Dashain Festival Nepal, 2023 Dates & Celebration
Table of Contents
- About Dashain festival
- Dashain 2023 date
- How is Dashain celebrated
- Maha Aasthami
- Maha Navami
- Bijaya Dashami
- Kojagrat Purnima
Nepal is a multiethnic and multicultural country where Nepalese citizens perform different festivals. We celebrate many festivals that differ regionally or according to ethnicity, religion, and also traditions. We have many festivals in our country, Nepal. Celebrating different festivals has its own cultural value and reason behind their celebrations. From Jatras in the capital of the state to the Chhat in the Terai or national festivals like Dashain. The Dashain festival is the biggest in Nepal. Therefore festivals are an intrinsic part of Nepalese culture.
Dashain festival is the most celebrated festival by 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. she is the blood-loving God so people give blood to different animals in front of the image of the Goddess Nawadurga. The last two days of Navaratri are observed with great Festivity.
Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal
Dashain festival in Nepal is an occasion of great joy, delight, enthusiasm, and rapture for all the people. Therefore, People indulge in feasting and rejoicing. They also clean their houses, put on new clothes, and taste various types of delicious foods. There is a public holiday during this festival for all the schools, colleges, and offices. Among all these reasons, Vijayadashami is also known as an auspicious occasion. On this day, people also 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, truth over untruth, and of justice over injustice.
However, the major celebrations of the day fall on 05th October (Vijayadashami).
|October 09||Sunday||Kojagat Purnima|
Dashain is the longest Hindu festival which is celebrated for two weeks. This festival celebrates with prayers and offerings to Goddess Durga (the universal mother goddess). The festival is during rice harvesting time with a great view of rice terraces of paddy fields. And it is also the time for family reunions, gift exchanging, exchange of blessings, and elaborating puja.
During the Dashain festival, people worship the image of the goddess in their houses in the hope of getting blessings. Dashain celebrates 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 events under Dashain, each marked with a different set of rituals.
Rituals performed on different days of the Dashain festival:
- Ghatasthapana (Day 1): Thie is the starting and the first day of Dashain is the term Ghatasthapana. It also 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 a sacred pond or river. Therefore, A rectangular sandy area is prepared, and Kalash is kept at the center by the devotees. ghatasthapana ritual performs at an exact auspicious moment determined by the astrologers.
At that exact moment, the priest intones a welcome, requesting the god Hindu deity to bless the vessel together with her presence. Around the Kalash, barley seeds are sown in the sandy area, which beliefs to be pure and blessing. There is great worship at Dashain Grah, This is the place where all the task of Gatasthapana is done and is worshiped 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 water 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 calling as Jamara.
Phulpati (Day 7)
from Phulpati main festival is starting and people start traveling to their hometown from Kathmandu. The Brahmins from Gorkha bring out the Royal Kalash, Banana stalks, Jamara, and sugarcane tied with the red fabric. Phulpati is celebrating on day 7 of the Dashain festival and the procession is 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.
Nepales army gives the firing of weapons for fifteen minutes to celebrate the arrival of the Phulpati. Phulpati is kept in Royal DashainGhar inside the Hanuman Dhoka. However, Now the tradition is modified as we don’t have a monarchy now. Phulpati currently goes to the residence of the President.
Maha Aasthami (Day 8) of the Dashain festival
MahaAasthami is celebrated on the 8th day of the Dashain festival. The folks worship the fiercest manifestation of god Durga; bloodthirsty Kali on the eighth day of Dashain. God Kali and Hindu deities receive large sacrifices of animals like goats, hens, buffaloes, goats, and ducks in the Kingdom of Nepal. The blood is also sacrificed to the god as a symbol of fertility.
The meat is then taken to the homes and consumed as a sacred food; Prasad, which is blessed by the god, and people organized a feast in their homes. The folks host a feast in their homes. The Newar community held a feast called “KuchiBhoe”. Therefore in this festival people are eating two paths of beaten rice along with Bhutan, bara (beancake), cholla. Tori ko saag, aalo ko achar, (potato pickle) bhatmaas also (soybean) Aduwa, (spiced ginger) body (blacked- eyes peas). As well as in a banana leaf including Aila (liquor) and the (Newari alcohol).
