The Festivities of Dashain, Tihar, and What They Teach About Investing in Stocks

Mon, Oct 11, 2021 6:27 AM on Stock Market, Exclusive,

Article by CA Ayush Khetan

Our greatest festival is round the corner! Happy Dashain and Tihar in advance!

Most of us (investors and traders) must be busy squaring off our accounts or are planning to do so, usually known as the “Dashain Kharcha Effect” in the stock market besides quarter-end and dividend declaration season of the year.

Just pondering between these stocks and Dashain vibes, I got struck by the idea that various Dashain-Tihar-related rituals and items can also teach us about disciplined investing. Here are some views I would like to share:

1. Ghatasthapna:

Navratri is a nine-day-long festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. The Navratri festival begins with a ritual called Ghatasthapana or Kalash Sthapana. This tradition of setting up a “Kalash” or “Ghat” is a way to invite Maa Durga into the house. It is also believed that the “Kalash” represents auspiciousness, good luck, energy, and power.

In the same fashion, before entering the stock market, it is firstly advised to have a clear understanding of the basics of stock market functioning, understanding the term ‘stock,’ ‘shares,’ debentures: “gyan sthapna” in one’s mind!! Even Investing in IPO requires reading the prospectus published by the said company. But it is rarely done in Nepal by new entrants!

2. Saptarangi Tika:

Bhai tika is the last and the most important day of Tihar. On this day, the sisters apply Tika to their brothers’ forehead as a symbol of thanking them for the protection they give as a brother. The Tika is colorful, which consists of seven colors, and is called ‘Saptarangi Tika’ in Nepali. Along with the Tika, the sisters offer garlands of Marigold, sweets, and special dishes for them. The sisters pray for the brothers’ long lives and enjoy together.

Similarly, In the Stock market, we should also have an investment in stocks from various sectors and not just one sector. It is often said that we should “not put all the eggs in one basket.” Diversification is important in the stock market. However, Over-diversification by picking up stocks just based on rumors is risky. So, diversification to the extent manageable is suggested.

3. “Ghanti” (Hand Bell):

Hand Bell (Ghanti) is a beautifully designed musical instrument used for Poojas and Auspicious occasions. The sound from a ghanti bell is supposed to drown any other offending or disturbing noises surrounding the area of worship. When one rings the bell, it is done with the following thoughts "I greet you with the ringing of the bell and with the wish that you remain in my thoughts and that I may be cleansed and protected from evil thoughts or deeds".

In the Stock market also, once if we have started investing with a particular mindset like ‘I am a Long term Investor” or say “I will just act as a trader” based on one’s capability, resources, and one’s financial objective, then we must stick to that. We should not get distracted by noises (offline and online gossips and “halla” in the stock market surrounding) and keep on switching the strategy of long term and short term very frequently in very close intervals. This may result in profit sometimes but the chances of incurring losses seem more to me due to frequent switches in strategy. We may use two Demat accounts as allowed- one for “long term” and “short term” if needed.

However, this doesn't mean losing any “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to gain astounding returns.

4. Diyo:

“Diyo” is an oil lamp usually made from clay, with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oil. The lighting of diyas forms a part of the celebrations and rituals of the festival. Houses are decorated with small diyas placed at boundaries and entrances. Light is considered a symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity, and abundance in many cultures. It is believed that “deepam” is the symbol of knowledge.

Just as a diyo requires oil as a fuel to light up, similarly, If one’s wishes to shine in the stock market, first of all being disciplined and knowledgeable regarding one’s investing behavior is the requisite fuel. The better and more of this “Gyan fuel”, the brighter and longer will be one’s portfolio. Sadly, we are accustomed to just see other investor’s profits and make gossips but we are neither ready to know his/her level of contribution of time spent in gaining knowledge as a “fuel to his/her bright-looking portfolio” nor the time factor once has stayed stuck with his /her investments.

5. “Ping” bamboo swing:

Swing or in Nepalese term ‘“ping”’ is one of the basic entertainment that is seen all around Nepal especially at the time of Dashain. Swing in Dashain is enjoyed by little kids to the youth to even senior citizens not just as an entertainment sport but also as a valuable part of the Nepalese and Hindu custom of swinging in the swing at the times of Dashain. It has been a part of the Nepalese Hindu custom ever since it is known.

This “Swing”, as per my view, gives the most important lesson about the stock market.

Just as a swing requires coming down/back to go up again, exact is the functioning of the stock market. The market can never keep on moving in simply one direction. It has to do “to-and-fro” to stay functioning. We often read and listen that “the bull has to take rest to rise again”,” it is just a correction”, “market ko Sundar Swarup nai ghat badh hunu ho!!!” etc., etc. whenever up-downs come in the market.

This message is heard and read but very few practically keep this in mind during market downfall and end up doing “panic selling” and incurring loss.

6. Sel Roti- The Dashain Dividend:

Sel roti (सेल रोटी) is a traditional homemade ring-shaped sweet rice bread popular in Nepal and is mostly prepared during Dashain and Tihar. It is usually offered to young ones during deusi bhailo programs as a blessing from the elders. So, can be said as “Dashain Dividend” !!

As Sel roti is enjoyed most during Dashain Tihar times of the year, similarly, the dividend declaration comes once a year usually during this time of the year. To get “ Sel Roti” from the stock market one has to stay invested and not just trade based on rumors. Because no one knows if selling on rumor or waiting for an official declaration of dividend- which will be more profitable. For this, the history of the Co., growth rate, etc. must be looked into before making a decision.

Thank you for reading this unusual combination of learning and investing from the festivals that struck my “self-declared! creative” mindset!! Disagreement on the above views is happily welcome!! But in my opinion, taking a message/lesson does not necessarily have to be from the formal books, financial videos, and share experts. Sometimes, even our festivals can teach us too about finances and investments besides traditional and moral values, isn't it?!!

Happy Dashain & Tihar! Stay Safe and Get Vaccinated.

CA Ayush Khetan,