Monday, 27 May, 2024

Dashain Festivity

Dixya Poudel

Each year in October, Nepali people look forward to celebrating Dashain. The days leading to Dashain this year were filled with intermittent rain. However, the herald of Dashain has put cheers in the ambience amongst the Nepalese. This year Dashain commenced on 29th of September and will end on the 13th of October. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival of Nepal.
Dashain is a Hindu festival celebrated in Nepali community and is a fifteen day celebration. It is about extending goodwill among fellow celebrators. According to Holy epic Ramayana, Lord Ram's wife Sita was abducted by the demon Ravan and subsequently a war was waged between lord Ram and Ravan. At the end of the battle Ravan was killed by lord Ram. Dashain is therefore a celebration of this victory of lord Ram over Ravan. According to another Hindu legend, Goddess Durga killed the evil demon named Mahishasura in a ten day battle. Dashami is thus the tenth day of the festival which marks the victory of goddess Durga over Mahishasura.
The important days of Dashain are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and fifteenth days. Dashain commences on the first day which is known as Ghatasthapana. On this day, devotees plant maize and barley seeds on a mixture of sand and mud which is then placed on the room of religious worship. The planted seeds grow into slender yellow grass known as jamara which are to be used during tika. The seventh day of Dashain is Phulpati during which the Nepali government organises a function as the Phulpati parade is carried from Tundikhel to the Presidential residence.
On the following eighth day goddess Kali is worshipped and this day is known as Maha Asthami. Animals such as goats, ducks, hens and buffaloes are sacrificed as their blood is offered to placate the fiery goddess Kali, one of the manifestations of goddess Durga. Then the ninth day is Maha Navami during which the God of creation, Vishwakarman is worshipped along with all the vehicles and equipment. This day is an important day for mechanics, craftsman and artisans. Also, the Taleju temple is open to public only during this day of Maha Navami.
The most important day of Dashain is the tenth day, also called as Bijaya Dashami. On this day, tika is prepared which the elders put on the foreheads of the younger family members and relatives. This is a sacred moment as the elders bless their younger family members and relatives with tika, jamara and dakshinas (tokens of money or gifts.) The final and fifteenth day of Dashain is the Kojagrat Purnima as Dashain celebrations come to an end.
The government and private offices and educational institutions are closed for holidays to celebrate Dashain. The sky is adorned with kites as they are flown as a part of festivities. Playing on bamboo swings is also a way of celebrations. Supermarkets and shops all over the nation offer festival discounts for eager shoppers. People enjoy playing cards, shopping for new clothes and preparing delicious cuisines as they relax in their Dashain holidays with their family, friends and relatives.
Thus Dashain symbolises peace, harmony and goodwill among the Nepalese communities. Let us celebrate Dashain with solidarity as we partake in the joyous festivities. Happy Dashain!