Dashain Festival Nepal, 2024/2025 Dates & Celebration
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 traditions. We have many festivals in our country, Nepal. Celebrating different festivals has its cultural value and the reason behind their celebrations. From Jatras in the state’s capital 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 and 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 a joy, delight, enthusiasm, and rapture for everyone. Therefore, People indulge in feasting and rejoicing. They also clean their houses, wear new clothes, and taste delicious foods. There is a public holiday during this festival for all schools, colleges, and offices. For all these reasons, Vijayadashami is also known as an auspicious occasion. Today, people also embark on new enterprises and start their journeys. This is an occasion of peace and goodwill.
Dashain celebrates the inevitable victory of virtue over vice, truth over untruth, and justice over injustice.
Dashain Festival 2024 starts on October 15 and ends on October 28. Similarly, in Nepali, the date of Dashain 2081 begins in the month of Kartik and ends at Kartik.,
However, the major celebrations of the day fall on 05th October (Vijayadashami).
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. It is also the time for family reunions, gift exchanges, exchanges of blessings, and elaborating puja.
During the Dashain festival, people worship the image of the Goddess in their houses to get blessings. Dashain celebrates for 15 days, 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 events under Dashain, each marked with different rituals.
Rituals performed on different days of the Dashain festival:
- Ghatasthapana (Day 1): This is the starting and the first day of Dashain, which is the term Ghatasthapana. It also accurately suggests that pot establishing. This is the festival’s first day, 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 the devotees keep Kalash at the center. The Ghatasthapana ritual is performed at an exact auspicious moment determined by the astrologers.
At that exact moment, the priest initiates a welcome, requesting the God Hindu deity to bless the vessel with her presence. Around the Kalash, barley seeds believed to be pure and a blessing, are sown in the sandy area. There is excellent worship at Dashain Grah. This is where all the tasks of Gatasthapana are done and are 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 females are also showing this ritual nowadays.
While sowing the seeds, you should ensure that direct sunlight cannot affect the area. The Kalash is worshipped for nine days, and water is regularly in the sown area. The seed will grow almost up to 6/5 inches and be seen in a yellowish color at the end of the ninth day and called Jamara.
Phulpati (Day 7)
From Phulpati main festival, 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 a parade at Hanumandhoka during this day; the government officials anticipate the arrival in Tundikhel and participate in the parade.
The Nepalese 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, the tradition is modified as we don’t have a monarchy now. Phulpati currently goes to the president’s residence.
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 the God Durga, bloodthirsty Kali, on the eighth day of Dashain. God Kali and Hindu deities receive enormous 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 sacred food; God blesses Prasad, and people organize a feast in their homes. The folks host a feast in their homes. The Newar community held a dinner called “KuchiBhoe.” Therefore, in this festival, people eat two paths of beaten rice and Bhutan, bara (beancake) and cholla. Tori ko saag, aalo ko achar, (potato pickle) bathmats, also (soybean) Aduwa, (spiced ginger) body (blacked-eyed 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 hens to vehicles, numerous instrumentality, and tools. The devotees believe that worshipping the cars at present can prevent accidents within the coming days.
The night of the Dashain Festival MahaNavami is also called KalRatri or the Black Night. Basantapur Durbar area is awake the whole night, and 54 buffaloes and 54 goats are sacrificed in the DashainGhar according to tradition. Taleju temple is opened publicly on this day. 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, is the 10th day, which is the most significant. On this day, everyone dresses in new elegant dresses and receives tika and blessings from the elders. The women prepare the tika, rice, vermilion, and yogurt mixture. The elders also give the younger ones Dakshina 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 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. They celebrate their happiness with each other and eat delicious food.
Kojagrata Purnima (Day 15)
KojagrataPurnima is the final day of the Dashain and the entire moon day, which masks the ending of the Dashain festival. Laxmi, the God of wealth and luck, can return to earth and bless those who did not sleep all night. Kojagrata Purnima is on the 15th day, the ending day of Dashain, and finally concludes the festival. Dashain Traditions:
Dashain is a festival of joy, entertainment, and happiness. Many different activities are performed during Dashain. Some of the everyday activities are as follows:
• Nepali people fly highly decorative kites in the sky during the festival. They fly kites, also named “Changa,” from their rooftop and play change chait competition whenever kite strings get tangling. Most kids are really into kite flying.
• Another common thing people do is Play card games. Families and friends get together to play cards and enjoy.
• Most of the homes are cleaned and decorated ornately. This gesture also gestures to the Hindu “mother goddess” to come back down and bless the house with sensible luck.
- • All family members away from form gather together and enjoy reunions in clean, beautiful houses. In the Dashain festival. Most Children decorate in elegant clothes and head towards their relatives’ houses to put on tika and receive blessings called ”Aashirbadh.
The weather during Dashain is fair and mild, with a chilled morning. The environment is clean with fresh air and no more dust and mud. Farmers are free from plantations and weddings.
Also, all the colleges, schools, factories, and offices remained 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, and 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 newspapers publish Dashain’s wishes to the folks.
After the Dashain festival ends, everyone returns 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 constructed 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 were destroyed at the end of the festivals.
