“My religion is to live and die without regret.”
I joined the children on Tuesday for a special day at their school where they worship the goddess of education. They believe that if they perform this ritual every year it will give them knowledge and help them to become better students. Though it is a worthy thing to strive for, like most Hindu rituals, it has turned into a mindless set of steps that they preform just because their parents did. I have found India and Nepal to be the most and least religious places I have ever visited, exactly for this reason. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has labelled themself with a brand of religion, yet most if them just perform a few rituals and think nothing more of it. When I asked families I have stayed with, predominately Hindus, what god meant to them, or why they perform certain rituals, they are slightly perplexed how I could question it and tell me “that’s just how it is,” or “that’s what Indians/Nepalis believe.” Many of them “believe” in their many gods just because everyone around them does, and, in my opinion, because their culture has programmed them to. Of course, there are worst things than praying to an education goddess, so even if it was a mindless ritual, it was one I didn’t mind participating in.
Here is how you bless the goddess. You take some of the red rice mix and put it on her forehead (this is called a tica). Then you take a few flower pedals and put it onto the picture of the goddess, wave your hands in front of the burning candles, then put your hands together and say namaste. When you are finished someone will put that red rice mixture into your forehead, and you are done.
Enough about religion though! Most of the day was spent watching the children perform dances they had choreographed, and quite a few of them wore traditional outfits from different regions of Nepal which was interesting to see.
Some of the most popular dancers of the day were boys. There were three little guys in particular (grade five or six) who were very talented break dancers!
My girls see very excited to dress up. Most of them took this “no uniform day” to wear western clothes, though a few chose beautiful traditional outfits instead.
A few more photos from the day.
Typical me in my shawl, which is more like a blanket… I love it!