Nepal is a multiethnic and multicultural country where Nepalese citizens perform different festivals. They celebrate many festivals that differ regionally or according to ethnicity, religion, and traditions. We have many festivals in our country, Nepal. Different festivals celebrated by Nepal carry specific significance behind their celebrations. From Jatras in the capital of the state to the Chhat in the Terai or national festivals like Dashain, the festivals are the intrinsic part of Nepalese culture.
Dashain festival is the most celebrated festival in Nepal, Hindus. Like other festivals, it is also based on the lunar calendar and falls in the months of Aswin or Kartik(Nepali date) and the English period between September to October. It marks the victory of the goddess Durga over the Demon Mahisasur. It signifies the victory of Good over Evil.
The festival is observed for a fortnight, and the first nine days are called Navaratri. The goddess Durga is worshiped these days. People also visit the temple of the gods and goddesses. They make sacrifices of birds and animals in front of the image of the Goddess Nawadurga. The last two days of Navaratri are observed with great Festivity.
Dashain festival Nepal is an occasion of great joy, delight, enthusiasm, and rapture for all the people. People indulge in feasting and rejoicing. They clean their houses, put on new clothes, and taste various types of delicious foods. There is a public holiday in this festival for all the schools, colleges and offices. Among all these reasons, Vijayadashami is known as the auspicious occasion. On this day, people embark on new enterprises and start their journey. This is an occasion of peace and goodwill.
Dashain celebrates the inevitable victory of virtue over vice, of truth over untruth and of justice over injustice.
Dashain festival 2019 starts from 29th September 2019 and ends on 13th October.
However, the major celebrations of the day fall on 8th October (Vijayadashami).
Dashain is the longest Hindu festival which is celebrated for two weeks. This festival is celebrated with prayers and offerings to Goddess Durga (the universal mother goddess). This is also known as the great harvest festival of Nepal and is a time for family reunions, gift exchanging, exchange of blessing, and elaborating puja.
During Dashain, people worship the image of the goddess in their houses in the hope of getting blessings. Dashain is celebrated for 15 days starting from the new moon day (Ghatasthapana) to the full moon day (KojagratPurnima). Some of the days have a specific and vital significance. Ghatasthapana, Phool Pati, Mahaastami, Navami, and Vijayadashami are the series of the events under Dashain, each marked with a different set of rituals.
Rituals performed in different days of Dashain:
- Ghatasthapana (Day 1)The first day of Dashain is termed Ghatasthapana, which accurately suggests that pot establishing.
This is the first day of the festival and is called the day of sowing Jamara. On this day, a Kalash that symbolizes the goddess Durga is kept and filled with clean, holy water collected from sacred pond or river.
A rectangular sandy area is prepared, and Kalash is kept at the center by the devotees. ghatasthapana ritual is performed at an exact auspicious moment determined by the astrologers. At that exact moment, the priest intones a welcome, requesting god Hindu deity to bless the vessel together with her presence.Around the Kalash, barley seeds are sown in the sandy area, which is believed to be pure and blessed. DashainGhar is the place where all the task of Gatasthapana is done and is worshipped throughout the festival period. Only the males of the family used to perform this ritual before, but the case has been changing now as female is also showing this ritual nowadays. While sowing the seeds, you should make sure that the area cannot be affected by direct sunlight. The Kalash is worshipped for nine days and watered regularly in the sown area. The seed will grow almost up to 6/5 inches and seen in yellowish color at the end of the ninth day and called as Jamara.
Phulpati (Day 7)
During the day of Phulpati, the Brahmins from the Gorkha bring out the Royal Kalash, Banana stalks, Jamara, and sugarcane tied with the red fabric. Phulpati is celebrated on day 7 of the Dashain festival. The procession is regarding three days long. There is the parade at Hanumandhoka during this day, the government officials anticipate the arrival in Tundikhel and be a part of the parade.
Nepalese army observes the continual firing of the weapons for regarding fifteen minutes to celebrate the arrival of the Phulpati. Phulpati is kept in Royal DashainGhar inside the Hanuman Dhoka. However, after the royal family was overthrown from the nation, the tradition of arrival of the Phulpati is modified. Phulpati currently goes to the residence of President.
Maha Aasthami (Day 8)
MahaAasthami is celebrated on the 8th day of the Dashain festival. The folks worship the fiercest manifestation of god Durga; bloodthirsty Kali within the eighth day of Dashain. God Kali and Hindu deity receive large sacrifices of animals like goats, hens, buffaloes, goats, and ducks in the Kingdom of Nepal. The blood is sacrificed to the god as a symbol of fertility.
