Happy Maha Shivaratri! Now Pass the Bong!

Bhutanese-Nepalis just recently celebrated one of their less quaint and commendable festivals, Shivaratri.  In honor of Shiva, the god of destruction, the Bhutanese refugee community in Manchester, New Hampshire (see below link) put on a festive program at the local Hindu temple.  But what was going on behind the scenes?

Maha Shiva Ratri Observed in NH and in Bhutanese Refugee Camps | Media Network Bhutan: "Maha Shiva Ratri was observed in Manchester, NH last Monday on Saraswati temple which lies on 582 chestnut st by resettled Bhutanese Refugees and it was also observed in Bhutanese Refugee Camp with great interest and enthusiasm.  Bhutanese Refugee resettled in NH, Performing pooja to mark Shiva Ratri. The program was organized by Saraswati temple committee. The different cultural program was organized and demonstrated by American Vivekananda Academy and resettled refugees where around 500 people observed the program from Bhutanese Refugee Committee and the American residents."

Nepalis believe that Shiva was accustomed to smoking marijuana.  Thus, it has long been the custom of the ascetic sadhus to do the same especially during Shivaratri.  Having little interest in the theological and spiritual significance, Nepali youth have sought to seize the moment afforded by the festival to get wasted.  Pot use by Nepali youth during Shivaratri has become commonplace and destructive.

Of course, this article is a wee bit late for those of you looking for insights pertaining to this year's celebration. But I post it here just as a heads up.  Such things exist and are most certainly taking place among Bhutanese-Nepalis in diaspora.  It is very common for host country volunteers to sort of objectify refugees -- thinking of them as innocent little charity cases.  Every refugee is a real, complicated human being -- a bearer of God's image, now marred by the stain of original and personal sin.

'via Blog this'

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