The biggest festival of the year for Nepalese is Dashain, which takes place in late September and early October. Dashain, the longest and most auspicious festival on the Nepalese calendar, is celebrated by all Nepalese from every caste and creed.
The celebrations last fifteen days and end on the day after the full moon. Throughout Nepal, the goddess Durga is worshipped in all her manifestations. They offer countless offerings, make a lot of sacrifices and take a holy bath that drenches the goddess for days.
Dashain is a celebration of the great victory of gods over wicked demons. Ramayan is one of the most famous victory stories. It tells how lord Ram, after a long struggle, killed Ravana, the fiendish demon king. Legend has it that Lord Ram won the battle because goddess Durga was invoked.
This main celebration celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is represented by goddess Durga’s victory over Mahisasur, a terrible demon who terrorized the earth under the disguise of a water buffalo. The nine days following are the nine days of the iron battle between goddess Durga, the demon Mahisasur and the God Shiva.
The tenth day marks the day Mahisasur was killed. The last five days signify the celebration of victory with the blessings of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great joy, and goddess Durga is worshipped throughout the kingdom as the divine mother goddess.
Every home is cleaned and decorated in preparation for Dashain. The mother goddess will visit the home to bless it with good luck. Every household experiences the reunion of distant relatives and those who live nearby. Shoppers are looking for new clothes, gifts, luxuries, and vast amounts of temple offerings for the gods.
For the great slaughter, thousands of sheep, goats and ducks are being prepared. All kinds of organizations are closed for 10 to 15 days. It is almost impossible to find labourers; everyone, from the poor to wealthy, enjoys the festive mood. Everywhere you go, the scent of Vijaya Dashami is everywhere.
The nine first days of Dashain are known as Navaratri When tantric rites can be performed. The life force of Nepal is represented in the goddess Durga, who in many forms represents the divine energy and power than the female. Each goddess that emanated from goddess Durga is known as devis.
They each have different strengths and aspects. The most common representation of the mother goddess temple is a sacred Kalash, carved jug, or multiple-handed goddess holding deadly weapons. These nine days are dedicated to paying homage.
Good fortunes will come to those who worship her properly and are happy with their lives. If they are angry by neglect, misfortunes can be just around the corner. A mother goddess is the source and end of all energy.
Dashain’s first day is called GhatasthapanaThe root word for pot establishing is. The prayer room is set up for this occasion with the Kalash (holy water vessel), which symbolizes goddess Durga. It often has her image embossed on it. The Kalash is filled up with holy water and then covered with cow dung.
This cow dung can be used to sow seeds. The Kalash is placed in the middle of a small rectangular sand block. The surrounding sand bed is also seeded in grains. Astrologers determine the auspicious moment at which the ritual of Ghatasthapana is to be performed. The priest then gives a welcoming speech, asking goddess Durga for her blessing.
“The room in which the Kalash is installed is known as “The Room.” Dashain Ghar“. Women are generally not permitted to enter the space where Dashain puja takes place. Every day, a priest or household man worships the Kalash once in the morning and again in the evening. Holy water is sprinkled on the Kalash and the soil daily, and it is protected from direct sunlight.
The seed will be five to six inches tall by the tenth day. Jamara is the name of the sacred yellow grass. Elders bestow it on the heads of younger people during the five days before tika is performed. It is used as both a symbol of Goddess Durga and an elders blessing.
Regular rituals are followed until the seventh day as days pass. The seventh day is called“Fulpati”.
Brahmans carry the royal Kalash, filled with holy water and banana stalks, jamara, sugar cane, and red cloth, under a decorated palanquin. Government officials are also invited to join the fulpati parade. The Dashain feasting begins.
The Maha Ashtami is the eighth day. As Kali and Durga are more revered, so does the enthusiasm for sacrifice and worship. Many orthodox Hindus will fast on this day. Almost every home holds gifts throughout the day. Kal Ratri, or the night, is the night of the eighth day. At the temples of mother goddesses, hundreds of buffaloes, sheep, and goats are sacrificed. The ritual continues until dawn. During the puja, great feasts are hosted in the homes and offices of the common people.
Navami is the ninth day. From dawn to dusk, people fill temples dedicated to the mother goddess. To honour Durga, the goddess of victory and might, animals mostly made up of black buffaloes are killed to honor her and seek her blessing. The military bands play war music, guns roar and the officers wearing beautifully decorated medals stand there in their full uniforms.
The courtyard is swollen to the ankle after the event. The God of creativity, Vishwa Karma, is also worshipped on this day. All machinery, factories, and any other machine instrument from which we earn a living are also honoured. We offer sacrifices to all motor vehicles, such as trucks, aeroplanes, and cars. To receive the blessing of goddess Durga to protect vehicles and their occupants from accidents throughout the year. The whole day is colorful.
The Dashami is the tenth day. On this day, we receive our blessings by taking tika and jamara to our elders. Our elders are invited to their homes to get tika, while our younger relatives come to our homes to receive blessings. Dasain is also important because family members from distant and faraway relatives visit to see the family head and receive tika.
The celebration continues for four more days. After four days of running around and visiting relatives Dashain, it ends on the full moon day (15th). The last day is when people go home to rest. The full moon day is also known as ‘Kojagrata’, which means ‘who’s awake’. Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, is revered. On this day, Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is invited to visit everyone.
Everyone returns to their everyday lives after Dashain. People are now ready to work hard and gain virtue, power, and wealth after receiving the blessings of goddess Durga. Dashain is, therefore, the longest festival and the most awaited among all the festivals in Nepal.