Dashain Meat – Tradition of Eating Meat in Dashain festival


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Dashain Meat – Tradition of Eating Meat in Dashain festival

Dashain Meat: – During the month of late September and early October, the Nepalese people treat themselves in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most favorable celebration in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese brothers and sisters throughout the country. Dashain is the biggest festival of Nepalese society. It is the time period where people get rest from their everyday works and they are free from the mental pressures. Dashain is mainly the celebration of Goddess Durga for her victory against Demon Mahisur. In Dashain, nine goddesses are worshipped to keep them happy and thank them for their blessing which is called the Navaratri.

We all know that Goddess Durga is a goddess of power.  She is known for her power, courage, and determination. Dashain is a celebration of win of right against the wrong, the victory of god against the demons. Dashain is celebrated to symbolize the truth, honesty and hard work will always prevail against the lies and dishonesty. Dashain is celebrated for 15 days from the day of Ghatasthapana to Day of Purnima.  One of the many rituals that concern with Hindu celebration of Dashain is the act of eating meat. Especially, kids are excited and even call Dashain as a festival to eat meat. It is almost a basic concept that “Dashain ma Masu Khane” meaning we have to eat meat in Dashain. Dashain without meat is not a Dashain at all.

Dashain is mainly the celebration of Goddess Durga for her victory against Demon Mahisur. In Dashain, nine goddesses are worshipped to keep them happy and thank them for their blessing. Goddess Durga is a goddess of power. Goddess Kali is also one of such Goddess of Power. She is considered to be most aggressive Goddess and even legendary Trinity of Hinduism is afraid of her anger. In order to satisfy her and worship her great rage that has stopped many demons from wiping out humanity from this world, the head of different animals like goat, hen, duck, Chyangra etc and their blood is offered to the Goddess Kali as a sacrifice. This is done on the eighth day of Dashain called as Maha Ashtami. The rest of the body of the animals is considered as sacred food, in which we call it Prasad in Nepali of Goddess Kali and hence a religious base of eating meat on Dashain is set up.

healthy life man-eating drinking beer
drinking beer and eating meat

Every household in Dashain brings in meat even if they don’t themselves participate in killing and sacrificing animals. They buy the meat in the market and make different flavors and enjoy it throughout the 15 days of the festival.

People enjoy meat in different flavors, cooking recipe and even make special ways to treat different body parts. People enjoy meats in flavors like deep fried in oils, barbecued or roasted or even cooked as a curry. To make each variety of the meat tasty the ample amount of oil, spices, and salt are added. People even keep meat for days and almost week. This is because the sacrificed animal is large and meat is to be eaten throughout the Dashain, so to make it easy people prepare their meat beforehand and keep them in the freezer and eat them when need be. The tradition of eating meat not only sits there but extends as an offering in every household as a part of the dish when you visit your friends or relatives. It is important to eat meat and serve meat at the time of Dashain.

But adding to the fact that eating meat to a certain level can be very dangerous to the human body. The enthusiasm about meat in Dashain is so profound that it affects small children to senior members of the society. People do not care about the health issues or any other problem the might arise to overconsumption of meat. They believe that it is a sacred food eaten after serving the Goddess Kali and she will make sure that her devotee is not affected by consuming her blessings. Goddess and even legendary Trinity of Hinduism are afraid of her anger. In order to satisfy her and worship her great rage that has stopped many demons from wiping out humanity from this world, the head of different animals like goat, hen, duck, chyangraetc and their blood is offered to the Goddess Kali as a sacrifice. This wild belief can also be considered as one of the reasons why meat eating is so popular and encouraging in all parts of the society.

It is the scientific truth that meat is rich in protein and our body can only absorb a little up to maximum 100 grams of protein in a day and that is when the person is on full workout and heavy working exercises. All the other proteins unabsorbed by the body are a waste. To add to that, Nepalese way of cooking meat involves many activities with makes it even riskier to eat a large quantity of meat. A Large quantity of oil used to cook meat especially in deep-fried meat might increase the cholesterol level. The fats and protein take a lot of time to burn which increases fats in the body of people causing an increase in weight and unpreferred muscles.

During barbecuing a meat, there is carbon which is believed to encourage cancer because carbon leads to the production of a substance called carcinogen which causes cancer. The stale meat might get rotten after so many days of being killed that might be harmful and in some cultures, there is a tradition of eating raw meat which may cause an infestation of parasites like tapeworm and other harmful alien bacteria that will cause health problem sooner or later in the future. To add to all that, there is alcohol which is also highly consumed at the time of Dashain. Meat and alcohol go hand in hand when it comes to Dashain.