Maha Navami(Day 9)
During the Dashain festival, the state offers the sacrifices of the buffaloes underneath shooting salutes in Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace. Throughout the day, Vishwa Karma is worshiping (the god of creativity). Wherever folks sacrifice duck, goat, duck egg, and also hens to vehicles, numerous instrumentality, and tools. The devotees believe that the worshipping of the vehicles at present can prevent them from accidents within the coming days.
The night of the Dashain Festival MahaNavami is also named 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 most important day of the Dashain festival BijayaDashami and it is on the 10th day, 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, people with their families visit their elders to seek tika (a dab of red vermilion mixed with yogurt and rice) accompanied by blessings. The red tika take 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 is the final day of the Dashain and it is the entire moon day, which masks the ending of the Dashain festival. At present, Laxmi, the god of wealth and luck, can come back to earth and bless the folks that did not sleep all night. Kojagrata Purnima is on the 15th day which is the ending day of Dashain and finally concludes the festival. Dashain Traditions:
Dashain is a festival of joy, entertainment, and happiness. Many different activities performing during Dashain. Some of the common activities are as below:
• Nepali people fly highly decorative kites in the sky during the festival period. They fly kites also named “Changa” from their rooftop and play change chait competition whenever kite strings get tangling. 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 is also 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. In the Dashain festival. Most Children are decorating in elegant clothes and are heading towards their relatives’ houses to put on tika and receive blessings called ”aashirbadh.
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 during this period. Sword precessions (Paayaa) are also held in various parts 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 also receive the blessing of the Goddess; people go to work and gain power and wealth.
Another interesting thing people do is play swings that constructing temporarily out of bamboo and set up for children to play with. Adults are enjoying the swings, which are up to 20 feet high. The swings destroy at the end of the festivals.
Thousands of animals were sacrificed, such as buffalo, goats, and ducks to appease Hindu goddesses all over the country. People also visit the temple to worship various gods
Dashain in Nepal
Dashain is the biggest and the precedence festival of Hindus all around the world. Nepalese people often call Dashain Bijaya Dashami, Dasai or Badadasai is the longest and is believed to be an auspicious festival for Hindus. People from almost all parts of Nepal and many parts of India like Sikkim, Assam, and Darjeeling, celebrate this festival. Dashain normally falls between September and November. Dashain is the grand festival for Hindus, as it honors the great victory of the gods or the truth over the evil demon.
The main rituals of the Dashain start from the fulpati which is the eighth day. The main goddess who is worshipped during this festival is Durga. People worship nine forms of goddess Durga in this festival. The first nine days of Dashain Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalrati, Mahagauri, and Siddhidhatri are those nine forms that the goddess took to kill the demon. Dashain starts from the bright lunar fortnight and ends on the day of the full moon.
Significance of celebrating Dashain
People celebrate Dashain as the victory of goddess Durga over evil and demons. According to the Hindu myths, once there was an evil and powerful Demon called Mahisasur, who used to spread horror and terror among the people. Goddess Durga was indignant seeing this. The fight between goddess Durga and Mahisasur took nine days, in these nine days goddess Durga took nine different forms. Later on, on the tenth day, Goddess Durga killed the demon Maishasur.
Thus Dashain symbolizes the victory of the goddess Durga over Mahisasur, according to another Hindu myth. Another interesting fact for celebrating Dashain is Lord Ram killed the demon Ravan on this day. This is why in some parts of Nepal and India statue of the raven is burnt to celebrate the victory.
Why is Dashain such a big festival in Nepal?
