Nepal is home to almost 126 ethnic groups. As diverse as it gets, each ethnic group has its own culture, traditions, rituals, values, and, most importantly, different festivals. One of the most widely celebrated festivals in Nepal is the Dashain Festival.
Every year the dates always vary. This year 2023, this joyous festival falls in autumn (October) from 15th October to October 28, 2023. According to the Nepali calendar, the festival falls from 28th Ashwin to 11 Kartik 2080 BS. These months accompany beautifully clear skies, warm weather, and different vibes in the country.
If you ask a Nepali to describe the Dashain festival, they will give many answers but the common word Re-United. During this festival, all the family members re-united gathered around the house, celebrated, and had a hearty feast. This festival radiates happiness all over Nepal and is truly very joyful.
Why is the Dashain festival celebrated?
Every festival in Nepal has a rich history behind it. Likewise, The Dashain festival has one which dates back thousands of years. Hindu mythology states that this festival was celebrated to acknowledge the triumph or victory of good over evil spirits or demons.
It is said that when there was a war between the Hindu goddess Durga and a demon named “Mahisasur,” it lasted for nine days. The war was disastrous, but despite the evil spirit's power, Goddess Durga won the war and killed the demon. On the 10th day, her win was celebrated and praised; since then, this festival has started.
The simple meaning behind this festival is that good always wins over evil. The elders always explain this festival in a simple manner to their kids or grandchildren. Simply, being a good person, helping others, and being kind to others always triumphs is the sole meaning behind this festival.
How do People Celebrate Dashain for Ten days?
In Nepal, the Dashain festival is celebrated for 10 days, and each day has its own ritual and program.
The first day is known as Ghatasthapana. On this day, the family members clean the praying room and decorate the statue or frame of Goddess Durga. A vessel known as Kalash is also filled with holy water and kept in the praying room. Moreover, on this day, barley seeds are sowed in a pot, germinating into a grass called Jamara. This is used on the 10th day of the festival when elders put tika on the foreheads of their younger family members and give them Jamara as well.
The 7th day is known as Phulpati, and on this day, people travel to their hometowns, and the roads are usually hectic due to the vehicles. After this day, one can sense the empty roads and very few people in the city.
Next, on the 8th day, there is Maha Ashtami. This day is auspicious, followed by rituals and rites using Kubhindo Ash Gourd in English.
Following Asthami is Maha Navami, which is the 9th day. On Maha Navami, Hindus worship Goddess Durga and Lord Vishvakarma, the god of creation. Tools, vehicles, and agricultural equipment are worshipped to this day. This day begins by worshipping iron tools and automobiles to thank Lord Vishavakarma for the easiness provided by the machines in everyday life. There is a common belief that by worshipping the tools and vehicles, Lord Vishavakarma will protect them from injuries and accidents.
Lastly, the final day arrives, known as Vijaya Dashami. On this day, elders put tika on the foreheads of younger ones. These tikas are made with rice, yogurt, and also some red color powder. Along with the tika, Jamara is also given as a blessing for long life and success with money or gifts. After this, families have lunch together and play card games or just spend time talking.
Why is Dashain such a grand festival to Nepalese?
On Dashain, one can witness clear skies, kids running around with their new clothes, and families gathering together under the same roof. Doesn't it sound beautiful?
Friends and families who live far away save money, buy gifts, and go to their villages to meet their loved ones. The Dashain festival brings everyone close together and forms a sense of harmony. Moreover, schools and colleges are closed because this is a widely celebrated festival. Having children in the house celebrating Dashain is an indescribable feeling.
In brief, Dashain Festival means buying new clothes, curtains, and furniture, cleaning the house, and feasting delicious meals. Everyone enjoys Dashain as this festival is enjoyed by everyone regardless of age.
When is Dashain Festival in 2023?
In 2023, the Dashain Festival falls on the 15th of October; the seventh day, Pulpati will be on 21 October. Asthma is on 22 October, Nawami on 23 October, and Dashami on 24 October, respectively.
This festival is celebrated for the next five days after Vijaya Dashami, Kojagrat Purnima. In those days, the relatives and families visit each other's houses, put on tika, feast, and have a wonderful time.
Celebrate this amazing Dashain festival with Nepal Hiking Team. We would love to have you with us on this joyful occasion. You will be able to experience Kathmandu's boulevards and see the city through the eyes of Nepalese people based on the vibrant cultural influences.