Dashain celebration in Nepal
Dashain celebration in Nepal is the longest Hindu holiday in Nepal, which is celebrated for two weeks. Dashain celebration in Nepal is held in honour of the goddess of the universe, Durga, and is marked by extensive prayers and offerings. It is Nepal’s most important harvest holiday, and people come together with their families to exchange gifts, and blessings, and participate in elaborate pujas. Goddess Durga, who represents bravery and prowess, is worshipped and offered sacrifices to ensure the advancement and prosperity of her worshippers. Pilgrims gather at holy shrines in the evening and at numerous river confluences early in the morning during the first ten days of the festival. Dashain celebration in Nepal is comprised of several events, such as Ghatasthapana, Phool Pati, Mahaastami, Nawami, and Vijaya Dashami.
During the festival, men and women dress in their finest attire to visit their elders and receive tika, a dab of crimson vermilion mixed with yoghurt and rice, as well as blessings. There are also sword processions (Paayaa) in different parts of the Kathmandu Valley. Many animals are formally sacrificed in front of officials, invited guests, and tourists at Hanuman Dhoka during Nawami.
On the ninth day of the festival, the Taleju Temple, which is usually closed, is open to visitors. The final day of the festival is called Kojagrat Purnima, which coincides with the full moon. Dashain’s highlights include new clothing, home visits, lavish feasts, kite flying, and village swings. At this time, many people leave Kathmandu to visit their homes across the country. On the tenth day of the festival, also known as Tika, people wearing new clothing go around receiving rice tika and blessings from their relatives. It’s a time of great feasting and merriment as people visit their loved ones.
Overview of Dashain celebration in Nepal:
Worship of the Goddess Durga: The festival begins with the planting of barley seeds in a small, sacred pot called a kalash. This represents the goddess Durga. These seeds are nurtured throughout the festival, and on the final day, the jamara is used in the tika blessing ceremony.
Flying Kites: Dashain is also known for the tradition of flying kites. People of all ages, especially children and young adults, engage in kite-flying competitions. The sky is filled with colourful kites of various shapes and sizes.
Tika and Jamara: On the main day of Dashain (the 10th day), families come together to receive Tika and Jamara blessings from their elders. Elders place a mixture of yoghurt, rice, and vermilion on the foreheads of younger family members and offer them Jamara while giving them blessings. This symbolizes the granting of power and protection.
Family Reunions: Dashain is a time when people return to their ancestral homes to celebrate with their families. This leads to a significant migration of people within the country as urban dwellers travel to their villages.
New Clothes and Gifts: People wear new clothes, and it is common to exchange gifts, cards, and blessings among family and friends.
Visiting Temples: Many people visit temples, especially those dedicated to the goddess Durga, during the festival.
Public Celebrations: In urban areas, there are various cultural events, including music, dance, and dramas, organized by local communities and groups to celebrate Dashain.
Special Food: A variety of delicious food is prepared during Dashain, including meat dishes, sweets, and traditional Nepali delicacies.
Tihar Festival: Dashain is followed by the Tihar festival, also known as Deepawali or the festival of lights, which is another major Hindu festival in Nepal.