Dashain Festival of Nepal

Dashain Festival of Nepal
27/Oct/2023

Dashain Festival is an important occasion for every Nepali citizen residing in Nepal and other places in the world. Every country and nation has special festivals and celebrations according to their law and values. So, the Dashain also known as “Vijaya Dashami” in the Nepali language is very significant for Nepalese where elders bless the younger ones for a prosperous future.

Not only the Nepalese but also the Gorkha people speak the Nepali language and stay in the hills of India and some parts of Bhutan to celebrate Dashain. Moreover, In India, the Dashera festival is celebrated corresponding to Nepali time, which is very similar to the Dashain Festival of Nepal.

View of Foreigners on Dashain Festival of Nepal

Many tourists and foreigners who have visited Nepal or have not visited are willing to know about Nepalese festivals. And the major celebrations like Dashain could be a grand opportunity for them to explore the traditions, cultures, and rituals of Nepalese. Activities that visitors and tourists could do during Dashain festivals are:

  1. They could take part in small fairs organized in different parts of Nepal.
  2. Visiting temples or Shaktipeeth to inspect rituals and traditions
  3. Taking part in the chariot procession of three main districts Kathmandu, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur
  4. Tourists could also observe the official parade program heading towards the Hanuman Dhoka royal palace.
  5. Major government officials give blessings and put tika on the forehead at public places.
  6. They could go on Trekking and natural trips in a festival mood.

What is the meaning of the Dashain Festival?

Dashain actually symbolizes the victory of good over evil. There are many myths related to Dashain but Dashain mainly represents the power of feminism Goddess Durga.

Ancient mythology says that once a demon named Mahishasura caused terror and havoc in the mortal world and any of the powerful gods were unable to kill it. Only the Goddess Durga on the tenth day of the battle win over the demon. The first nine days’ story symbolizes the fierce battle between Durga and the Mahishasura. And Hindus also believe that on this day, the God Ram had victory over Ravan as told in Ramayana.

The Dashain festival of Nepal is meant to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Nepalese aspire to grow stronger and prosperous in the future from the blessings of elders in this festival.

What is the Dashain for Nepalese?

Dashain festival of Nepal is the longest(15 days)  and favorite festival of Nepalese for all age groups. You know, there are so many reasons to make Dashain a special and most liked festival. People get long holidays, parents purchase new clothes for children, visit distant relatives and loved ones. Delicious food and the money(Dakshina) obtained as a blessing and gift from an elder member of the family make everyone’s childhood memory awesome.

When I was a child, the sky full of colorful kites used to give the sensation of the Upcoming Dashain festival. Many small children as well as teenagers were flying the kites. Only when I grew up, I knew that not only kids but adults also enjoy kite flying in a Dashain.

The atmosphere itself is exciting, everybody has a smile on their face doing shopping for the festival. Moreover, those who have been working or staying away from family and hometown also could return for celebrations and gatherings. Dashain allows them to gather with loved ones and dear ones. One could enjoy the free time from work and rejuvenate in Dashain vacation. Most importantly, the powerful Hindu Goddess Durga and her various forms of Manifestation are worshiped in different temples of Nepal(Shaktipeeth).

Overall, Dashain is the perfect time for families and relatives to assemble who have not met for a long time.

Hindu devotees all over the world celebrate Dashain as it is the most prominent ceremony symbolizing prosperity and victory.

When is the Nepali festival Dashain celebrated?

Dashain festival is the longest(for about 15 days) and the most fortunate ceremony for Nepalese. It occasionally falls in the month of September or October. Since Nepal has the Nepal Sambat calendar system, so Dashain falls in the Ashvin or Kartik month of the local calendar.

But in this year 2020 Dashain falls in late October due to longer previous months. It starts on 17th October and will be celebrated until the 31st of October according to English Calendar. Farmers usually harvest their crops after celebrating major festivals like Tihar and Chatth including Dashain.

How long is Dashain?

Mostly, Nepalese celebrate Dashain for fifteen days among which, the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth days are remarked as the most important dates.

  • First day: Ghatasthapana

On the first day of the Dashain festival, people sow “Jamara” grass in a pot called Kalasha. The pot is filled with pure water, cow dung, and some seeds to make the grass grow. Then we should give that Kalasha to the priest for worshipping Goddess Durga to reside inside the pot. And after 9 days(in Navaratri), people say that the goddess resides in the vessel.

Day by Day females of the house worship the pot whereas other outsider women are not allowed to enter the room. In addition to Puja and worshipping, every day the pot needs holy water. By protecting it from direct sunlight for 10 days, five inches of grass called “ Jamara” grows and is finally put on the corners of the ear as a blessing on the tenth day.

  • Seventh-day: Fulpaati

On the seventh day, a major parade occurs in Kathmandu Valley towards Hanuman Royal Palace. Actually, Brahmins carry the Royal Kalasha tied with red clothes along with banana stalks, Jamara, and sugar cane. This ceremony occurs in Tundikhel of Kathmandu.

  • Eighth day: Maha Ashtami

On this day people sacrifice animals like buffalo, hens, and goats because “Kali” the bloodthirsty fierce manifestation of Durga originates on this day. So, people sacrifice animals and offer their blood(symbol of fertility) to please the goddess Kali. People of the Newar community conduct “Khadga Puja” for worshipping their weapons on this day.

  • Ninth day: Mahanawami

Mahanawami or Navaratri is the 9th day when people do puja on their vehicles and machinery goods to prevent accidents. People believe that the God of creation “Vishokarma” created all the equipment and things that make our living and should be worshipped very well. Those who did not worship their vehicles on Vishwakarma puja worship their car, bus, and bike on this day.

One more thing, many temples of Goddess Taleju are open to the general public on this day. Hundreds of devotees worship and pay respect to goddess this day.

  • Tenth day: Vijaya Dashami

How important the other days are it does not count until it’s Vijaya Dashami. It is the most important day of the Dashain. On this day Nepalese prepare, a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermillion called ‘tika”. Elders put this tika and Jamara sowed on the first day of Dashain on the forehead of the younger one with a lot of blessings and “ Dakshina” a small amount of money.

The red tika on the forehead symbolizes the blood, a strong family bond, and the Jamara symbolizes green prosperity. Not all Nepalese put on red tika, but some Buddhist followers and Mongolian ethnicity put on white tika to fulfill the rituals of Dashain. This ritual of taking tika and blessings from elder ones and even distant relatives continues for five days.

  • Fifteenth day: Kojagrat Purnima

Dashain Festival in Nepal continues till the full moon day called “ Kojagrat Purnima”. People believe that the Goddess of wealth “Laxmi” ascends to earth on this day. So, people worship goddess Laxmi and play cards all night as part of celebrations.

Summary

The Dashain festival of Nepal is like Christmas for Westerners. The whole nation celebrates Dashain in Joy and happiness by worshipping Goddess Durga. People wear and buy new clothes, eat delicious food, and meet with their relatives and friends. Flying kites, playing cards, and swinging are the methods to celebrate Dashain. Furthermore, Tihar’s other festivals of lights and colors appear after Dashain which makes the whole nation smile in stunning light.

Our team at Nepal High Trek & Expedition could not wait anymore to invite you on this auspicious occasion. Foreigners as guests would get to know about dazzling traditions and rituals from the locals in the seasons of celebration.