Students and teachers came to school dressed in traditional Nepali attire for a day of song and dance performances, painting, and games to kick off the 5-day Hindu festival of Tihar!

Tihar is a holiday to pay respect to gods, animals, and even one’s own body.  Our partner school’s commencement ceremony incorporated traditions from multiple Nepali ethnic groups (a great way to celebrate cultural diversity in school!).

In the tradition of the Bahunchettri caste, students sang Deusi Bhailo, a playful song urging teachers to contribute gifts to a straw plate which they carried around the school.  These gifts are usually fruit or money (the money is later donated to a nonprofit or to an extracurricular program).  This tradition seems to really set a good example of giving and altruism for the kids.

In the Newari caste tradition, students performed a ritual called Maha Puja.  First, students sat cross-legged and drew mandalas — intricate patterns made with colored powders and flower petals.  They then lit candles and made offerings to their mandalas with items such as traditional foods.  This act represents a form of inner, or “self”, worship.

Follow TIEs blog to hear more updates about Tihar!  And check out our gallery of the gorgeous mandalas created by the students on the school’s courtyard and other Tihar festivities!

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