Thousands of animals were sacrificed, such as buffalo, goats, and ducks, to appease Hindu goddesses throughout the country. People also visit the temple to worship various gods.
Dashain in Nepal
Dashain is the most significant and precedence festival of Hindus worldwide. Nepalese people often call Dashain Bijaya Dashami, Dasai, or Badadasai. It is the longest and is considered 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 falls typically 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 pulpit on the eighth day. The primary goddess worshipped during this festival is Durga. People worship nine forms of the 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 full moon day.
Significance of celebrating Dashain
People celebrate Dashain as the victory of the 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 about celebrating Dashain is Lord Ram killed the demon Ravan on this day. This is why the raven statue is burnt in some parts of Nepal and India to celebrate the victory.
Why is Dashain such a big festival in Nepal?
Dashain is a tremendous and exciting festival for all people in Nepal. Dashain has also been an opportunity to resolve all the problems with the family members and celebrate with full excitement. The rituals of Dashain are those 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 in different countries 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 by seeing elders’ blessings, 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. Dashain is considered the ceremony of reunion, togetherness, and unity among 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 that make this festival more exciting.
Celebration of Dashain in Nepal
- Playing music
Generally, the village people are more excited and eagerly waiting for this festival. The rituals of this festival are more traditional in town. During Dashain, people play 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 today, Malshree dhun has become a ritual for celebrating Dashain.
- Rituals of Dashain
Dashain is mainly 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 reminds God not to send rain anymore.
People fly kites from their roofs. They compete with each other. When one person cuts another person’s kite, 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 families and themselves. Also, children wear new dresses and visit relatives’ houses for tika. As buying clothes is the trend on Dashain, there are sales in many places. If you want to buy new stuff, Dashain is perfect because of the considerable discounts, bonuses, lucky draws, and gift hamper right before the time of Dashain.
Children are playing traditional bamboo swings.
During the Dashain festival, people construct bamboo swings in different places of the county for enjoyment during the festival. High swing is made in village areas. These rituals manifest the tradition, local culture, community, and spirit of having fun during the celebrations. The local people of the village constructed the swing with locally available materials.
Additionally, they use ropes, tough grass, giant bamboo sticks, and wood. Generally, people complete the 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, the structures are very high.
- Fairs and celebration
Dashain is the main festival for many Nepalese people. So, other parts of the country have different fairs and celebrations. 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 specific discounts and offers during the Dashain festival.
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 offered in the festival’s name. People believe that sacrificing animals to Goddess Durga during Dashain helps to get the blessing from 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 lose 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 offer animals to God during this festival’s 7th and 8th days. These days, people also organize the feast of the slaughtered animals.
- Kumari and Ganesh puja
The way of celebrating Dashain is quite different from place to 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 to get together and share happiness among family and relatives. During the Dashain festival, relatives and family members gather around the same place and enjoy themselves. Elders of the house give the blessing of a tika to all the family members. People also visit relatives’ homes to see tika and its benefits. 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. The Dashain festival is one of the many festivals celebrated in Nepal. Traditionally, the Dashain festival was observed only in Nepal and India, but the craze for Dashain has been increasing frequently. This is why many Dashain is celebrated in countries like Pakistan, the United Nations, and Australia. This festival is a way of creating a strong bond with family members and relatives. The Dashain festival promotes love, affection, and unity among people.
- Card game
For enjoyment during the festival, playing cards has also become a trend or tradition during the Dashain festival. 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 vast amounts of money. So, the card game is not a practicable ritual of Dashain. Many lose their property and house while playing cards during the Dashain festival.
Importance of Dashain festival
- Get togetherness
Festivals are all about spending time with your family and friends. During the Dashain festival, going to each other’s houses to put on tikas and seek blessings will increase the love and affection among people. In addition, people living abroad also leave their homes to celebrate this festival with their families. The gift given while putting Dashain’s tika is believed to have immense power and helps overcome hardship and life’s struggles. Playing swings, cards, and flying kites together will increase the fun of celebrating the Dashain festival.
- 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 eat 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 gift. People organize a feast and invite their loved ones on the occasion of Dashain. They also make a lot of delicious food to celebrate the Dashain festival. 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 the Dashain festival 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 the Dashain festival, then you must trek to the Himalayas, as autumn is the best time to travel to the Himalayas. Since the government allows public holidays during this festival, many people walk 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 meager chance of precipitation or rainfall during the Dashain festival, so the weather 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 and clothes. New clothing during the Dashain festival shows the happiness and excitement of 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, 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 festival. People of all religions celebrate Dashain with the same excitement. Seeing everyone from all cases and creeds bond over the Dashain festival is satisfying. If you visit Nepal during Dashain, it might be the epitome of Nepal’s exemplary religious harmony. People of all castes and religions celebrate the Dashain festival by flying kites, participating in the feast, and playing cards.
Cleaning and Decorating the home
Cleaning homes has also become a trend during the Dashain festival. Since people visit each other’s houses during this festival to clean and decorate them, 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 perfect rituals of Dashain. Cleaning and decorating the home is also a way of showing harmony and making people feel welcome in their houses.
Enjoy the most fantastic Dashain festival with your family and close people.
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