The more the consumption of alcohol, the more will be the consumption of meat. The cycle will go on and on when it comes to meat and alcohol.It is important to eat meat and serve meat at the time of Dashain. But adding to the fact that eating meat to a certain level can be very dangerous to the human body. The enthusiasm about meat in Dashain is so profound that it affects small children to senior members of the society. People do not care about the health issues or any other problem the might arise to overconsumption of meat.

Although doctor keeps generating awareness in people about the risks and potential threats to future health, the meat-eating tradition has prevailed and rooted so deeply that it is very hard to even to get it under control. So instead of telling people to stop or decrease consumption of meat which they will not, the doctors are trying to encourage the eating of fruits and vegetables and green leaves which will help in digestion of the food as well as provide necessary nutrients that an individual needs to lead a healthy life.

Also, exercises are highly recommended because there is overconsumption of meat and rarely any activities are involved because of holidays to digest the meat. But, we Nepali do not bother about doing exercise when we eat much of unhealthy foods.

The deeply rooted traditions are hard to stop. It is also wrong to suggest to ignore the festive values and norms and tradition of the society. However, it is also our duty to encourage a healthy living lifestyle, not only for our health but to encourage the future generations that will take on our activities as a tradition. It is to aware them that we have to care about what we consume, how we consume and how much we consume. The beautiful festival of Dashain is not only about meat but about the family friends and people coming together once a year to share the joys to wipe each other tears and create memories, take and give blessings and commemorate gods and thank them for their strong support. It is our duty to make Dashain more about these values rather than just about meat and flavors of the meat.

We should also keep in mind that our health is precious and Dashain which is our greatest and biggest festival must be celebrated wisely. We should initially give up the sacrifice of animals and stop the consumption of alcohol. The tradition of sacrificing the life of an animal in the name of God and religion is wrong and should be stopped. It is important to eat meat and serve meat at the time of Dashain. But adding to the fact that eating meat to a certain level can be very dangerous to the human body. The enthusiasm about meat in Dashain is so profound that it affects small children to senior members of the society. People do not care about the health issues or any other problem the might arise to overconsumption of meat. People doing such activities must be fined so that they can be aware of the fact that it is a wrong doing and we should stop it.

Written by

Jitendra Sahayogee

I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a Writer of 12 Nepali Books, Director of Maithili films, Founder of Radio Stations, Designer of Websites and Editor of Some Nepali Blogs.

One thought on “Dashain Meat – Tradition of Eating Meat in Dashain festival

  1. Don’t give a false impression that every household brings or eat meat in Dashain. You or the article writer consume meat products doesn’t justify that all the Nepalese eat meat during Dashain.
    For the matter of the fact, I being Hindu never believe in animal sacrifice just for the sake of your tongue.
    “Ahinsha Paro Dharma”, Hinduism clearly bans of killing animals for food. Even in the Purans says, Kali will punish those who sacrifice or kills animals to satisfy me. Giving ‘Bali’ means ‘sacrifice’ which means ‘to give your most valuable’ for others happiness. “Pashu Bali” means kill your Pashu in you, not the animals. The 5 Pashus are ‘The Kama’, ‘The Krodha’, ‘The Lova’ and ‘The Aahankar’; which is only found in animals. The human posses ‘Bibek’ and ‘Bichar’.

    Meat is guilt for health. Even science proved it. Chronic diseases like Cancer is human-created diseases because of food habits and not even by a virus.

    As written in the April 1996 issue of the University of California at Berkely Wellness letter: “In the past decades scientists have made great strides in understanding the relationship between diet and health, and have suggested that cancer, heart disease, and other chronic ailments may in some sense be ‘deficiency’ disease. That is, if we would improve our eating habits, maybe we could decrease your risk of chronic diseases.”

    Perhaps nature actually is telling us something different, that meat eating is bad for us, both physically and spiritually. Certainly, solid support comes from an expanding body of scientific research. Today, parents who want to raise their children to be vegetarians have a much larger arsenal of facts to support their decision than was the cause a decade or so ago.

    I, being a responsible Nepalese citizen don’t promote Hatya-ukta Dashain but a peaceful Dashain only. Happy Peaceful and Meat-Free Dashain. Keep yourself away from animal cruelty. Preserve the greatest festival and don’t pollute the Hinduism in the name of bad traditions.

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