Dashain is the longest and most celebrated festival of Nepal. Dashain festival takes place around September and October, and is celebrated by most communities in Nepal. This, like Christmas, is the time when family members come together regardless of where they are.
Dashain is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. This festival symbolizes that “good always prevail over bad.” Dashain has its own stories, importance, and implication. It is regarded as a victory of truth over the evil. It reminds us every year that the evil may be strong for a time; the truth and good will always prevail over it. It is one of the most auspicious festivals in Nepal, especially among the Hinduism followers.
Every year we all Nepalis, remember the message –“Good always wins over the evil”, with the celebration of the great festival of Vijaya Dashami.
All Nepalese know what Dashain is and why it is celebrated. The Dashain festival lasts a fortnight while there are 5 most important days.
The beginning of Dashain is marked by ‘Ghatasthapana’, on the Ashwin Sh
la Pratipada (the day after the New Moon in the Nepali month of Ashwin). ‘Ghata’ is pot and ‘sthapana’ is placement. On this day, the Kalash (pot) is filled with holy water and covered with cow dung onto which seeds are sown. A small rectangular sand block is made and the Kalash is put in the center. The surrounding bed of sand is also seeded with grains. The ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a certain auspicious moment determined by the astrologers. At that particular moment, the priest intones a welcome, requesting goddess Durga to bless the vessel with her presence till the Dashami day.
The Kalash and the sand are sprinkled with holy water every day and it is shielded from direct sunlight. By the tenth day, the seed will have grown to five or six inches long yellow grass. The sacred greenish-yellow grass is called ‘Jamara’.
As days pass by regular rituals are observed till the seventh day. The seventh day is called ‘Fulpati’.
In Fulpati, the royal Kalash filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara, and sugar cane tied with red cloth is carried by Brahmans from Gorkha, a three-day walk from the Kathmandu Valley, on a decorated palanquin under a gold-tipped and embroidered umbrella. Hundreds of government officials join the Fulpati parade in Tundikhel grounds. With this, the Dashain feasting starts.
The fervor of worship and sacrifice to Durga and Kali increases. On this day many orthodox Hindus will be fasting. Sacrifices are held in almost every house throughout the day. The night of the eighth day is called ‘Kal Ratri’, the dark night. Hundreds of goats, sheep, hens, ducks, and buffaloes are sacrificed to the fiercest of Goddess Durga’s appearances, the bloodthirsty Kali. The sacrifice continues till dawn. While the puja is being carried out, great feasts are held in the homes of common people where a large amount of meat is consumed as ‘Prashad.’
Temples of mother goddess are filled with people from dusk till dawn. Animals mostly black buffaloes are slaughtered to honor Durga, the goddess of victory and might and to seek her blessing. Military bands play war tunes, gun fires, and offered with beautifully decorated medals.
When the function ends the courtyard is filled ankle deep with blood. On this very day the god Vishwa Karma, the God of creation is also worshiped. All factories, vehicles, any machinery instruments and anything from which we make a living are worshiped. We also give sacrifices to all moving machinery like cars, airplanes, trucks etc. to get the blessing from goddess Durga for protection for vehicles and their occupants against accidents during the year. Any weapons, machinery, and vehicles in the homes are cleaned and puja is done to purify them with sacrifices. The belief is that, in that way, the chances of anyone being hurt by them the following year is nullified.
On this day, we take tika ( a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermilion) and jamara from our elders on the forehead and receive their blessings. The red (tika) also symbolizes the blood that ties the family together. The importance of Dashain also lies in the fact that on this day, family members from far off and distant relatives come for a visit as well as to receive tika from their elders.
This function continues for four days. After four days of rushing around and meeting relatives, collecting blessings and Dakshina (money), Dashain ends on the full moon day, the fifteenth day.
The last day of the festival is the ‘Kojagrata’ Purnima meaning ‘who is awake’. On this day, Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. The goddess Laxmi is given an invitation to visit each and every one, showering whoever is awake all night with wealth and prosperity. People enjoy all night by playing cards and having fun.
Dashain is a very fun and happy time when we Nepalis gather together as one, celebrate our family relationships and exchange happiness.
The NepalBuzz team wishes all our readers and well-wishers a very Happy Vijaya Dashami. Dashain is the day that good won victory over bad. May this Vijaya Dashami clear all your worries and help continue the same true spirit forever and ever.