Bhailo and Deusi are traditional songs that are sung during the festival of Tihar in Nepal, Darjeeling hills, Sikkim and some parts of India. Children and teenagers sing these songs and dance as they go to various homes in their community, collecting money, sweets and food and giving blessings for prosperity. Bhailo is generally sung by girls, while Deusi is sung by boys. At the end of these songs, the woman of the house serves food and gives money to these Deusi/Bhailo singers and dancers. In return, the Deusi/Bhailo team gives blessings for high income and prosperity
The exact origin of the Deusi-Bhailo tradition is not very clear. However, the Deusi and Bhailo songs indicate that this tradition is related to King Mahabali, since the lyrics of the songs says “We were sent by King Bali”. The word “deusurey” used in the songs could be a conjunction of two words “Dev” and “Asur”. King Mahabali had a mixed Dev and Asur lineage. He was the great grandson of the Asura king Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada and the son of Virochana. Also, the word “deusire” (variation of “deusurey”) used in the songs could be broken down as “deu”, which means “give” in Nepali, and “sire,” which is the Sanskrit word for “head”. So deusire could mean to offer one’s head for a greater cause or in other words sacrifice oneself. According to the Puranas, King Bali gave his own head to Vamana, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. King Bali was performing the Ashwamedhya Yajna, when Vamana approached Bali and asked for land that would equal three strides he took. Bali was known for giving alms to any one who came to his palace. Bali agreed to fulfill his demand. To Bali’s great surprise, Vamana covered the Earth and the Universe with two steps, and then asked him where he should place his third step. Bali offered his own head. Lord Vishnu, seeing the devotion of Bali, blessed him and raised to him to Suthala, the supreme position in heaven. For his sacrifice, Bali gained Lord Vishnu’s favour and also attained salvation.
The Deusi/Bhailo programme provides cultural entertainment by a group of men and/or women who move around their local area singing the Deusi/Bhailo song and other songs. The group is usually composed of a lead chanter/singer and a chorus group and sometimes additional participants such as musicians and dancers. The lead chanter/singer wishes blessings upon the owners of the house where the team visits. Traditionally, the programme is all live and uses minimal electronic instruments. The entire programme can last from about 10 minutes to half an hour in one house. Then the group moves to another location to perform. The programme is held on the third and fourth days of Tihar, where Bhailo is performed on the third day (Laxmi Puja) and Deusi is performed on the fourth day (Gowardhan Puja).
Deusi Bhailo Song Lyrics
ध्यौसुरे गीत आहै ! भन मेरा भाइ हो – ध्यौसुरे आहै !