Dashain festival in Nepal
According to the Nepalese Lunar calendar, Dashain is the ruling festival of Nepalese people that falls during the months between late September or October. Dashain is the utmost festive for the Hindu and celebrates it for 15 days. Hindu of Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and North-east India celebrate Dashain/Dasai as the triumph of the goddess Durga after defending the monster Mahisasur. Hindu people celebrate this festival for the conquest of good over evil. Dashain festival in Nepal is the biggest festival so people there celebrate it with full joy and dedication.
For the nine days, people who follow Hinduism worship Goddess Durga whereas, the first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana. Dashami is on the tenth day since the day all the official and public works are closed along with academic fields. This year, the festival of Dashain in Nepal begins from 17 October to 30 October in 2020 according to the English calendar.
Everyone visits their home and relatives to receive blessings from their elders. The migrants and Nepalese youth living across the countries come back to their motherland and spend their time with their family and relatives. On this occasion of delirium, it’s time to eat varieties of delicious foods, receive new clothes, clean houses, play ping, and spend quality time with family. However, there is detached importance of Dashain among Hindu and Buddhist Newar of Nepali people.
The people of Nepal wait for a whole year for Dashain. Likewise, other festive every Hindu follows the rites and ritual during this festival in the context of Nepal. This biggest festival brings a new journey in the life of people. The red tika on the forehead symbolizes the blessings for upcoming days in the year. Hence, people of North-east India like Sikkim, Darjeeling, etc. celebrate this festival as Dussehra.
Why does Nepali celebrate Dashain?
The longest festival in the Nepalese Lunar Calendar is Dashain. Even foreigners are keen to know about the Dashain festival and admire to observe them close enough. The coup of goddess Durga over devil Mahisasur with the victory of Ram in the form of lord Vishnu over Ravana with the blessing of Goddess Durga is the main reason to celebrate the Dashain festival. According to the Myth of Hindu, the festival to conquer the good and destroy the evil shows the correct way to live life and never choose the wrong steps.
The first nine days of Dashain is the period during which the goddess Durga was defending herself and the word against the terrifying evil Mahishasura. Likewise, on the ninth day, known as Nawa Rati, she successfully fought against him. Thus, from the 10th day to the 15th day, the good over evil people celebrate with great enthusiasm and courage. Anyhow, it gives them positive aura and encourages themselves to fight against demons.
Furthermore, they seek good and positive blessings for their elders to defend any negativity in their life. They also keep the immense belief that the higher the age is tough is their more blessings.
The Hindu put tika and Jamara on their forehead as it resembles as the sign of blessings. Similarly, new clothes as the start of a new beginning by letting go of the past.
Importance of Dashain Festival
Dashain plays a crucial role in the life of Hindu. It gives courage to the success of defending superior over inferior and the extensive 15 days holiday for the Hindu people in a year. Likewise, the story of Dashain speaks about the goddess Durga had brutally killed horrifying evil.
Dashain is foremost to fight against deficient or harmful people with blessings and new energy in life. It is also the most iconic festival for the Hindu of Nepal and a great time for celebrating without having to do any official work.
Till the date, the rites and rituals are followed in the same way before. However, there are holidays even for public workers along with festival bonus. The inhabitants of their motherland also get to return from abroad.
Time of Dashain is also paramount for children as they get off from their studies. They are always excited to get new clothes from their family at this period. Along with that, they also get to eat uncommon kinds of foods cooked during Dashain. Dashain is foremost for every Hindu people to start new ways of living life by keeping the negativity aside from their lives. Other than that, Dashain is for life-long welfare and prosperity of individual and upcoming life. People do not celebrate Dashain festivals if any blood-related person has demise from the family within a year.
Main Days of Dashain
People celebrate Dashain Festival in Nepal very deliberately. The 15 days of the festival represents each supreme day. However, to commemorate the gallantry of goodness, this festival prongs how the goddess of virtue struggled against hellhound. After the ninth day, Hindu citizens claim the honoring of the victory of the goddess. Hence, let us talk about the rites and rituals followed during this period briefly.
The first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana. From the day of Ghatasthapana, most of the private offices give a holiday to their workers. Along with it, most of the private schools and college also provides a holiday to the children.
On the day of performing worship, there is the ritual of pot establishing in the holy places or temples. There is the rite of introducing Kalash is also known as a pot to worship. Worshipper fills the pot with clean water from rivers or ponds. There is the placement of Kalash in the center of a seed dibbled in the rectangular sandy area.
The tradition resembles Kalash as Goddess Durga that passes the glory and prosperity in the family. Inside Dashain Grah, the head of the family or only the male members used to perform this sacrament in the presence of a priest where Ghatasthapana establishes.
But as time flew, nowadays it’s normal for women to perform ceremonial as well. Astrologers determine the propitious time of establishing Ghatasthapathan. However, the cardinal of this rite is not to flash out the sown seeding in front of the sunlight every day till nine-day known as Navami.
Furthermore, there is also a belief that people or the family who do not attend this rite are more unlikely to receive any blessings from the goddess of Universe Durga.
As the day comes near, there is another rite of the Dashain festival known as Fulpati. Fultipati falls on the seventh day after Ghatasthapana. The word “Ful” means flowers, “Pati” is a word for leaves in the Nepali language. Since this day, the official holiday start where people start to move out from their destinations to their hometown. The observance of Fulpati lasts for three days from the seventh day of Dashain. It is known as the traditional celebration to offer flowers, fruits, and leaves to the goddess of power Durga.
