Red Tika In Forehead on Dashain festival: – Dashain is also known as Bijaya Dashami among Nepalese people. It is historic and famous festival in Nepal. It is as well celebrated in numerous parts of India, as well as is known as Dashera. Dashain is one of the main festivals in Nepal next to Tihar. Note Tika is called Tilak in India in the Hindi language.
Dashain is celebrated by the Buddhists, Hindus, and Kirats of Nepal and the ethnic Nepali speaking Indian Gorkha’s of Darjeeling hills, Sikkim, Assam and other North-Eastern states of India also between the Lhotshampa of Bhutan in addition to the Burmese Gurkha’s of Myanmar.
Importance of Red Tika In The Forehead Between The Eyebrows on Dashain Festival
Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil. For followers and devotees of Shaktism, it symbolizes the win of the Hindu goddess Parvati. In Hindu mythology, the demon Mahishasura had created terror in the Devlok (the world where gods live) but Durga killed the demons.
The initial nine days of Dashain represents the fight which took place among the various manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally defeated him. For other Hindus, this festival symbolizes the victory of Ram over Ravana as recounted in the Ramayana.
Among the Newa of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Dashain traditionally called Mohani is celebrated as the most important festival of Nepal Sambat calendar year.
In the society of the Hindus and Newars, it is celebrated with just small slight changes and interpretations, where each nine days Navaratri leading up to the 10th day called ‘Dashami’ carry special importance.
Dashain is the best as well as the most favorable festival in the Bikram Sambat calendar and Nepal Sambat annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese people, along with their separated relatives and family members throughout the world.
It is the most celebrated festival in the countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and North Indian hills. People go back to their house from all parts of the world, as well as various parts of the country, to enjoy the festival jointly. All government offices, educational institutions as well as other private offices remain closed during the festival time.
This festival lies either in September or October, beginning from the Shukla paksha (bright lunar fortnight) of the month of Ashwin and ending on Purnima, the full moon. In Nepal, Dashain is celebrated for about 15 days and among these the most significant days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the fifteenth only.
During this period, you will see people throughout the country in a festive mood, walking with red tika on their forehead and Jamara (barley grain sprouts) tucked behind their ears or pinned in the hair. The tenth and the main day of the Dashain festival (Dashami) are considered very important and auspicious.
On that particular day of Dashain, a out of the ordinary thick red paste is made with the addition of bright red vermillion grind, plain yogurt, and white rice grain. Some people even add a pinch of sugar into the paste to make it shiny and fresh.
Sugar also acts as a bonding agent while applying the tika in the forehead. This mixture is called “Akshaya ko rato tika.” In general, parents or the elders of the family or relatives give tika and Jamara to junior and younger relatives who come for their blessings.
The tika is applied in the middle of the forehead gently by using the tip of three fingers. Great care is taken to make a perfect round shaped tika and making sure it is sticking on the forehead for the entire day. The red color of tika signifies “Shakti” (strength).
It is believed to bring spiritual wisdom, good health, peace and prosperity in one’s life. It also symbolizes good luck, happiness, and healing. Along with the akshyata KO tika and Jamara, people receive Dakshina, which is blessed money for good luck.
After applying tika, the golden-yellow shoots, Jamara, is carefully placed over the head or tucked behind the ear of recipients. It is also very common to see some women neatly tie the shoots into small bundles and secure in their head with hair pin. Some people chant Sanskrit Vedic slokas or give aashirbaad i.e. blessings while applying the tika. The following are the most common slokas.
ॐ जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी ।
(Om Jayanti Mangala Kaali Bhadra Kali Kapalini)
दुर्गाक्ष्यमा शिवा धात्री स्वहा स्वधा नमोस्तु ते ।।
(Durgashyama Shiva dhatri swaha swadha namostu Te)
The tika ceremony is observed for five days. In large families, family members who are not able to visit relatives on the first day will continue the visit, receive tika and exchange greetings within five days.
Dashain is such a happy occasion marked by feasting, people wearing brand new clothes, families getting together and exchanging goodwill. On this day, family members who are far away from trying to come home to celebrate the festival and receive tika from the elder relatives.
As I already mentioned in the last article, golden Jamara represents green plants that grow on soil now, akshyata is made out of rice that we eat for nourishment. Together they are the symbol of life and the earth’s bounty.
When mixed with the red powder it not only looks pretty on our forehead but also stands for the life-giving blood that gushes through our veins. With the akshyata and Jamara, we are blessed by our elders that our lives be as rich as the rice and as green as the fields.
You can watch the video how Nepalese family are putting Tika on Vijaydashami festival.
That indeed is a beautiful symbolism. We should be proud that we have such a beautiful culture, and we must pass it on to our children and our children’s children.
If it took those nine days for the immense and powerful Goddess to be successful in the battle, now just think how long it might take for the humans. Nevertheless, we should try to slay our inner demons if we want to live a happy life.
I have been too trying for many years. Someday, we’ll for sure finally feel that like we’re getting closer. I wish a happy Bijaya Dashami to all the people around the world.
By Saugat Thapa