Dashain Festival is one of the most important Hindu festival which is celebrated all over Nepal delightfully. This festival usually falls in the month of September or October and is actually celebrated for 15 days. It starts from bright lunar fortnight (Shukla Paksha) and ends on the day of full moon (Poornima) according to Nepalese annual calendar. Hindus greatest festival, Dashain honors a great conquest of the gods over the evil demons. The symbol of power, Goddess Durga is worshiped during this festival.
One of the victory stories according to the Hindu myths reveals that a demon named ‘Mahisasur’ who spread horror was killed by Goddess Durga. And, the first nine day of Dashain represents the constant battle between vice and virtue. And, the tenth day signifies the triumph of good over evil. Another Hindu legend ‘Ramayana’ discloses that Dashain symbolizing as the triumph of Ram (vice) over Ravan (virtue) with the blessings of Goddess Durga.
The first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana, on this day, people fill a vessel with sand and sow maize and barley seeds and is covered and worshiped for 10 days. On the seventh day, Phulpati is celebrated which is also known as ‘Saptami’. The eight day is regarded as Maha Aastami. On this day, animals like buffaloes, ducks, goats, hens are sacrificed to Goddess Kali and the meat is taken as ‘Prasad’ (holy food). The night of this day is called the dark night- ‘Kal Ratri’. Maha Navami is the ninth day of Dashain. On this day, craftsman, mechanics, traders etc worship their equipment and tools by sacrificing different animals and offering it to equipment. The tenth day is named as Vijaya Dashami which is the most important day of this festival. On the tenth day, younger ones in a family receive Tika (a mixture of yogurt, rice and vermilion), Jamara (planted on the first day of Dashain) and blessings from elders as well as respected people.
This festival is in fact the ceremony of reunion and fun. People living far away from home or homeland, revisit their home and get together with their families. Similarly, parents buy new clothes to their children. People enjoy eating mouth-watering foods and playing a lot of games including cards. People invite guests, organize feast, visit their relatives’ houses, fly kites, build bamboo swings and get involved in various entertaining activities.
This year, the first day of Dashain Festival – Ghatasthapana falls on 1st October, the seventh day Pulpati will be celebrated on 8th October, followed by Asthami on 9th October and Nawami and Dashami on 10th and 11th October respectively. Additionally, for 5 more days till 15th October which is named as Kojagrat Purnima the festival continues.
If you are thinking of partaking on the festival, Nepal Hiking Team would love to welcome you during this festive season. You will get to enjoy the streets of Kathmandu and see cheerfulness in the eyes of locals under the background of stunning natural and cultural exquisiteness.