How Nepalese celebrate Dashain? Why do we celebrate Dashain festival in Nepal? Why do we celebrate Dashain festival among Hindu religion people? What is the meaning of Dashain? What is Dashain? We are going to describe them in this post.
11 Reason Why Do We Celebrate Dashain in Nepal with Importance & History of Dashain Festival
Nepal is a multi-cultural multi-ethnic, and multi-religious country. Yes, Nepal is a multi-religious and multicultural country. There live more than 125 nationalities. They have their own religion, culture and celebrate different festivals. There are people following different religions and festivals. The people from various religions, ethnic groups and identities live here with harmony. The various cultures, traditions, rites, and rituals are our heritage. We should regard them as our equal. All the religions are equal.
They lead us to the path of virtues and good habits. The people speaking different languages from different castes and creeds live in our society. This does not create a gap between us. Rather, this is our wealth and identity. We observe Christmas, Dashain as well as ID and Chhath which show that we have religious tolerance. So we should behave equally with everyone without discriminating in respect of sex, gender, caste, creed, etc. This diversity is our unique identity. This has equally helped us for the development of tourism industry.
Nepal is also known as a country of unity in diversity. We live in a society sharing our joys and sorrows with the people from other religions and castes. We observe Christmas, Baishakh Purnima, Dashain and Tihar with respect. The government also provides holidays on these days. Nepal is known as a secular country where all religions and festivals are given equal importance. Here, we will discuss some of the facts about Dashain festival in Hindu religions in brief.
Today, we are going to discuss Dashain, also known as Bada Dashain or Vijaya Dashami. It is the biggest festival of the Hindus all over the world. It symbolizes the victory over evil. It usually falls in the month of Aswin or Kartik (late September/early October). Dashain is celebrated for 15 days. Goddess Durga the Goddess of power, is worshipped for nine days, and on the tenth day, Bijay Dashami or the victory over evil is observed with joy by putting on Tika and Jamara. People clean, paint and decorate their houses at Dashain. Dashain and Tihar are the major festivals of the Hindus. Dashain is celebrated for days and the Tihar for five days.
Who celebrate Dashain Festival
Dashain is the important and greatest Hindu festival celebrated by the Nepalese people. It is the longest and auspicious festival celebrated by Nepalese people which fall in Aswin or Kartik month of the bikramsambat calendar and in September or October as per the English calendar, starting from the Shukla Paksha (bright lunar fortnight) and ending on Purnima ( full moon). It is the most auspicious festival celebrated by the Nepalese people with their family.
Nepalese people celebrate Dashain with their family and relatives for almost 14 – 15 days. Among the fifteen days on which it is celebrated, the most important days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth. Nepalese people return from all over the world return to their family for the celebration of this auspicious festival. This festival is also celebrated by the people from Bhutan, Burma (Myanmar) i.e Burmese Gurkhas and north Indian hills states of Sikkim, Assam, and Darjeeling state besides Nepalese people. All the government, private offices, educational institutions remain close during this auspicious festival to celebrate the festival together with the family, friends, and relatives.
The newari people of Kathmandu valley celebrate this festival in a different way and they named the festival as “Mwohni”. Similarly, madhesi people from madhesh (southern Nepal) celebrate this festival as “Durga puja”. Despite all this, durga puja is celebrated by the people from all over the country in all the community, though the celebration takes place with only slight differences and interpretations. Each nine days is celebrated is celebrated as “navaratri”. In these nine days goddess durga is worshipped in her different forms. Each day, goddess durga is worshipped with different names that represent her form of incarnation. Goddess durga and her various forms are especially worshipped by hindunewars throughout the shaktipeeths of Kathmandu valley. Among newaripeople, mwohni is celebrated emphasizing on family gatherings as well as on a renewal of community ties, highlighted by special family dinner called Nakhtya. In addition to this, newari people also continue their traditional culture and ritual of “jatra” throughout the three popular cities of Kathmandu valley; Kathmandu, bhaktapur and lalitpur. Each cities newari people have their own way of celebrating and performinjatra.
The celebration of Dashain has its own significance related to myth. It represents the victory of the goddess Durga; the form of goddess Parvati. It is said that she has gained the victory over demon mahisashura as the demon was creating havoc and terror in the place where god used to reside. The first nine days represents the battle and the tenth day represents the victory day. Similarly, it is also said that the festival is the victory of Ram over Ravan as said in Hindu epic Ramayana.
Therefore, Dashain is celebrated by the people from Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and northern hill part of India. The celebration may take in different ways in the different community. This is the auspicious festival celebrated by the people gathering with their family and relatives happily.
Dashain is celebrated by Majorly Hindu religious population in Nepal.
Hinduism is major religion. According to the census 2068 B.S., 81.3% people are Hindus in Nepal. This principal religion is also called Sanatana or Bedic. Ved; is taken as the oldest religious epic in the world. The four branches of Vedas are Rig, Sam, Atharva, and Yajur. The other holy books are Upanishad, Bhagavad Geeta, Several Puranas, Ramayan, and Mahabharat. Rishi Kapilmuni, Patanjali Jaimini, etc. are supposed to be the founders of this religion.
Hindus worship different gods and goddesses. They possess the features of polytheism and Idolatry. The three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are regarded in order as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. Hindus regard God as omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient Similarly, Omkar is respected. They have unique ways of performing different rites and rituals. They follow various ways of worshipping like Panchopachar, Dasopachar, and Shodashopachar. Dashain, Tihar, Teej, Chhath, Shiva Ratri, etc. are some of the major festivals.
