Deusi bhailo - The grand tradition of Nepal's Tihar festival

Last week, one of my friends introduced me to 'Deusi Bhailo', an event celebrated during the Tihar festival in Nepal. Tihar is also known as Deepawali and Yamapanchak and is the festival of lights, a five-day event celebrated by the Hindus in Nepal and Bhutan primarily. I was intrigued by the enthusiasm with which the Nepalese cherish this age-old tradition and so decided to dig in and know more about it.
Deusi Bhailo TIhar
Deusi Bhailo Tihar

What is Deusi-Bhailo? 

On the third and fourth days of Tihar, people of all ages form groups, visit their family and friend's houses and give several singing and dance performances on the traditional songs of Nepal called Deusi and Bhailo. In this cultural event, the women take part in Bhailo and the men in Deusi. The performers are showered with blessings particularly from the elderly and offered flowers, fruits, and money. The program begins in the afternoon and goes on till late night although recently the ministry of Nepal has limited this to 10 pm for safety concerns. The entire program lasts for about half an hour in one house after which the group moves to another house. Popular cultural dance groups that perform every year are sent special invites by certain communities to dance at their places.
These events go on for the next two days till 'Bhai Tika', the event where sisters and brothers exchange garlands and tika (mark on the forehead). It is believed that in the olden days, the brothers bought gifts for their sisters using the money that they received after their dance performances on Deusi Bhailo songs.

Historical background of Deusi Bhailo

The origin of Deusi Bhailo dates back to Hindu mythology when people on Earth celebrated the arrival of King Bali from the dungeon for the 5 days of Tihar. King Bali was known for his utter generosity according to the Baman Puran and so Bali was revered by the people. But knowing his lineage to demons, it was said that he would turn into a demon if he acquired ultimate power after performing a ritual. To prevent this from happening, Lord Bishnu disguised himself and went to the place where the ritual was taking place and asked for taking 3 steps. He covered the Earth in just 2 steps and for the third one, he demanded the head of King Bali to step on it. Hence the word Deusi is derived from 'deusire' where deu means give and sire means head. King Bali was sent to the dungeon and has known to return to Earth during the five days of Tihar.

Most popular lyrics of Deusi Bhailo songs

Ae Bhanamera Bhai ho. .. Deusi re

Ae RamrariBhana... Deusi re

Ae SwarMilai Kana. . . . . Deusi re

Ae Bhananabhana. . . . . Deusi re

Ae ratomato. . . . . Deusi re

Ae chiplobato. . . . . Deusi re

Ae laddaipaddai. . . . . Deusi Re

ayekahami. . . . . Deusi Re

ae kola ko Thambo. . . . . Deusi re

Ae dus bhai jamma. . . . . Deusi re

Ae Hami maaafai. . . . . Deusi re

Ae ayaykohayina. . . . . Deusi re

Ae Bali Maharaj ko. . . . . Deusi re

Ae Hukum ma huda. . . . . Deusi re

Ae Aypugyohami. . . . . Deusi Re

ae saikal ko ghanti. . . . . Deusi re

ae chitogarnuanty. . . . . Deusi re

ae kamilakotati. . . . . Deusi re

ae sukisakyoghate. . . . . Deusi re

ae ghodabasnetabela. . . . . Deusi re

ae hamilaibhayoaabala. . . . . Deusi re

ae ghilimilighilimili. . . . . Deusi re

ae ke ko ghilimili. . . . . Deusi re

ae batti ko ghilimili. . . . . Deusi re

ae fula ko ghilimili. . . . . Deusi re

ae chana ma addua. . . . . Deusi re

ae mero sathipaddua. . . . . Deusi re

ae tamul ko kudko. . . . . Deusi re

ae mero sathipudhko. . . . . Deusi re

ae aja ta hami. . . . . Deusi re

ae atinaigauchum. . . . . Deusi re

ae aba hamerali. . . . . Deusi re

ae bidadino. . . . . Deusi re

ae 100 rupyapanidino. . . . . Deusi re

ae ghumaka roti dino. . . . . Deusi re


aajausiko din gai tihar ho bhailo

aajausiko din gai tihar ho bhailo

HarioGobar le lipeko,laxmi puja gareko

hey aunsi ko baro gai tihar ho bhailo

hey aunsikobaro gai tihar ho bhailo

hamitesaiayenau,bali raja le pathako

aajaunsiko din gai tihar ho bhailo

aajaunsiko din gai tihar ho bhailo

English translation

Bhailoni has come in the courtyard, lets broom. . . . . clean the house
today is dark fortnight (new moon) day, the festival of cow tiharbhailo
today is a dark fortnight, festival of cow Tihar bhailo
the floor has been polished with cow dung, worshipping the Goddess Laxmi
today is a dark fortnight, festival of cow tiharbhailo
today is a dark fortnight, the festival of cow tiharbhailo
we did not come here without any reason, we were sent by the king Bali
today is a dark fortnight, the festival of cow tiharbhailo
today is a dark fortnight, the festival of cow tiharbhailo

More of such songs, lyrics and their English translation can be found here.

I enjoyed watching some of the dance videos that represent the culture of Nepal as well as some modern dance styles being performed on Nepali songs. I have included a few below:

In recent times, an increasing number of such groups are working towards social causes and helping the ones in need by requesting communities to invite them and to give them a chance to perform at their places.

Nepalese do take pride in this wonderful tradition of theirs which is filled with enthusiasm, positivity, and happiness. Why not, right?

So, the next time you happen to visit Nepal during the Tihar festival, do enjoy the Deusi Bhailo vibes and continue to spread positivity wherever you go.

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