Dashain: The Greatest Festival
Dashain, Bada-Dashain, Vijaya Dashami, these words are the most common words at the moment. In every sentence people speak they use the word “Dashain”. “I am going home for Dashain, I am buying clothes for Dashain, and I need salary for Dashain.” We are accustomed with these lines. It is rare to find a single person here in Nepal who does not know about Dashain. Dashain is the greatest festival in Nepal which is celebrated in late September or in early October (according to Nepali calender it is celebrated in the month of Kartik), starting from the bright lunar fortnight and ending on the day of full moon. Dashain is the longest and the auspicious annual festival in Nepal for almost all Nepalese people. Dashain has its own significance for the celebration from the traditional point of view. Dashain symbolizes the victory of goodness over the evil. Goddess “Durga” is worshiped throughout the country as divine deity. Dashain is celebrated for 10 days; therefore, it is considered as the longest festival of Nepal. Day 1: Ghatasthapana It is the 1st day of Dashain. On this day, Kalash (a kind of traditional jug) is filled with holy water, cow dung and plant with barley seed. Goddess Shakti is believed to reside in the Kalash vessel during the Navaratri period. The place where this puja is performed is called Dashain ghar. People worship twice a day there and water in Kalash. By the tenth day of Dashain these seed grow long and these scared grasses are known as “Jamara”. Till the seventh day same ritual is repeated. Day 7: Fulpati The seventh day of Dashain is Fulpati where Jamara is brought form Gorkha District to be used by royal family from their ancestral house, all the requirement necessary for tika. After Monarchy system was ended in 2008 the Fulpati is taken in the home of the prime minister instead of the royal family. Day 8: Maha Asthami Maha Asthami is the eighth day of Dashain. This day has the great significance. In this day blood thirsty kali is placated after the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of animals. Therefore, in this day blood is offered in the name of goddess kali in different temples. The night of this day is called kaal-ratri. Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu is the main place, where a total 54 buffaloes and 54 goats are sacrificed in the midnight and the blood and meat is cooked for the Prasad. This puja is performed at home too. Day 9: Maha Nawami Maha Nawami is the ninth day and the last day of Navaratri with great values. On this day, a massacre was operated in one of the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace called the Kot courtyard. On this day, people worship Vishwakarma (god of creativeness) is also worshiped. The Taleju temple is opened for the public only on this day of the year. Day 10: Bijaya Dashami Dashami which means ten, so, this is the tenth day of Dashain and the last. This day is the most important day where women prepare tika which is the mixture of rice and yogurt. Juniors receive tika and Jamara from the elders on their forehead along with blessings and dakshina(money). The red tika symbolizes the blood that unites the family together. This ritual is continued for five more days. In this way Dashain is celebrated all over Nepal. It is the time for reunion of family, to share happiness, to be loved and to share love, to enjoy every bit of life. So, enjoy the greatest festival of the year with joy and happiness. Happy Dashain to all of you!!