History of Dashain Festival
Dashain is the most auspicious and longest festival in Nepal. Nepal being a multi-cultural country, all the people from all around the country celebrate with love, respect, and appreciation. Dashain is a fifteen day national festival of Nepal. People return from different parts of the country to their hometown. All government offices, educational institutions, and offices remain closed during this period. The schools and college remain close as well. Children are seen to be much excited about Dashain because they do not have to go their schools and can play all day long without getting scold or being punished. The festival falls in September or October.
Dashain begins with the first day which is called as Ghatasthapana where people plant seeds into the sand. Sand is collected from the river bank and is spread in the prayer room. Barley seed along with sesame is planted on the sand surrounding the Kalash. The priest chants a welcome mantra so that goddess Durga could bless the family. Every day the sand is watered and fruits are offered. Generally, the male member reads one chapter of Chandi every morning and evening. The seeds later turn out to be Jamara which is given to the member who comes to put tika.
Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The meaning of Dashain is different for different mythology yet the concept of winning over the evil is same. For followers of Shaktism, it represents the victory of the goddess Parvati.In the case of Hindu mythology, the demon Mahsishasura had created panic in the development but Durga killed the demon. The first nine days of Dashain symbolize the battle which took place between Durga and Mahishasuru. The tenth day is the final day when Durga finally defeated him. For some other Hindus, Dashain symbolizes the victory of Ram over Ravan as mentioned in the Ramayana.
The 7th day of Dashain is Fulpati which is a major celebration occurring on the seventh day of Dashain. On this day, Kalash, banana stalks, Jamara, and sugar cane tied with a red and yellow cloth. The king used to observe the ceremony in Tundikhel while the Fulpati parade heads towards the Hanuman Dhoka. But, we have our president who looks after the parade as they head ahead. On the eight days, the day is called as Maha Asthami. This is the day when the goddess Durga’s appearances, the Kali is appeased through the sacrifice of buffaloes, goats, hens and so on. The system of sacrificing the animals has been a concern for the people all around the world.
The rights for animals have stated that no individual should sacrifice the animals in the name of religion or culture. Blood is the symbol of fertility which is offered to the Goddesses. After the offering, the meat is taken home and cooked as Prasad. On this day Newar community has an event known as Khadga puja. The people in this event has to do puja of their weapons. The ninth day is called the Mahanavami and is the last day of Navaratri. On this day, on this day, official soldierly ritual sacrifices are done in the Hanuman Dhoka palaces, the Kot courtyard.
On this occasion, the sacrifices of buffaloes under the gunfire salutes are done. This day is also known as the demon-hunting day because members of the conquered devil try to save themselves by hiding in the bodies of animals and birds. On Mahanavami, Vishvakarman who is also known as the god of creation is worshiped as it believed that all the things which help us in making a living should be kept happy. Craftsmen, traders, and mechanics worship and offer animal and bird blood to their tools, gear, and automobiles so that there would be no loss in the business process.
Moreover, it is also believed that worshipping the vehicles on this day avoids accidents for the year all the vehicles from bikes, cars to trucks are worshiped on this day. The Taleju Temple gates are unlocked for the general public on only this day of the year. The devotees go and pray and show respect to the goddess this day. The temple is filled with devotees all day long.
The tenth day of the festival is the ‘Dashami’ meaning the tenth day. On this day, a mixture of rice, yogurt, and Jamara is prepared by the women which are known as “Tika”. Elders put this tika and jamara which is seeded in the Ghatasthapana, the first day, on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with health and wealth in the future. The red represents the blood that ties the family together.
Elders give a small amount of money which is called as “Dakshina” to younger relatives along with the blessings. This procedure is followed continuously for five days till the full moon during which period families and relatives visit each other to give-and-take gifts and greetings. This ritual of taking tika from all the elder relatives and also from the relatives who we do not always visit, those who are at the distant helps in the restoration of the community ties significantly. This is one reason why the festival is celebrated with so much of strength, energy and eagerness or interest.
Before the failure of the realm system in Nepal, thousands of people ranging from the ministers, diplomats and general public used to meet in the old royal palace to take the tika and blessing from the king who was regarded to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However, after the failure of the monarchy system, the president of the country who is regarded as the head of the state has been continuing the trend by offering the tika to the general public and ministers.
But we can still see the people outside the Nirmal Niwas, the house of the formal king waiting in line to get tika from the former king, Gyanendra Shah. The final day of the Dashain which lies on the full moon day is called ‘Kojagrata’ Purnima. The accurate meaning of Kojagrata is ‘who is awake’. On this day Goddess Laxmi who is considered to be the goddess of wealth is worshiped as it believed that Goddess Laxmi inclines on earth and showers whoever is awake all night with wealth and prosperity. People enjoy the night by playing cards, enjoying with families and much more.
Animal sacrifices are often the customs during this time, as the festival celebrates the mythical bloody battles between the “divine or the good” and “demonic or the evil” powers. The supporters of animal sacrifice assume that this sacrificial action as the symbolic sacrifice of our animal qualities, but those who are opposed to animal sacrifice pressures that the sacrificial act is nothing but a reason to achieve the appetite for food/meat and it should not be done.
The history of Dashain may differ as per the mythology but the fact that everybody reunites with their loved ones is the main gist. The reason Dashain is still in being celebrated is that people are having when they get to meet their loved ones.