Blessed Rainy Day is on the 23rd of September this year. It is celebrated as one of the religious holidays in Bhutan which also marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of harvest time. On this day of all unlike any other days, we pray and expect for the last rain drops to come which is considered to bring the elixir to sanctify and wash out all defilement, bad deeds and anything negative we have accumulated during the year. We get up early in the morning to wash our body from the water collected outside overnight. This water would have been prepared with concoction of various mixtures of plants usually flowers, fresh or dried blessed by the monks usually.
Families in their fine Bhutanese attires traditionally gather for a meal of soup prepared over night and tea at breakfast time. This culture is still being followed in my family in Bhutan and long may it continue. The day is full of fun activity such as archery games, deygo which is throwing two flat stones to hit the jack like french boules game, Khurus which is essentially two darts being thrown at the target over 20 meters distance and there are plenty of other games. Some of the family members would visit temples to offer butter lamps and prayers for future prospect and good seasons for the following year.
Whilst this is a culture to be admired by many and to be celebrated by all Bhutanese it is also a day of utter sadness. Bhutan is known for being the Buddhist country where caring, loving kindness, compassion etc are the aspired qualities which every Bhutanese endeavor to practice in their everyday lives yet many somehow becomes immune to these qualities during festive seasons. Cruelty, unkindness, uncaring etc are frowned upon let alone killing of any beings which is regarded as the ultimate sins along with eating of any kind of meat. Sadly building up to any big occasions such as blessed rainy day in this case, people cannot get enough meat and even fight over few cuts of meat in the market place.
On this day many will rejoice and celebrate their good fortune whatever that may be by eating, drinking, dancing, playing games etc all day. During this time time there will be disagreement, fights, gossips etc which are all not really Buddhist in nature and I guess their excuse will be they were not themselves due to alcohol and so on. Such behaviors of few will tear family apart and villages apart which are not at all uncommon.
As a child growing up you follow your elders and do what they do which all seem normal at the time. Now I feel somewhat confused with our moral and cultural attitudes to such barbaric behavior in a Buddhist followed and practiced country. I have no idea how our attitudes and social upbringings can change how we live in a society which is both moral and right.
Anyway when all said and done we will have forgotten the wrongs or will promise to do the right thing next time. When next time arrives we will be back to our same old ways and nothing will change.
I wish everyone to enjoy the blessed rainy day but display bit of decorum whilst at the same time enjoying the occasion and remember our infinite capacity to demonstrate compassion.