Dashain Festival : Everything you Should know about
Vijayadashami, also known as Dashain is the biggest and the longest festival of Nepal. It is also written as ‘Bijaya Dashami’ which is also known as ‘Bada Dashain’. The festival is widely celebrated all over the Nepal and worldwide by Hindu religious community. Vijayadashami or Dashain is also known as Dussehra or Dashera in some state of India as well as Indian community around the globe.
It is primarily a festival for Hindus but people of every religion, faith or ethnic groups celebrate it as it has emerged as a part of the culture rather than a religious domain. Although, the way of celebration may vary according to various ethnic groups. This festival is celebrated to rejoice the triumph of victory over evil.
This festival is observed for fifteen days. Ghatasthapana marks the beginning of the festival. Families worship Ashta-Matrikas (8 Tantrik Goddesses) and nine avatars of Durga, one on each day. On the tenth day, families and relatives gather and put Tika and receive blessings from the elders. This usually spread over a span of 5 days. This festival also cherishes the power of femininity and annihilation of evil. The last day of the festival falls on full moon day and is called Kojagrat Purnima.
The festival represents the victory of Lord Durga over the Demon 'Mahishasur' as well as the Lord Ram's victory over the Ravan. The festival as a whole is the celebration of victory of virtuous over evil.
The festival falls in Ashoj and Kartik (September and October), starting from Shukla paksha(bright lunar fortnight ) Ghatasthapana and ending on Kojagarat Purnima, the full moon. This festival is celebrated till 15 days. During this festival people carry out many ceremonies and traditions. School, colleges, governmental offices and non-governmental offices remains closed during this festival.
Highlights of Dashain
- Flying kites, the most important part of this festival. Flying kites on Dashin considered as a way of reminding not to send rain during this festival. We can see various colorful kites on the sky during this festival and people on the roof of their house as well as in ground and shouting out 'change cheat', this phrase is usually used when one cuts the other persons kite string.
- Playing cards, during this festival older people of the community plays cards whereas children's are busy flying kites.
- Wearing new clothes, during this festival people desires to buy and wear new clothes. During this festival maximum of shops and malls gives highly discount which makes shopping more attractive.
- Various delicious items of foods used to cooked in each house.
- Bamboo swings, also known as 'ping' in Nepali. Swings are constructed by the members of community with the various typical methods which presents the best of local culture, tradition and fun.
- Butcher animals, more than thousands of animal including Buffalo, he goat, ducks, chicken, butchers every year, specifically in lord Durga and Kali temples. It is believed that goddesses become happier by such sacrifices. Also believed that the festival will be unsuccessful without meats. 'Astami and Nawami' (8th and 9th days) are the major days when sacrifices reach a peak.
- Homes are cleaned and well decorated to welcome goddess.
- People put Tika and Jamara by family and relatives and gets blessing on the 10th day of festival.
Traditional Bamboo Swing (Lingge Ping in Nepali) during Dashain Festival in Nepal
Why is dashin celebrated as the biggest festival of Nepal?
Dashain is the only festival of Nepal which is celebrated by every community. Dashin is all about togetherness of family, relatives, and friends sharing gifts and greetings. This festival is celebrated for the victory of good over evil. Dashain holds many religious back story behind its celebration. During Dashain people worship Goddess Durga, 'The Universal Mother' for resonating power. Goddess Durga has killed demon naming 'Mahisasur' and save the world from sin. And behind this, Lord Rama has killed another demon namig 'Ravan' with the help of goddess Durga. And this religious back story gives us a great lesson that sins can't exist anymore in front of virtue. So Dashain is being celebrated as the biggest festival of Nepal.
How do Nepalese celebrate Dashain till 15 days?
During this festival each day plays a vital role. Some of the key days of this festival are as follows:
Day 1. Ghatasthapana
Ghatasthapana is the first day of Bijaya Dashami. On this day family member will plant Jamara ( usually barely seeds like wheat , maize ) in moist sand. On the 10th day of Dashain will grow to yellow grass. And it is used with tika.
Day 7. Phulpati
Phulpati an assortment of flowers leaves and fruits. On the seventh day 'Saptami' people offer phulpati to Goddess Durga as per tradition all over the country. It is believed that if we welcome phulpati on our home we will be rewarded with wealth and prosperity.
Day 8. Maha Asthami
The eighth day of Bijaya Dashami is known as Maha Asthami and the night of this day is called as Kal Ratri (black night). On this day , the blood thirsty goddess kali appeased by the sacrifices of animals like Buffalo, goats, hens and many more.
Day 9: Maha Navami
Mahanawami, 'the great nith day' the last day of Navaratri. The ceremonies reach at the top on this day. It is believed that the defected Demon army tries to save themselves hiding in animals and fowls body so this day is also known as demon hunting day. 'Vishvakarman' the god of creation is worshipped on this day. It is believed that worshipping vehicles on this day avoids for the year.
Day 10. Bijayadashami or Vijayadashami Tika
This is the major day of this festival. On this day people put tika ( a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion) and Jamara (yellow maize and wheat plant) from their family and relatives on the forehead and take Ashirwad (blessings) and Dakshina (small amount of money). Family and relatives visit each other to exchange gift and greetings and this system continues for five days till the full moon.
Day 15. Kojagrat Purnima
'Kojagrat Purnima' the last of Dashin festival lies on full moon day. On this day, people used to awake whole night and worship the lord of wealth goddess 'Laxmi', believing goddess Laxmi decades on earth and showers with wealth and prosperity to those who awake whole night.