The festivals of Nepal demonstrate the greatness of its culture. The vibrant and energetic Nepalese festivals demonstrate the glory of our Nepalese culture. Nepal celebrates festivals with passion and devotion. Nepal is a well-liked and understood country with numerous celebrations. And, today we are going to talk about one of the greatest Hindu festivals in Nepal – the Dashain Festival.
We know the Dashain Festival brings a carefree and joyous feeling. Consider days of fun and games with family and friends. We’re sure you have made arrangements for this annual event. However, we have gathered a list of fun activities to celebrate Dashain this year.
To give you a good sense of Dashain 2023 and its dates, here is some information that I think you’ll find useful! It will also explain the significance of Dashain in Nepal!
Dashain Festival in Nepal
Dashain, also recognized as Bijaya Dashami is Nepal’s largest, longest, and most auspicious festival. This is Nepal’s longest Hindu celebration, generally lasting two weeks. Dashain is a festival dedicated to Durga, the Universal Mother Goddess. Dashain, Nepal’s big harvest festival, is a time for family reunions, the exchanging of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas.
Dashain celebrates the Goddess Durga, who was created from the shakti or spirit of all the gods and was armed with weaponry from each of them. Dashain is a national holiday celebrating the goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura. During the celebration, all government agencies, educational institutions, and other public sectors will be closed.
Once upon a time, the Goddess Durga, in ten various forms, mounted the tiger and armed herself with magical weapons to battle the monster Mahishasura. Goddess Durga eventually killed the devil and saved the entire land after fighting for nine days and nights. To honor the fearless Durgar, Nepal’s ruler refers to her as “the sacred defender.” Sacrifices to the Goddess have since become one of the most prominent joyous rituals.
Ghatasthapana (First day of Dashain Festival)
Sthapana means “to establish” and ghata means “pot or vessel.” This day occurs on the first day after the no-moon day of the Bikram Sambat Calendar’s Ashwin month. When two words are combined, the literal meaning is to make a pot.
How is Ghatasthapana Puja performed?
On this day, holy water is poured into the kalasha, which is then mixed with barley seeds and cow manure. Then it was given to the priest, who prayed for the Goddess Durga’s blessings. The kalasha will be placed in the chamber following the ritual. The kalasha will be worshipped twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. However, as society has progressed, women now have the right to worship. Kalasha is kept out of direct sunlight and watered well every day. Then the seeds begin to sprout which is called JAMARA. Several days later, five or six-inch-long yellow jamara would grow in the kalasha.
Why is Ghatasthapana celebrated?
Ghatasthapana is an important day on the Nepali calendar. On this day, priests sing in honor of Goddess Durge. The priest asked the goddess to bless Kalash and allow him to repose in the prayer room for ten days.
Steps to make Jamara
- Soak the ( barely, wheat Maize, sesame) seeds for an entire night
- Set up the sand and soil mixture in a container
- Drain the water from the Seeds
- Cover the Jamara seeds with a thin layer of sand in a sand-filled container
- Place the container in a dark room where the sun cannot enter
- Sprinkle water every day after you bath early in the morning
- The Jamara grows about 3 to 5 inches in yellowish color on the tenth day
Fulpati (seventh day of Dashain Festival)
FulPati is divided into two terms. Ful denotes flowers, but Pati denotes leaves and plants. In Nepal, the seventh day of Navaratri Pooja is also celebrated by bringing nine types of Fulpati into the house’s pooja chamber.
On this day, a painted chariot transports 9 elements bundled in crimson fabric and a Kalash loaded with sacred water from Gorkha to Hanumandhoka.
Nine ingredients of Fulpati
- The banana plant symbolizes Goddess Brahmani and bestows peace.
- The pomegranate symbolizes Goddess Rakta Dantika, and helps and blesses the worshipper.
- The turmeric plant symbolizes Goddess Durga, the end to obstacles.
- The ginger plant symbolizes Goddess Kalika and blesses mankind.
- The Rice stalk symbolizes Lakshmi, goddess of wealth.
- Wood Apple Tree symbolizes Lord Shiva, the favourite fruit of Lords Vishnu and Shiva.
- Ashok plant symbolizes Goddess Sokarahita.
- Manavriksha symbolizes Goddess Chamunda and puts end to evil.
- Jayanti symbolizes Godde Kartiki.
What to do in Phulpati?
Navapatrika is designed outside the house and carried in. On the seventh day, it is transported into the pooja ghar. After that, navapatrika Puja is performed. On Ghatasthapana day, the fulpati is kept in Dashain Ghar and venerated with the Jamara planted. On the tenth day, Navapatrika is taken from the pooja ghar, and Bisarjan in the Holy River.
People from different occupations bring their components of trade inside the Dashain Ghar and worship them. Students and teachers perform puja for their books in the form of Goddess Saraswati.
Maha Ashtami (Eighth day of Dashain Festival)
The eighth day is a sacrifice day in the Dashain Festival. It is held for Bhadrakali, which is the most horrible manifestation of the Goddess Durga. Goddess Bhadrakali has three eyes and four arms. Her right upper hand is in the pose of allaying fear and her right lower hand holds a trident in it. The left upper hand holds a tambourine and the lower is in the pose of blessing.
