Happy Dashain Festival

Happy Dashain Festival in Nepal

Happy Dashain Festival in Nepal

The Dashain Festival is also celebrated by Hindus and Nepalese in practically every other part of the planet where they live. In Nepal, Dashain is the longest and most notable festival on the calendar, and many Nepalese expatriates actually return to Nepal specifically to observe Dashain Festival in their homeland.

Fulpati at Dashain Festival Nepal

Fulpati at Dashain Festival Nepal

Dashain runs from the “bright moon” until the full moon in the Hindu month of Ashvin, lasting for 15 days. On the gregorian calendar, it falls in either September or October, varying from year to year due to the differences between a lunar versus a solar based time-keeping system. During Dashain, many Nepalese businesses and public buildings will be closed, so the tourist will need to plan ahead carefully.

Flying Kites

People Kite fly highly decorative kites from their roof tops and elsewhere and shout out “Changa Cheit” whenever kite strings get tangled.

Dashain is celebrated to mark the victory, according to Hindu religious writings, of Ramayan over the evil demon-king, Ravana, and over the demon Mahisasur, who cruelly terrorised the people of India in the form of a raging water buffalo. The Hindu goddess Durga was said to be instrumental in winning these victories, so she is especially worshiped at this time. In general, the holiday season of Dashain is a celebration of “the triumph of good over evil,” though it is tied to specific Hindu stories.

Dashain Festival

Dashain Festival

Dashain Traditions

The people of Nepal celebrate Dashain with great festivity. Some of their traditions associated with the holiday include the following:

  • Kites a flown as Dashain Festival draws near and during the festival. People fly highly decorative kites from their roof tops and elsewhere and shout out “Changa Cheit” whenever kite strings get tangled.
  • Playing card games is common during Dashain. Families get together to play for both money and for fun. While all ages take part in kite-flying, kids usually are out flying their kites while adults play the card games.
  • Homes are cleaned thoroughly and decorated ornately. This is meant to be a gesture to the Hindu “mother goddess” to come down and bless the home with good luck. Distant family members also gather and enjoy reunions in the clean and beautiful houses.
  • Many purchase new clothing and wear it at this time of year. Those who live in dire poverty don their best clothing and may buy clothes at few other times of the year besides Dashain.
  • Temporary swings are constructed out of bamboo and set up for children to play at. Adults even stop to try out the swings, which can be up to 20 feet high. They are disassembled at the end of the festivities.
  • Literally thousands of animal sacrifices are made, including buffalo, rams, and ducks. They are meant to appease Hindu goddesses and are sacrificed at temples all over the country. Many also rise early in the mornings and visit temples to worship various gods.
  • Since Dashain Festival arrives just after the harvest, there is much rice and grain in homes at this time of year. Worshipers use pigmented, red rice, called “tika,” to mark their foreheads. Some also mark them with a white circle instead, however.
Dashain Tika

Dashain Tika

Some things for tourists to look for and take part in if in Nepal for Dashain Festival include these three:

  • Attend numerous small fairs held in Nepalese villages, which often have Ferris wheels and other rides and entertainment. In major cities, like Kathmandu, you can expect to find larger fairs with more options.
  • Listen to Nepalese musical programs held at this time of year. There is “Dashain music” as surely as there is Christmas music, and it is called “Mal Shree Dhun.” In the Terai and Madhesh regions, you will especially find many musical opportunities.
  • Observe Dashain processions through the “three royal cities” of the Kathmandu Valley. The spectacle is very colorful and busily attended. It has a religious bases, for it involves the carrying of numerous statues of Hindu gods.

Source: Publicholidays

Dashain begins today with Ghatasthapan

Dashain, the greatest and longest festival of Hindu Nepalis, officially begins today with Ghatasthapana.

DashainFestival_08

Ghatasthapana is observed by people performing puja and setting up ghata, or pot, in which they sow seeds of barley, wheat, corn and rice, at homes and temples as per the Vedic tradition.

The Nepal Panchanga Nirnayak Samiti, which publishes the lunar calendar, has said 10:45 am is the auspicious time for sowing seeds in homogeneous mixture of sand and soil in a pot made of clay. The seedlings grow into jamara which is offered along with tika on the 10th day which is observed as Vijaya Dashami, also called Tika, the main day of the Dashain festival. According to the Samiti, following the Ghatasthapana, the most suitable time for replacing national flags hoisted in government offices is 11:55 am on September 26 (Friday). Similarly, this year’s Pachali Bhairav Jatra will be celebrated on September 29 (Monday). The auspicious time for the procession of goddess Tulja Bhavani has been set at 7:25 am on October 1, and the deity will be put in rest mode at 8:43 am the same day when Fulpati is observed. On this very day, Fulpati will be brought to Dashain Ghar at Hanumandhoka.

Likewise, October 2 will mark Mahaashtami along with Kalratri puja the same night. Mahanavami and Vijaya Dashami will be celebrated on same day on October 3 this year, for which the auspicious time is 10:45 am. The Samiti has suggested all concerned to perform Mahanavami rituals before proceeding to Vijaya Dashami.

tika-jamara1

According to popular Hindu myth, Goddess Durga had killed demon Mahishasur on Mahanavami day and Vijaya Dashami symbolises the victory of truth over evil.

Source: Thehimalayantimes