Already half way through January, so the final installment of travels over the recent festive season is slightly out of date! However, there’s one photo that I want to share….
But first to Lhosar. There is a significant Gurung community in Gorkha, and we happened to be there on December 30 as the Gurung community across the nation observed Tamu Lhosar, the new year celebration of Gurungs.
“Gurungs divide time in a cycle of 12 years, passing through symbols of 12 animals for 12 years. This new year is the cycle of the cat. It is called lohokor; for each year a special name is given, which is known as class (Lho). Lhosar also heralds the change in ‘Lho’. According to the oriental astrological system, there are 12 lhos — eagle, serpent, horse, sheep, monkey, bird, dog, deer, mouse, cow, tiger and cat.
…Each year is marked by a particular animal and they are arranged in a single circle on paper, closely following the Tibetan calendar with its 12 animals. In the early days, when there was no calendar system in Nepal, the 12 rotation system was used to calculate people’s age”. (Source: Himalayan Times On-Line 31 December 2010)
The family at the guest house invited us to share with them in the festivities organised by their village, and so it was that we ended up eating & dancing with the community in the evening. (You are saved from categorical proof that white man can’t dance as I didn’t have my camera with me…)
However, earlier in the day, a reminder that caste based discrimination still exists in Nepal. Dalits are a group of people traditionally regarded as of lower class and unsuitable for making personal relationships. Dalits are a mixed population of numerous caste groups all over South Asia, and speak various languages. To find out more about the Dalit Welfare Organisation, which works in Nepal to combat this discrimination, click here.
The little girl in the picture is from a caste known as Gandarbars, who are musicians. She is a neighbour of the woman who runs the guest house, and was watching her grandfather playing music.
Outside looking in seems an apt metaphor….