15 Days of Dashain
Dashain is the greatest festival of Nepal. It is not only celebrated in Nepal but also in different parts of India like Asam and Sikkim. Basically, Hindus and Buddhists delightfully observe this festival across the country. The government offices and all kinds of institutions are closed during this occasion. Those who have been working in foreign lands come back to their home and join their family members for the celebration.
Even the people who haven’t seen someone for a long time promise to see each other in Dashain festival. And one more interesting thing is that when people make some commercial transactions and they do not have the cash right now and make the promise or prepare the signed paper that they will pay it in Dashain. So, it doesn’t only have religious significant but also builds up the social connections among the people. That’s why it is one of the major festivals of Nepal.
Dashain is the most awaited and auspicious festival in Nepal. It is celebrated for 15 consecutive days. It falls in the month of September or October(during trekking seasons in Nepal) according to lunar calendar and ends on the full moon day. The first, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the fifteenth days of the celebration are the most important days in Dashain.
Actually, Dashain is celebrated for a significant victory. It is a victory achieved by goddess Kali (incarnation of goddess Parvati) over demon Mahisasura. The demon Mahisasura troubled the people of Devalok where gods lived and Durga/Kali had a battle with him and defeated on the 10th day . So, the most important day of Dashain is the day 10th. And also, some people interpret this defeat over Demon with relating Ramayan, the battle between Ram and Ravan and the victory of Ram over Ravan.
Day 1: Ghatasthapana
Ghatasthapana marks the first day and the beginning of Dashain festival. It is the auspicious day for placing Kalasha which symbolizes goddess Durga. The Kalash is sowed with different seeds especially barley and other grains. People put holy soil and water for it and sow the grains. It is done on the auspicious time suggested by astrologers.
The Kalash is placed away from the direct sunlight for 9 nights. A person in the family worships it twice a day: evening and the morning. The grains have to be grown like 6/7 inches tall. Due to the lack of sunlight, the grains grow yellow. The yellow grass is considered as sacred ‘Jamara’ and people put it along with red ‘Tika’ on the 10th day, Bijayadashami.
Day 7: Fulpati
The 7th day of the celebration is called Fulpati. On this day people collect banana stalks, sugarcane and different weapons and keep them all nearby Kalasha. Ghorkha Durbar is special on this day because Fulpati would be brought to Kathmandu city from Gorkha in traditional society by walking. Nepal Army performs magnificent shows of celebration in Tudikhekl located at Sahid Gate which is observed by President. Previously, it would be observed by the king when there was kingship in Nepal.
Day 8: Maha Asthami
This is the eighth day of Dashain which is known as Maha Asthami. Maha Asthami is celebrated by sacrificing buffaloes, goats, hens, pigs and ducks at the Kali temples and the blood is offered. The thirsty Kali is offered the blood which symbolizes the celebrations of victory and fertility. People do it across the country. Actually, the people of low castes and Brahmins offer the sacrifice on this very day. The meat is cooked and eaten as holy Prasad.
Day 9: Maha Nawami
This is the last day of Nawaratri. This is also the day of offering sacrifices to goddess Kali. People visit different temples and offer sacrifices of animals and birds. Especially, the great sacrifices are held in the palaces and Kali temples. The Chhetris offer the sacrifices to goddess Durga on this auspicious day.
People warship their vehicles on this special day so that they can avoid accidents. Very few number or no vehicles are found moving on the road on this day.
Day 10: Vijaya Dashami
The 10th day of Dashain is called Vijaya Dashami. It is the most special day among all. On this auspicious day, all the members of the family get together and prepare ‘Tika’ as ‘Prasad’ with rice, yoghurt and vermilion. The elders put Tika on the forehead of juniors and give blessings. While putting Tika, they also use Jamara which is grown on the day of Ghatasthapana. People exchange gifts and give money to the relatives.
They also prepare variety of dishes and enjoy together. Meat and beaten rice are very special on this day. Even some people gamble, drink and play cards in the country and in the cities. All the members purchase very new piece of cloth and wear on this auspicious day. Even the poor obtain the loan from richer and do the same. So, the day is celebrated with great splendor. And on the following days, the same process or celebrations continues till the full moon.
Day 15: Kojagrat Purnima
Kojagrat Purnima is the last day of Dashain. On this day, goddess Laxmi is supposed to come down to the earth and people remain awake for the whole night and worship her. This is the end of the celebrations of Dashain.
Forms of Celebrating Dashain Festival
The most popular and common music that indicates Dashain has arrived is Malshree Music. Every Tv station, FMs, Radios and Online medias play Malshree tune offering greetings to nearer and dearer ones.
Flying kites is another ways of celebrating Dashain. There will be kite flying competition sometimes. Especially, children love to do it.
Similarly, people construct bamboo ping ( swing) at every center point of the villages and the cities where there will be a big gathering of the people during the festival.
Also, the different fairs are held with music and dances. We can experience different types of markets on the fairs. Also the different forms of dramas are performed on the stage to worship goddess Kali/ Durga.
Sacrificing buffaloes, he-goats, hens, ducks, pigs and rams are sacrificed massively. We can observe the goat or rams market on the street everywhere in the country and the city.
Another way of celebrating Dashain is gambling and playing cards. People also drink and play cards in Dashain.