- Highlights of Dashain Festival
- What is the purpose of the Dashain festival?
- The Dashain Festival's customs
- Why is Dashain called the biggest festival?
The Dashain is the biggest Hindu festival in Nepal as well as among all the Hindus who live around the world. Dashain is the longest and most celebrated festival, 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 book 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 for 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 attending many worships and puja programs. This year, the Dashain festival starts from 7th October to 15th October as per the Gregorian calendar.
Highlights of Dashain Festival
- 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 goats, buffalos, hens, 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 foreheads. They also get some money as “Dakshina” from older relatives and family members.
What is the purpose of the Dashain festival?
In Nepal, each celebration has a long history. The Dashain festival also has one that is thousands of years old. According to Hindu mythology, this festival was observed to commemorate the triumph of good over bad spirits or demons.
According to legend, the battle between the Hindu goddess Durga and the monster "Mahisasur" lasted nine days. Despite the demon's strength, Goddess Durga prevailed in the terrible battle and killed him. Her victory was acknowledged and applauded on the tenth day, and this festival has been going on ever since.
This festival's fundamental message is that goodness always triumphs over darkness. The elderly always describe this holiday to their children or grandchildren in easy-to-understand importance of this celebration. The only message behind this holiday is simply that doing good deeds, helping others, and being kind to others always wins.
The Dashain Festival's customs
Every single day signifies certain religious purposes. There are many rituals, puja, and worship including fun and fiesta. The first, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth days of the fifteen-day Dashain Festival celebration are the most significant ones for enthusiastic Nepalese.
Day 1: Ghatasthapana is the very first day of Dashain (Sowing Jamara)
The start of Dashain in Nepal is signaled by the Ghatasthapana, a day when the Kalash (pot) is set up, filled with Ganga Jal (holy water), and topped with barley seeds and cow dung. Maa Durga's pot is positioned on top of a rectangular sand block that contains barley seeds and a mixture of sand. The priest continues worship by repeating a phrase that denotes inviting Maa Durga to enter the vessel and take up residence there. Since it is thought that Maa Durga will spend the next nine days within the Kalash, it is filled with holy water every day and kept out of the sun to allow the barley seeds to develop at least to the length of 15 cm. And this holy grass is called Jamara, which is used on the 10th day of Dashain until the full moon day.
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 were worshipped. Myth reveals- Phulpati brings all the nine goddesses to your home and nine plants represent the goddess 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 a 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, ducks, 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 the myth, this was the day when all the demons are slaughtered by Durga and the ceremonies and rituals reach their 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 for 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, plays cards, and flies 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 when 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.
Why is Dashain called the biggest festival?
Dashain is the longest festival of all the festivals in Nepal and most people from each community, ethnic group, and society celebrates this festival in their own way. This festival creates an opportunity to gather family members and relatives in one place. People brought new clothes, and things for the home decorated homes and took a long holiday. Families gather together to share their experiences and things that happened in past years and enjoy drinking, eating, and playing games with kids. Most of the community made a bamboo swing in the center of the community to play together and share happiness.
If you want to witness the celebrating vibes of Nepali culture and people, want to explore the happy faces of Nepali culture, and taste the amazingly delicious food with the most exciting and unique Nepali culture. Then, you can join the Luxury Holidays Nepal for an amazing trip to Nepal at this special festival.
To know more about other festivals please click here: Festivals in Nepal