Another unbirthday adventure presented itself in the form of a tika celebration!! I am not from Nepal, nor do I practice the Hindu religion, but I was graciously invited by a good friend to celebrate “Tika” aka Vijaya Dashami. She explained it as “A festival that comes once in a year, its blessing from god and you become fortunate.” The blessings come in the form of tika, a red paste-like substance (placed on the forehead), fruit, and grassy plants tucked behind an ear. The blessings come from the god, Durga (spiritually) and from elders (physically) at a temple or house respectively.

tika banana and me

Tika, grass, banana – YAY!

My first tika was at my friend’s house, in which she made a lovely spread of Nepalifood and desserts food… most of which was spicy!! Except for the desserts (top left and bottom corners). (Sorry, I don’t remember the names of the dishes. They were hard to pronounce with my brutish tongue anyway) OH! But I do know that the bottom middle pic is beaten rice…aaannnd that’s the extent of my knowledge of Nepali food…beaten rice and spicyyy. Yea I rummaged for some tumms after this…

Since, it was a special day we got to dress in the traditional Kurta Salwar. A flowing tunic with intricate beaded patterns, pants and scarf/wrap. We also danced with the hand spinning and the hip flicking, indigenous to Nepali/Indian cultures.Eat, dance, pray

In addition to the eating and dancing I also had the privilege of watching the ritual preparation. To make the tika, ricepreparing the tika was coated with holy red powder, and for forehead sticking ability; curd, banana and sugar was added. A flower was shredded for the petals to mix with the grass while an incense stick was held upright by an apple. In another bowl an oil soaked wick was lit. All of which created a somber ambiance. Though my hosts were young in age they made me feel the years of tradition passed down from generation to generation.

The eldest of the group gave the first blessings. Then husband to wife and family to family. Here I became an honorary sister and was able to witness, firsthand, intense emotional exchanges while tika was applied. I couldn’t understand the words being said, but I could feel the love behind it, which was most notable between siblings and spouses. All these feelings of love, pride, happiness, well-wishing (insert more feel good emotions here) coated me with a blanket of contentment. Blessings were thrown left and right (literally), uncooked rice and petals were thrown in our hair (thankfully, not bananas heh).

the tika experience

It was an amazing experience and I was truly blessed (literally) to have had an opportunity to share it with these wonderful people. If ever you get the chance to become a part of a “tika,” do it (just be wary of the food, unless you like spicy… or being in the bathroom). I am forever grateful to my friend (pictured below) who welcomed me with open arms to this gathering.

sunita tika_edited-1

Thanks for sharing this adventure with me.

Stay Curious!