Dashain: The Most Important Festival of Nepal

Dashain, also called Bijaya Dashami, is Nepal’s most important festival celebrated all over the nation until ten long days. People celebrate it like no other festival as every individual of the country is involved in the celebration.

Dashain is a great festival originating in India. People of different religions and castes celebrate this most awaited festival. Some of the people include Buddhists, Kirats, Hindus, Nepali, Bhutan, Burma, India, etc.

During this festival, all of the governmental, as well as private offices, schools, colleges, etc., are closed. The capital of the country, Kathmandu, get silenced as people return to their respective homes to get together with their family for this grand celebration.

Hindu people mainly celebrate the Dashain festival as it is also known as the festivals of Hindu. This festival usually falls in September or October. Bijaya People celebrate Dashami for fifteen long days. However, in these fifteen days, people consider the first, seventh, ninth, tenth, and fifteenth day to be more critical than others.

You can feel the environment of Bijaya Dashami whenever the children around start flying kites all over the sky.

History of Dashain

Festival Dashain began after the great battle between a water buffalo demon named Mahishasura and Goddess Durga. According to the Hindu myth, Mahishasura was causing trouble in the world, and stopping that problem, goddess Durga stepped up and had to battle with the demon, Mahishasura.

History of Dashain
Goddess Durga

The battle lasted for ten days and was finally won by Goddess Durga on the tenth day. The victory means Vijaya, and the tenth day represents Dashami. Due to this reason, Bijaya Dashami is celebrated all over Nepal, with people worshipping the goddess Durga with pujas, offerings, and drenching the goddess in the blood of sacrificed animals. People sacrifice different animals for performing pujas. Among the different sacrificed animals, some of the animals are cocks, buffaloes, goats.

Bijaya Dashami also carries another significance of the victory of good over evil. The story goes by the name Ramayan. In the Ramayan, the lord Ram defeated the demon lord Ravana after a great fight. Bijaya Dashami also symbolizes this victory.

How People Celebrate Dashain

Bijaya Dashami is the most anticipated festival which people celebrate for a long time. Since people get lots of free time as they do not need to work during Bijaya Dashami, people get involved in various fun activities.

Flying Kites

Bijaya Dashami is the festival of kites. A lot of people get ready to buy kites along with ‘dhago and lattai.’ The later is available to people from the previous year as they are reusable. During the festival, people of different ages and groups fly kites. The adult teaches their young ones how to fly kites, whereas the youngsters are involved in operating kite competition.

Flying Kites
Flying Kites

In the competition involving flying kites, the thread used for flying different kites get entangle with one another, and the owner tries to show his skill to cut down the thread the other. The battle ends when a person cut one of the entangled thread. People waiting for this moment start to race with one another to grab the disowned kite, shouting, “Changa Chait.”

With the onset of Bijaya Dashami, you can hear people playing different songs in the radios, FMs, TVs in every household. These songs represent the festival. One of the most popular songs played during the festival is Malshree Music.

Playing Swing

Another distinguished activity during the Bijaya Dashami is playing swing. People construct bamboo swing at different centers of the villages and cities. The swing built is giant. People present in the town or city gather around the rhythm to play it in turn—mostly women and children involved in this activity.

Playing Cards

Similarly, other ways of killing time and having fun during the festival are to play different games. Men, women, even children, indulge in gambling. They meet with their friends to gamble. They also play cards with one another. Having a large family with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins is surely advantageous during this time.

Playing Walnut

People also play walnut. It means playing with walnut. In the game, people dig a hole in the ground. With nine walnuts in hand, a dealer shoves the nuts into the hole. Before pushing the nuts into the hole, people put their bet on the odd number of walnuts remaining in the hole.

When the dealer shoves the walnuts into the hole, some nuts come out of the hole. If the hole consists of an even number of the walnut, then the dealer sweeps all the bets. If the hole consists of an odd number of a nut, then the dealer has to pay fine.

Different Days of Dashain

1st Day of Dashain: Ghatasthapana

Ghatasthapana is the first day of Dashain. It represents the beginning of Dashain. The word Ghatasthapana carries meaning in Nepali. It represents placing a pot known to be Kalash that represents the goddess Durga. Thus on this day, people fill the bowl with holy water and then sow barley seeds in it.

People place the Kalash containing holy water in the sand block. They also sow the remaining sand with grain seeds. The people contact their home priest. The priest performs puja at a suitable time suggested by astrologers, to request goddess Durga to bless the vessel.

Dashain Jamara
Dashain Jamara

People perform this ritual in a particular room called Dashain Ghar. People allocate a separate room for a different purpose where outsiders should not enter. The seed sown develops into yellow grass by the tenth day of the festival. This grass is sacred. People call it as Jamara. Jamara is one of those things that represent this festival.

7th Day of Dashain: Phulpati

Phulpati occurring on the seventh day of Dashain is another important day of this festival. On this day, government officials in formal dress gather together in Tundikhel to witness Brahmins bringing royal Kalash, banana stalks, Jamara from Gorkha.

The Nepalese army also displays its performance by firing weapons for ten to fifteen minutes. In the past, King used to perform rites and rituals for the government. Now, after the removal of the King, the role has been taken by the President.

9th Day of Dashain: Maha Navami

Maha Navami falls on the ninth day of the festival. People perform ceremonies and rituals at peak since it is the last day of Navaratri. On this day, the government offers the sacrifices of animals, especially buffaloes, with gunfire. The government performs sacrifices to eradicate the remaining defeated demon hiding in animals and fowls. Thus people celebrate it as demon hunting day.

On this day, people worship their equipment and tools as well as vehicles. They perform puja on their too and vehicles and offer sacrifices of the animals and fowls. People believe that if they worship their vehicles on this day, then it prevents accidents all over the year.

Only on this day, people open the gates to Taleju Temple. Thus people crowd the temple on this day.s

10th Day of Dashain: Bijaya Dashami

Bijaya Dashami falls on the tenth day of the festival. On this day, the elders put tika and jamara on the forehead of the younger ones. Thus on this day, people visit their relatives to put tika and to get their blessing. After putting tika, the elder gives money to their young relatives as “Dakshina.”

Due to Dakshina, the ritual of putting tika is very much famous among the youngsters as they think of it as collecting money day. The ritual of placing a tika continues up to five days. The ritual helps to renew the respect of youngsters toward their elders and the love of elders toward young ones.

Conclusion

Thus people celebrate Bijaya Dashami with great joy among the people. However, due to social influence, people get indebted to celebrate this festival. Due to this reason, the arrival of Dashain even worries some people.

The festival is all about keeping the culture alive and showing your devotion to god. However, in the process, you should only perform the activities that are a cup of your tea.