Tihar - the Festival of Lights

Pretty much every day in Nepal I find some new delightful surprise. Today's is that this is the first day of Tihar (Nepali: तिहार) also known as Deepawali,  a five-day-long Hindu and Buddhist festival.

I found this out when I came downstairs in the morning to go to the gym and my ever-friendly hosts greeted me with "Happy Tihar!" and proceeded to explain this delightful festival.

An integral part of the festival is that businesses and homes are decorated with strings of lights (identical to those we use in the West to decorate Christmas trees), as it is said that the more lights you have the better your luck will be in the forthcoming year. With every passing day, more and more of the skyline at night becomes multicoloured; it is particularly visible as there are relatively few streetlights in Kathmandu to detract from all the colours. As if the lights weren't enough colour, garlands of flowers are also liberally put up everywhere, which of course means that there are untold numbers of vendors selling said garlands everywhere:

Tihar is one of the big festivals of Nepal; the city becomes garlanded with the flower garlands you see on sale here.

Further delights were to come. As I sat down to dinner I hear all sorts of banging and music starting up and look out the window to see a parade getting underway. I grabbed the camera and the video below is the result.

Happy Tihar everyone!