Why do Hindus celebrate Durga Ashtami?
Goddess Bhadrakali, the fiery and strong manifestation of Goddess Parvati, was incarnated. She appeared along with the rest of the Yoginis to increase fear in Mahishasur and defeat him. There is no mention of animal sacrifice in Hindu culture or Hindu literature. Killings are always forbidden in the Hindu religion. However, there is a long tradition of sacrificing animals to Kali (Durga Bhawani) during the Dashain festival.
Maha Navami (Ninth day of Dashain Festival)
The phrase Maha Navami refers to the big ninth day. Today is the ninth day of Navratri, the day for particular worship of Mother Siddhidhatri as Goddess Durga’s ninth power, as well as her love of Goddess Mahalakshmi.
Why do Hindus celebrate the Dashain Festival?
Dashain, also known as Vijaya Dashami, is a major Hindu festival celebrated mostly in Nepal. The festival holds great cultural and religious significance for Hindus. Below we have mentioned important points explaining why Hindus celebrate Dashain:
Lord Rama’s conquest over Ravana is being remembered
Dashain Festival observes as Lord Rama’s win over Ravana in the great battle that took place in Ravana’s kingdom of Lanka. It is also the day Rama and Sita were united after nearly a year apart. Cultural dances and dramas representing the epic history of the Ramayana are popular.
Celebrating the destruction of Mahishasura, the Demon
Asura fought and conquered the semi-gods with the help of Mahishasura, a powerful demon. The half-gods asked Durga for help in killing Mahishasura. Durga Devi, mounted on a lion, battled the mighty demon for nine days before killing him on the tenth. Mother Durga’s victory over the Demon Mahishasura glorified Vijaya Dashami.
The worship of the Shami Tree
It is stated that after 14 years of exile, Arjun, one of Pandav’s brothers, grabbed his Ayudha (weapons) from the Shami tree and performed puja of the weapons on this day. On the day, people remember that day and perform the weapon pooja (worship).
To perform the Saraswati Puja rites, get up early, tidy your house and puja location, and take a bath. This is an important day for Vidhya Arambha, or the ceremony of introducing young children to the world of literature and learning. Saraswati Puja is attended by both young and old people with enormous passion.
Beginning of the harvest season
Dashain Festival also marks the beginning of the harvest season. People desire peace, prosperity, and Mother Earth’s blessings in order to reap a rich crop. On Dashain, the semi-gods worship with various offerings and sacrificial (yajnas) ceremonies at the start of each harvest season.
In different sections of Nepal and India, Kojagrat Purnima is also known as Kumara Purnima, Kojagiri Purnima, or Kaumudi Purnima. Goddess Lakshmi’s birthday is celebrated on this day. People spend the entire night in the moonlight preparing rice kheer, a sweet dessert known as prasad.
Activities during the Dashain Festival
Dashain, Nepal’s biggest festival, is celebrated by practically every Nepali living anywhere in the globe. Hindus are the most enthusiastic about the celebration. Everyone still celebrates it equally. There are numerous activities that we could engage in during Dashain. The following are the best Dashain activities:
Take to the sky with beautiful kites
Flying kites is one of the coolest and most enjoyable ways to celebrate Dashain. It can only be flown once the monsoon has ended and the westerly winds have begun to blow—exactly when Dashain arrives. Legend has it that flying kites welcome the forces of goodness and piety, which brings you great fortune.
Fun with cards
Families and relatives assemble, form a group, and begin playing cards. Every nook of every neighbourhood has a group of people playing cards. Gambling is illegal in Nepal; however, playing cards for enjoyment among family members is allowed. Everyone, from friends to family members, plays the cards and enjoys every moment of it.
Sway in Bamboo swings
In Nepal, bamboo swings are built in several parts of the country to honour Dashain. In Nepali, these bamboo swings are known as ping. It is a common kind of entertainment, especially during the Dashain season.
Swinging up in the air with excitement is a popular form of expressing joy. It is widely held that getting your feet off the ground is necessary during Dashain. It is believed that you must leave the ground at least once during Dashain, which led to the practice of swing tradition.
Enjoy festive cuisine
Dashain is the time of year when you can enjoy a lot of tasty cuisine with your family. You not only get to spend quality time with your family and friends, but you also get to consume a lot of food.
Use your vacation responsibly
Most of us have at least seven days off. Make the most of your time. It is not simply possible to spend your vacation eating, sleeping, and chatting. This is also the best time for trekking in Nepal and enjoying nature. So, take advantage of this opportunity to start on a journey you’ve been wanting to do.
Dashain Festival Dates in 2023
Dashain, Nepal’s largest celebration, takes place during the month of Kartik (late September and early October). The festival takes place during the brilliant lunar fortnight that ends on the day of the full moon.
Everyone returns to the usual routine after the Dashain Festival. People are ready to work and gain virtue, power, and prosperity after gaining the goddess Durga’s grace. Dashain is thus not only the longest but also the most cherished of all Nepalese holidays.