensive?

During Dashain our families would love to go to the local Mela to ride the “Ping” (Bamboo swings). They would sit in large groups to play card games like “Marriage” and many family members especially the younger generations will gather on rooftops to take part in epic Kite flying and sky battles.

These activities all cost money and in Nepal most companies pay a 13th Month bonus to their staff to help cover the costs of this festive time of year. Even if you can’t afford to send a lot you can still help a little by sending money to buy gifts like colourful Kite reels for little siblings or a new sari for your mother or towards the costs of special dishes to serve to guests and traditional sweets like Rashmalai (my favourite)!

Group of Indian assorted sweets or mithai with diya

IME London is here beside you as always at this special time of year to help you send a little of that festive spirit back home. Why not remit some money home to loved ones with this Dashain special offer?

Be wise and be smart. Good luck.

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