UK

Gurkha Company Celebrate Tika Together In Catterick

Tika is the most important day in the Hindu festival of Dashain.

Gurkha Company have been celebrating Tika, which is considered the most important day in the Hindu festival of Dashain.

Dashain is the grandest and longest festival in the Nepalese calendar and is said to be a celebration of Durga, the goddess of power, conquering the demon king.

Following this year's increased intake of Gurkhas, 400 recruits gathered at the Gurkha Temple in Catterick.

"Dashain is part of a tradition and is part of a military and moral component as well," said Captain Kiran Pun.

He explained that the Hindu festival, and the Dashain festivities, are the equivalent of Christmas celebrations for Christians.

"Without Dashain celebrations, we feel an emptiness in our life," he added.

"The best part of this festival is that we forget about anything that happened in the past," said Training Rifleman Deependra Gharti Magar.

"We forget about bad things and we do not worry about anything in the future. We just live in the present and enjoy the moment."

Decorations for Gurkha Deshain ceremonies 081019 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Many members of Gurkha company attended the celebrations.

Captain Pun explained that on the first day of Dashain barley, corn and other kinds of green and yellow wheat are collected into a pot.

"On the final day of celebrations, Tika, we put it in our bodies and ears," he added.

The gesture symbolises power, which as a military body is key to Gurkha Company.

"As a military power, we want to achieve our missions - whether it is in war or in peace."

Deshain celebration sees barley wheats put behind ears 081019 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
Putting barley or other kinds of wheat behind the ears symbolises power.

"Tika is the main day, where we get a blessing from the elder people," explained Captain Pun.

The blessing comes in the form of rice mixed with yoghurt, which is then stuck to people's foreheads. 

"It is a blessing to them that in their future in the Army and as human beings, they will have success in their path."

Gurkhas join Deshain celebrations 081019 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
For many Gurkhas it was the first time they celebrated Tika without their families.

For many members of Gurkha company, it was the first time they were not able to celebrate the important festival with their families and loved ones.

Training Rifleman Ashish Thapa said he missed his "elders" during Tika.

"I just did a call with my parents and grandparents, and I got the blessings," he added.

Training Rifleman Sumit Chand said the commanders have done their best to make them feel as much at home as possible during the celebrations.

"It is quite different here, but it is still fun."