Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Blessed Rainy Day
Blessed Rainy Day is a national holiday in Bhutan. Until today, I thought the name was a joke. We have had way more rain than I want or need, so I had renamed the day something quite different.
But my feelings changed today. I asked my grade six class to write about this special day, and it seems to be very important to them. It certainly isn’t a joke. The specific details seem to vary from person to person, but then so do our beliefs and traditions regarding Christmas.
Here are some excerpts:
I guess in your country there is no such day as Blessed Rainy Day. In dzongkha we say ‘Thrue-bub’. Tomorrow at 7:05a.m., if we wash our face or take a bath it is believed that the bad deeds we have done until now will all be cleared up. Our illness will be also healed. Also when we drink water, it tastes sweet and fresh. I don’t know how, but it is unbelievable! Every river, sea, oceans becomes like medicine, but people may not realize, only Buddhist people does as we believe in god.”
“On Blessed rainy Day we believe that when we keep the water outside in the rain at night we get blessed from our god Lord Buddha, so most of us does what we believe and we wash our head or body with that water facing the north side, and it will clear up all the bad deeds and bad luck we have.” ~Kinley Wangmo
“In Blessed Rainy Day, we have to keep one bucket with flowers outside the house where rain can fall. At the night, rain will fall and no one will see the rain, but when it became day your bucket will be full of water. We have to wash our body with that water without soap. All our selfish and bad things we have done will be purified and we will not get sick and god will also bless us.” ~Pema Rinzin
“After washing our body we will be together with family and friends and eat the porridge. We will play and eat different kinds of food. After eating we will sing and dance for thank-you.” ~Thinley Wangmo
“Also when we go to the school, we will feel more comfortable and it will be easier to read or write better than before. It will make our brain clear and better. It will scent nicely on our body.” ~Tshering Penjor
“If we do good things on this day, it is like doing 100 times good things. If we do bad things, it is like doing 100 times bad things.” ~Sonam Choden
“In that time we also eat the delicious food in the morning, afternoon and night. Some people drink the alcohol and beer. Many people have to fight when they drink alcohol. Many people go to picnic on that time and they sing and dance a lot.” ~Dhendup Tshewang
After prayers at the end of the school day, many students came to wish me a happy Blessed Rainy Day. If I still had any doubts about there being something magical about the day, the last remnants were washed away then. There was the most beautiful sun shower, and a double rainbow extended from the top of the mountain down into the valley. We all just stood in the rain and admired the sight for about twenty minutes.
I have put my bucket of flowers and water outside to be blessed overnight. It sort of feels like hanging up a Christmas stocking. Tomorrow morning I will use the water to wash, while facing north and thinking positive thoughts. I will visit a few friends who have invited me to their homes. I will share the special biscuits, called khabzey which I was given today. They are pieces of fried dough in the shape of intricate leaves and flowers. I will try to do only good things all day.
Sorry about the wires