The meat is then taken to the homes and consumed as a sacred food; Prasad, that is blessed by the god and people organized feast in their homes. The folks host a feast in their homes. The Newar community held a feast called “KuchiBhoe”.In this feast, ritually people must eat two paths of beaten rice along with Bhutan, bara (beancake), cholla, tori ko saag, aalo ko achar, (potato pickle) bhatmaas, (soybean) Aduwa, (spiced ginger) body (blacked- eyes peas) in a banana leaf including Aila (liquor) and the (Newari alcohol).
Maha Navami(Day 9)
MahaNavami is the last day of Navaratri; the ceremony reaches to the peak until this day. The state offers the sacrifices of the buffaloes underneath shooting salutes in Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace. Throughout the day, Vishwa Karma is worshiped (the god of creativity) wherever folks sacrifice duck, goat, duck egg, hens to vehicles, numerous instrumentality, and tools. The devotees believe that the worshipping of the vehicles on at present can prevent them from the accidents within the coming days.
The night of MahaNavami is also called as KalRatri or the Black night. At this time Basantapur Durbar area awakes the whole night and 54 buffaloes, and 54 goats are sacrificed in the DashainGhar according to the tradition. Taleju temple is opened publicly on this day. More than thousands of devotees visit to pray and honor the goddess throughout the day.
Bijaya Dashami (Vijayadashami/Day 10)
The tenth day of the Festival is called BijayaDashami, and the day is the most significant. During this day, everyone dressed up in new elegant dresses and receives tika and blessings from the elders. The women prepare the tika; a mixture of rice, vermilion, and yogurt. The elders also give the younger ones Dakshina and blessings to be the right person and for their better future.
During Dashain, men and women in their fineries visit their elders to seek tika (a dab of red vermilion mixed with yogurt and rice) accompanied by blessings. The red tika is taken as a symbol of the blood that ties the family together forever. All the family members away from home, gather together and receive tika from the elder one. They celebrate their happiness with each other and eat delicious food.
Kojagrata Purnima (Day 15)
KojagrataPurnima, the entire moon day, masks the ending of the Dashain festival. “who is awake” is the literal meaning of Kojagrata. On at present, Laxmi, the god of wealth and luck, can come back to earth and bless the folks that did not sleep all night. KojagrataPurnima is celebrated on the 15th day of Dashain and finally concludes the festival. Dashain Traditions:
Dashain is the festival of joy, entertainment, and happiness. Many different activities are performed during Dashain. Some of the common activities are listed below:
• Nepali people fly highly decorative kites in the sky during the festival period. They fly kites also called as “Changa” from their rooftop and plays change chait competition whenever kite strings get tangled. Most kids are crazy about kite flying.
• Another most common thing people do is Playing card games. Families and friends get together to play cards and enjoy.
• Most of the homes are cleaned and decorated ornately. This can be meant to be a gesture to the Hindu “mother goddess” to come back down and bless the house with sensible luck.
• All the family members that are away from form gather together and enjoy reunions in the clean and beautiful houses.
• Most Children are decorated in elegant clothes and are headed towards their relatives’ houses to put tika and receive blessings called ”aashirbadh.”
• Another interesting thing people do is play swings that are constructed temporarily out of bamboo and set up for children to play.
• Most of the Adults can be seen enjoying at the swings, which can be up to 20 feet high. The swings are destroyed at the end of the festivals.
• More than thousands of animal sacrifices are made, such as buffalo, goat, and ducks to appease Hindu goddesses all over the country. People also visit the temple to worship various gods.
The weather during Dashain is fair and mild with the chilled morning. The environment is clean with fresh air around with no more dust and mud. Farmers are free from plantations and weddings.
Along with this, all the colleges, schools, factories, and offices remain closed at this period. Sword precessions (Paayaa) are also held in various part of the Kathmandu Valley
Decorated shops .fair and pleasant weather ripening and rustling crops, cleanliness of roads, temples, crowded shops, etc. are the perks of the Dashain festival. This all indicates the greatness and joyous movement of the most significant celebration. All the people greet each other with Dashainsuvakamana. Apart from that, various media such as radio, TV, and newspaper publish Dashain’s wishes to the folks.
After the end of the Dashain festival, everyone gets back to their daily life. People receive the blessing of Goddess; people go to work and gain power and wealth.