The Dashain is the biggest Hindu festival in Nepal as well as all the Hindu who live around the world. Dashain is the longest and most celebrated festival in Nepal, which runs from the bright moon until the full moon day of Ashoj/Kartik according to the Hindu calendar. The Dashain is the longest and most auspicious festival in Bikram Sambat Calendar (Nepali Calendar). The Dashain is the most anticipated festival in Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and northern India.
Dashain is celebrated to mark the victory over Mahisasur according to the Hindu religion books Ramayan. A long time ago, the evil king Mahisasur who has cruelly terrorized the people of India in the form of raging water buffalo. The Hindu goddess Durga (The Universal Mother of Goddess) had a 10 days long fight with the evil king and got victory over the Mahisasur on the 10th day. That’s why Dashain is also celebrated in the whole 10 days and especially worship goddess Durga at this time. The holiday season of Dashain is a celebration of “ the triumph of good over evil”. Dashain festival is the great harvest festival of Nepal were family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and attend many worships and puja programs. This year, the Dashain festival starts from 17th October to 26th October as per the Gregorian calendar.
Playing kites when the festival comes near and you can experience the hundreds of kites in the sky of Kathmandu and nearby cities.
Elder people normally play card games and get together at the same time. Some people like to play with drinks and food.
Homes are cleaned and decorated with new colors and flowers. It's a symbol of welcoming the Hindu “mother goddess” to come home and bless the home with good luck and prosperity.
Most people buy new clothes, jewelry, decorations, and design items during this festival.
Temporary bamboo swings are made in the open place in the middle of the town so that everyone can go and play there and local people organize dancing and singing programs near the swing so that the time looks more festive.
Thousands of animal sacrifices are made including goat, buffalos, hen, and ducks on the 8th and 9th day of Dashain.
This is the festival where young people get blessings from their family and relatives by putting Tika and Jamara on their forehead. They also get some money as “Dakshina” from the older relatives and family members.
Dashain is one of the triumph stories according to Hindu religious books and mythology. This festival is celebrated for the victory over the devil who cruelly terrorized the people. This evil was killed by the Universal Mother of Goddess Durga in the big war which lasted for 10 days. The Goddess Durga is worshiped for resonating power. Also, her victory over the demon symbolizes that evil can’t be a ruler of people and harmful power doesn’t exist. Besides this, Dashain is also the victory of God Ram over the devil Ravan with the blessing of Goddess Durga. That’s why Hindu people celebrate the biggest festival.
Every single day signifies certain religious purposes. There are many rituals, puja, worship including fun and fiesta.
Day 1: Ghatasthapana is the very first day of Dashain
On this day, every household plant Jamara ( a maize plant that is planted inside the home) is an essential part of this festival. Then the seed of maize began to sprout. Several days later, five to six inches long yellow plants would thrive, which is normally used on the 10th day of Dashain until the full moon day. From day one to 6th day is normal Puja on Kalash which is jointly put with the Jamara in some corner of the home.
Day 7: Fulpati, presenting sacred flowers
On this day, it’s a tradition in Nepal to bring nine types of Phulpati into the room where Goddess Durga and the pile of sand was worshipped. Myth reveals- Phulpati brings all the nine goddesses to your home and nine plants represent the goddess and it is believed that welcoming Phulpati to the home signifies entering health, wealth, and prosperity in your home. Therefore, the seventh day of Vijaya Dashami is called Phulpati in Nepal. On this day, there is a major event that is celebrated at the center of Kathmandu, Tundikhel where canon is fired for celebration. The Brahmins carry royal Kalash, holy Jamara, banana stalks, and sugar cane tied with red cloth from Gorkha to Kathmandu with the sightseeing of those places
8th Day: Maha Asthami, slaughtering the livestock
On this day Goddess Durga manifests to the bloodthirsty kali and is appeased through the sacrifice of buffaloes, goats, duck, and hens in temples throughout the nation. Blood symbolic of its fertility is offered to the goddesses. The night of this day is called Kal Ratri (Black Night). Appropriately enough, several animals are to be sacrificed their life in the country- yard of all the land revenue offices in the country on this day. After being dedicated to the Goddess, that meat would be brought home which is also called Prasad and it is said that taking Prasad will bring good luck in your life.
9th Day: Maha Navami
According to myth, this was the day when all the demons are slaughtered by Durga and the ceremonies and rituals reach the peak on the 9th day of Dashain. On this day, God Vishvakarma( God of creation) with the belief of making the things we used happy and prosperous. Most of the tools are worshipped by sacrificing and offering animals. Thousands of devotees go and pay respect to the goddess in the “Taleju” Temple gates which are opened to the public on this day of the year. You can see many people line up to visit Taleju Temple and beg for goddess blessings.
10th Day: Vijaya Dashami, receiving Tika from elder relatives and family members
On this auspicious day, seniors put ‘Tika’ and ‘Jamara’ giving blessings to their young ones. In preparation of Dashain, every Home is cleansed and attractively decorated, as an invitation to goddess Durga so that she may visit and bless the home with good fortune! This day is celebrated like a family reunion where everyone enjoys a variety of delicious food, playing cards, and flying kites and also gives the working people time to relax and celebrate this festival.
15th Day: Kojagrata Purnima
It’s a full moon day and the last day of Dashain where people worship the goddess of wealth and luck. Kojagrata means “who is awake”. People believe that, on this day, the Goddess of wealth Laxmi comes to earth and blesses the people who didn’t sleep all night. That’s why this day becomes an excuse for Nepalese people to gamble all night.
Dashain is the longest festival among all the festivals in Nepal and most of the people from each community, ethnic groups, and society celebrate this festival in their own way. This festival creates an opportunity to gather family members and relatives in one place. People brought new clothes, things for the home, decorated homes, and took a long holiday. Families gather together to share their experience and things which happened in past years and enjoy drinking, eating, and playing the game with kids. Most of the community made a bamboo swing in the center of the community to play together and share happiness.
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To know more about other festivals please click here: Festivals in Nepal