For young people like me, Dashain used to be a festival of long holiday, meeting relatives of far and near locations and taking their blessings with Tika, playing swings and visiting temples. This also used to be a festival of purchasing new clothes for a new look. People also eat a lot of meat during the festival. Nepal government has already announced sale of 20000 goats with subsidies in the valley. During the festival, Nepalese also import mountain goats from Tibetan Autonomous Region of China.
However, the color and essence of the festival has almost died following the upsurge of COVID-19 last year. With the declining of cases of COVID-19, the jubilation of festival seems to be returning. As the bus and airlines operators have already opened the advance ticket booking, there is a rush of the people to secure the tickets. Given the present situation more than half a million people are expected to leave the Kathmandu valley.
The Dashain is the biggest Hindu festival of the world and it is celebrated by Hindus living in Nepal and India. In Nepal, Dashain is celebrated by all the different communities as a festival of meeting acquaintances, relatives and friends. A home to 123 distinct ethnic groups, ethnic sub-castes, and several religions, Nepal shows an example of how each of the groups celebrates the Dashain in diversity. As per the Hindu traditions, the Dashain is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. This festival, which symbolizes that the good always prevails over the bad, signifies unity, the victory of truth, and the inception of happiness. Large numbers of Nepalese from the Diaspora return to their homes to celebrate the festival.
Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Bikram Sambad and Nepal Sambat annual calendars, celebrated by Nepali along with their Diaspora throughout the globe. It is the most anticipated festival in Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and North Indian hills. People return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate together. Government offices, educational institutions, and other offices remain closed during the festival period.
Among the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, the Dashain is popularly celebrated as Mohani and is celebrated as the most important festival of Nepal Sambat calendar year. Among Hindu and Buddhist Newars, it is celebrated with variations where each of the nine days of Navaratri leading up to the 10th day called 'Dashami', carries special importance, with the most important days being the Ghatasthapana, Maha Asthami (8th-day), Maha Nawami (9th-day) and Maha Dashami.
The goddess Durga and her various manifestations are especially worshiped by Newars throughout the Shaktripith of Kathmandu Valley. Among Newars, Dashain is also important for its emphasis on family gatherings as well as on a renewal of community ties, highlighted by special family dinners called Nakhtyā and various communal processions of deities called Jātrā throughout the three royal cities.
Not just withstanding its small size but also in cultural tradition and heritage, Nepal is a bit interesting. The nine day festival begins on October 7 this year and ends on 19 of October. The main focus of the Dashain festival of Nepal is the offering of Jamara, meat, and Red Tika to the Goddess Durga Mata.
Among the fifteen days on which it is celebrated, the most important days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and fifteenth. The first nine days of the Dashain symbolize the battle which took place between them while on the tenth day, Goddess Durga finally killed the demon.
The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana and the last day is known as Purnima. On the first day of Dashain, Ghatasthapana, priests worship and pray to Goddess Durga to bless her presence in a pot (Kalash) which is filled with holy water.
The seventh day of Dashain is known as Phulpati. It is one of the major celebrations occurring in Dashain. The eighth day of Dashain is known as Maha Ashtami. On this day, people start to sacrifice goats and other animals throughout the nation.
The ninth day of Dashain is called Mahanavami. So on this special day, vehicles and other pieces of equipment are offered fowl blood and prayers are done in hopes of having a safe time wherever. The tenth day of Dashain, Bijaya Dashami is the most awaited day for all.
People bring their Jamara and other treats to offer it to the Goddess Durga. According to the Nepali calendar, this festival occurs especially during the month of Ashoj or Kartik. This festival is the most awaited festival for all the Nepalese people living all over the world. The most excited for this festival are kids. Some get new clothes and eat delicious foods and they enjoy playing PING, or the swing.
As people are flocking to their homes for a well-deserved break, there will be joy all over Nepal. The color of joy reaches the villages of far flung Nepal. Then the busy cities of Kathmandu valley and other cities come back to life again.
VOL. 16, No. 15, March.24, 2023 (Chaitra 10. 2079) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75
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VOL. 16, No. 13, Feb.24, 2023 (Falgun 12. 2079) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75