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 and October. Dashain is the utmost festive for the Hindus and celebrates for 15 days. Hindus 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 celebrate it with complete joy and dedication.
People who follow Hinduism worship Goddess Durga for nine days, 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 return to their motherland and spend time with their families 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 rituals 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 observing 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 Hinduism, 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 were when the goddess Durga was defending herself and the world 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 great enthusiasm and courage. It gives them a positive aura and encourages them to fight against demons.
Furthermore, they seek excellent and positive blessings for their elders to defend against any negativity in their life. They also keep the immense belief that the more challenging the age, the more blessings.
The Hindus put tika and Jamara on their forehead as it resembles a sign of blessings. Similarly, new clothes start a new beginning by letting go of the past.
Importance of Dashain Festival
Dashain plays a crucial role in the life of Hindus. 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. It is also the most iconic festival for the Hindus of Nepal and a great time for celebrating without doing any official work.
To date, the rites and rituals are followed in the same way before. However, there are holidays even for public workers along with festival bonuses. 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 during this period. Along with that, they also get to eat uncommon kinds of foods cooked during Dashain. Dashain is foremost for every Hindu person to start new living ways by keeping the negativity aside from their lives. Other than that, Dashain is for the lifelong welfare and prosperity of individuals 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 represent each supreme day. However, to commemorate the gallantry of goodness, this festival prongs how the goddess of virtue struggled against the hellhound. After the ninth day, Hindu citizens claim the honoring of the victory of the goddess. Hence, briefly discuss the rites and rituals followed during this period.
The first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana. From the day of Ghatasthapana, most the private offices give a holiday to their workers. Along with it, most 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, a pot to worship. A 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, which passes the glory and prosperity to 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 by, nowadays it’s normal for women to perform ceremonial. Astrologers determine the auspicious time for 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 families 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, and “Pati” is a word for leaves in the Nepali language. Since this day, the official holiday start when 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 of offering flowers, fruits, and leaves to the goddess of power Durga.
Previously during the monarchy, on the day of Fulpati, Priest kept 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 president’s residence. 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, Hindus scarify 54 buffalos and 54 goats. They distribute slaughtered meats among the people as Prasad. The family members 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 an offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Kali. The night is called Kal Rati, which means black night. After slaughtering the animals as offered to goddesses Durga and Kali, people start to feast on the festival by consuming heavy meals and meats.
During the rite, all the family members sit together and rejoice in 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 that day, the Nepalese Army slaughters buffalos as a sacrifice 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. There is also lore of worshipping of god Vishwa karma on this day. People worship their vehicles, gadgets, 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 people’s mythology, 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. They celebrate this day to observe the goddess Durga’s victory over Mahisasur; astrologers determine the optimistic Dashain tika time every year. On this day, they mix the vivid red scarlet, rice, and curd to form Dashain tika. There is an 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. People wear new clothes during the Bada Dashain and visit their family and relatives. Hindus believe that 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, 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 playing cards to stay awake the whole night. There is also a belief in consuming meats as an offering to the goddess. This way, 15 days of Dashain comes to an end.
How do 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 was 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 day of Ghatasthapana. Until the nine days, Goddess Durga’s systematic reverence encouraged her to kill the demon. Children have divergent Dashain wishes. Wearing new clothes and eating Dashain’s exceptional 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 fight against unpleasant people constantly.
There is a Dashain swing or Dasai ping set up 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 a 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
Many foreigners visit Nepal during September and October to observe Dashain every year. It is the best time to visit Nepal and offer yourself dasai ko tika. Due to the 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 fell in the month of late October. Fulpati is on 23rd October, while the Vijaya Dashami falls on 26th October.