Dashain is a great and exciting festival for all people in Nepal. Dashain has also been an opportunity of resolving all the problems with the family members and celebrate with full excitement. The rituals of Dashain in which people travel to their relatives to seek blessing so, this festival brings love and acquaintanceship between families. The people living far from their homes or living in different country travel home to celebrate Dashain with their families. Dashain has a different craze and excitement among children.
Parents and guardians tend to purchase new clothes for their kids. People celebrate Dashain in Nepal observe by seeing blessings from the elders, eating delicious foods, and meeting family and relatives. During this festival people also forget their misery and unhappiness and celebrate this festival delightfully.
Cultural significance of Dashain
All festival has their religious importance. Where Dashain is considered to be the ceremony of reunion, togetherness, and unity among the family members and friends. Along with the traditional rituals Playing cards, flying kites, building bamboo swings, buying new clothes, etc. are some of the factors which make this festival more exciting.
Celebration of Dashain in Nepal
- Playing music
Generally, people living in villages are more excited and are waiting eagerly for this festival. The way of performing rituals of this festival in the village is more traditionally. During Dashain people play the special music called Malshree dhun. This is one of the oldest pieces of music in Nepal. In earlier times people of only the Newari community used to play this music during Jatra. But in today’s world, Malshree dhun has become a ritual for celebrating Dashain.
- Rituals of Dashain
Especially, Dashain is all about performing rituals. Rituals may differ from one community to another. For example, Tamang people put white tika in Dashain while Newars and Brahmins put red tika.
While Dashain approaches near, you can see a kite flying up in the sky. Flying kites has become one of the traditions of the people. According to ancient people, flying kites during Dashain is also a way to remind God not to send rain anymore.
People fly kites from their roofs, they compete with each other. When one person cuts the kite of another person kids chant “Changa Chet”.
- Buying new clothes
One of the exciting things about Dashain is buying and wearing new clothes. People buy new clothes for their family and themselves. Also, children wear new dresses and visit relatives’ houses for tika. As buying clothes is the trend on Dashain, there is a sale in many places. If want to buy new stuff then Dashain is perfect because of, the huge discount, bonus, lucky draws, and gift hamper right before the time of Dashain.
Children playing traditional bamboo swing
During Dashain, people construct bamboo swings in different places of the county for enjoyment during the festival. High swing is constructed in village areas. These rituals manifest the tradition, local culture, community, and spirit of having fun during the festivals. Local people of the village construct the swing with locally available materials. Additionally, they use ropes, tough grass, huge bamboo sticks, and wood. Generally, people construct swing on the 1st day of Dashain (Ghtashthpana) and take it down only after Tihar. People of all ages play swing in Dashain. People play wing during Dashain to forget the pain and sorrow of their lives and enjoy the festivals. Especially in the village area sing are constructed very high.
- Fairs and celebration
Dashain is the main festival of many Nepalese. So, there are different fairs and celebrations in different parts of the country. Fairs are also organized in the villages, where children play different games. People buy new stuff for their house and themselves at the fair. Many brands also give a certain discount and offer on the occasion of Dashain.
Sacrificing animals to the goddess is another ritual of Dashain. As Dashain is all about enjoyment and having fun with relatives, people sacrifice animals for food during this festival. Many animals like goats, buffalo, ducks, and rams are sacrificed in the name of the festival. People believe that scarifying animals to goddess Durga during Dashain helps to get the blessing from the god. This ritual takes place in Goddess Durga’s temple. Also, people offer animals, to Goddess Durga and kali in their temples.
Every year thousands of animals lost their lives because of this felonious activity.
Sacrificing animals during the festival has been a trend since ancient times. However, in today’s context, many people are strictly against this culture. People sacrifice animals to God during the 7th and 8th days of this festival. These days people also organize the feast of the slaughtered animals.
- Kumari and Ganesh puja
Since the way of celebrating Dashain is quite different from the place. In the Newar community, people worship Kumari and Ganesh other than the nine forms of Goddess Durga. During these rituals, people worship young girls as lord kumari and young boys as Lord Ganesh. This is also a sign of respect for other gods.
