05 November, 2010


We arrived in Dang during the Tihar festival, of which the meaning is still unclear to me. I do know that it is celebrated all over the country and is the time for people to give thanks for their family, and to give pujah (blessings) to Laxmi (goddess of prosperity). It is also a festival of lights and in the city lights were strung all over houses, buildings and around shops. IN the rural area, candles are the preferred method of light so Chandra made candles

Jaya made up the little burning pots (or whatever they are called!) using a specific number of strings per wick and 3 wicks per pot – the wicks were soaked in mustard oil and then the oil was poured into each pot. 

Bhola takes these little beauties very seriously!

 Jaya (and Srijana) then set about making lei’s out of marigolds and festival bowls out of leaves.

The copper and silver were polished

And then the celebration began! It was the day of the dog!! (for lack of a better explanation) The three dogs (who all happen to be pregnant) were given rice, a cookie and some roti in the festival handmade bowls and Jaya’s leis were put on their necks. Since the dogs are really more of dogs then pets, they were a bit confused as to what was going on. One of the dogs is friendlier (and happily ran up to me upon my arrival the day before!). She sat quietly while Nishan placed the lei on her neck and then greedily started to gobble up the treat prepared especially for her.

The other two dogs were not so sure what exactly was happening and kept walking away from Nishan. He persisted, though and was able to put the leis on their necks, but they would not come to the area to eat the food, so once again, Nishan went to them, following one of them around the corner of the prayer room, and then to the other in the rice field.

After eating their fill, the dogs wandered over to relax in the sun.

The friendly one, feeling very special, joined Eli and Nishan for a rest.

Ms. Dog, I take it you are having a really nice day!!!

That night as we sat up on the roof deck watching the amazing stars the dogs would bark occasionally. We figured they were shouting out every hour “Hey, it’s still my day” or “2 more hours left of my day”. Since the “Day of the Cow” is tomorrow, there may have been an argument between the cows and the dogs…such as

Cow - “Hey, shut up, my day is coming soon”
Dog - “It doesn’t matter, it’s still the day of the dog until 11:59pm

Cow – “Big deal, it’s getting late and they honor me every day, not just once a year”
Dog – “That may be so, but we have some foreigners here that love us and BTW, it’s not Cambodia, we won’t get eaten!!”

Isn't it wonderful what goes through ones head without television!

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