Previously during the time of monarchy on the day of Fulpati, Priest keeps the Kalash of sacred water with banana leaves, sowed grains, Belpatra, and sugarcane hitched with red cloth inside Dashain Ghar of Hanumandhoka. Priest or Brahmas brings it from Gorkha by decorating it in a wagon. The people of government offices were part of this parade. On the importance of Fulpati, the army of Nepal fires the gun during the arrival of Fulpati from Gorkha.
After the end of the monarchy, Fulpati is placed directly inside the residence of the president. From this day, the cosmic celebration of Dashain starts by feasting in the Hindu community.
The black night of the Dashain festival is called Maha Ashtami. The biggest night falls on the eighth day of the Dashain festival. On this day, worshipper offers the greatest slaughter of animals to Goddess Durga. In the courtyard of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Hindu scarifies 54 buffalos and 54 goats. They distribute slaughtered meats among the people as Prasad. The members of the family eat prasad as the blessing of the goddess Durga and Kali.
During that night, there is the tradition of slaughtering goats, buffalos, and sheep in the houses as the offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Kali. The night is called Kal Rati, which means black night. After slaughtering the animals as offering to goddess Durga and Kali, people start to feast the festival by consuming heavy meals and meats.
During the rite, all the family members sit together and rejoice the festival of superior over inferior. On this day, there is another commemoration within the community of Newar people called Khadga Puja. They worship their weapons on this day.
The great but the last day of Navarati is claimed as Maha Navami. On the day, the Nepalese Army slaughters buffalos as the sacrifices to credit the goddess Durga in the courtyard. After the protocol, the red drops of blood cover the field. Defense Army fires a gun and plays war tunes in the full uniformed. There is the belief of the people that the unmarried girls are another appearance of the goddess Durga. They worship the young girls in the temples and houses.
On this day, there is also lore of worshipping of god Vishwa karma. People worship their vehicles, contraptions, factory machinery, etc. and the things that make their living possible. To avoid traffic accidents in the upcoming days, they worship vehicles. The day is vibrant as people worship the vehicles and equipment with red tika and ribbons.
According to the mythology of people, the god Vishwa Karma protects us from accidents in the future. Some people also offer and scarifies moving equipment to the goddess Durga. It is the last day to worship goddess Durga with rites and rituals. The door of taleju temple at Kathmandu valley opens only currently in a year.
Tika, also known as Bijaya Dashami
On the tenth day, there is Dashain tika claimed as Bijaya Dashami. To observe the goddess Durga’s victory over Mahisasur, they celebrate this day. Every year, astrologers determine the optimistic Dashain tika time. On this day, they mix the vivid red scarlet, rice, and curd to form Dashain tika. There is auspicious Dasai tike time that is different every year. Everybody covets each other “Happy Bijaya Dashami” on this day.
The holy Jamara strewed in Dashain Ghar is taken out and received as the blessing of the goddess Durga. During the Bada Dashain, people wear new clothes and visit their family and relatives. Hindu believes in acquiring Tika and Jamara is the structure of blessings. Red Tika is the symbol of power from Durga. The elders provide Diksina to their younger ones as a blessing. There is the process of receiving a tika for five days among their relatives and families.
Along with the red tika on the forehead, everyone ingests delicious meals along with meat and desserts. Children and adults play Dashain ping and enjoy the fullest.
Kojagrat Purnima or simply Purnima is the last day of the Dashain celebration. It lies on the full moon day of the festival time. Usually, this night, it is the time to stay awake to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity goddess Laxmi.
In the end, people spend their night by playing cards to stay awake the whole night. There is also a belief of consuming meats as the offering to the goddess. This way, 15 days of Dashain comes to an end.
How Nepali Celebrate Dasai?
Dasai is the utmost festival for Hindu people, especially in Nepal. There is the importance of Dashain in every Hindu community. According to the belief of Hindu society, there is a story of Dashain behind the rationale of venerating Goddess Durga. The goddess of power and positivity slaughtered the hellhound Mahisasur. Also, she blessed with potential and prosperity to Ram to kill Ravana.
While celebrating 15 days of Dashain, there is a substantial commemoration in every house from the first of day Ghatasthapana. Until the nine days, there is systematic venerate of Goddess Durga to encourage her to kill the demon. Children have divergent Dashain wishes. Wearing new clothes and eating Dashain’s special food is the most joyful part of Dashain. People celebrate Bada Dasai with their family and relatives by playing cards and eating meals. The cultural importance of the Dashain motivates people to always fight against unpleasant people.
There is a setup of Dashain swing or dasai ping in the village areas. Children love to spend their time playing in the bamboo wring. Everyone wishes each other happy Vijaya Dashami as a greeting and the way of welcoming Dashain.
However, it is an appreciable time for migrants of Nepali citizens to visit back their homes. Every family wishes their children and relatives to get back home during Dashain to celebrate this ceremony together.
Dashain Festival: The best time to visit Nepal
Every year a lot of foreigner visits Nepal during September and October to observe about Dashain. It is the best time to visit Nepal and offer yourself with dasai ko tika. Due to pandemic, it is strenuous for people to celebrate Dashain 2020 in Nepal. The economic condition is not well in Nepal this year, so there might not be a large gathering during the commemoration. In 2020, Dashain falls in the month of late October. Fulpati is on 23rd October while the Vijaya Dashami falls on 26th October.