Spending time with family and relatives
A Festival is an opportunity of getting together and share happiness among family and relatives. During Dashain, relatives and family members gather around the same place and enjoy themselves. Elders of the house give the blessing in the form of a tika to all the family members. People also visit relatives’ houses for seeing tika and blessings. When you put tika from the elders, they will give money as a gift and blessing.
- Festival of enjoyment
Nepal is a culturally and traditionally diverse country. Among many festivals celebrated in Nepal Dashain is one of them. Traditionally Dashain was celebrated only in Nepal and India but now a day’s craze of Dashain has been increasing frequently. This is why many Dashain is celebrated in countries like Pakistan, the united nation, and Australia. This festival is a way of creating a strong bond with family members and relatives. Dashain promotes love affection and unity among people.
- Card game
For enjoinment during the festival, playing cards have also become a trend or tradition during Dashain. People play cards with their family members and enjoy. It is fun until you play with your family. But people indulge themselves in card games where they play for money. People often get arrested for playing too much of a card with huge money. So, the card game is not a practicable ritual of Dashain. Many people lose their property and house while playing cards during Dashain.
Importance of Dashain
- Get togetherness
Festivals are all about spending time with your family and friend. During Dashain going to each other’s house to put on tika and seek blessing will increase the love and affection among people. In addition to this, people leaving abroad also come leaving their homes to celebrate this festival with their families. The blessing given while putting Dashain’s tika is believed to have immense power and helps to overcome hardship and struggle in life. Playing swings, cards, and flying kites together will increase the fun of celebrating Dashain.
- Dashain meals
Dashain is a festival of 15 days so you will get to have delicious food from day one of this festival. People cook Savory food during the entire festival. Meat is the main food component during this festival. Vegetarian people mainly food made with paneer, Milk, Yogurt, and Ghee. While going to each other’s house to put tika, one should always go with the fruits or any other kind of gift. People organize a feast and invite their close ones on the occasion of Dashain. They also make a lot of delicious food to celebrate Dashain. People prefer to eat meat and other variety of food during Dashain.
The best time for trekking
Dashain is also the best time for trekking and trekking activities. Since Dashain falls during the autumn season. People prefer the autumn season for trekking, as the view of the mountains can be crystal clear. If you visit Nepal during Dashain then you must trek to the Himalayas, as autumn is the best time to trek to the Himalayas. Since government allows public holidays on this festival, many people tend to go on the trekking journey with their family and friends.
The skies are super clear and you can get the perfect view during this time of the year. There is a very low chance of precipitation or rainfall during Dashain so the weather condition also remains fine. Every year thousands of foreigners come for trekking during this time, as you will get to observe the culture and tradition of local people along with the clear views of the mountains.
Dashain is prime time for shopkeepers, as people buy all the new stuff along with clothes. New clothe during Dashain show the happiness and excitement for this festival. So, there is a sale on everything from clothing to cars, you can find everything at discounted prices. Electronic products provide more discounts with many offers. In addition to this, brands come with new schemes, lucky draws, and all kinds of bumper prizes. If you’re fortunate enough then you can win a prize worth lakhs.
- Everyone celebrates this festival
Dashain is indeed the festival of Hindus, but you don’t necessarily have to be a Hindu to celebrate Dashain. People of all religions celebrate Dashain with the same excitement. It is very satisfying to see that everyone from all cases and creed bond over Dashain. If you are vising Nepal during Dashain then, it might be the epitome of Nepal’s exemplary religious harmony. People of all caste and religions come together to celebrate Dashain by flying kites, involving in the feast, and playing cards.
Cleaning and Decorating home
Cleaning homes has also become the trend of Dashain. Since people visit each other’s houses during this festival so they clean and decorate their houses, people believe that if you keep your house clean and attractive then goddess Durga will bless you and your family. This is one of the extremely good rituals of Dashain cleaning and decorating the home is also a way of showing harmony and making people welcome in their houses.
Enjoy the greatest festival with your family and close people.