Vijaya Dashami, also known as Dashain is the grandest, longest, and most auspicious festival in Nepalese annual calendars 2022. Hindus as well as Buddhists from all across the nation observe this celebration remarkably. Dashain falls in autumn during September or October and goes on for 15 days, starting from the bright lunar night (Sukla Paksha) of the month of Ashwin and ending on Purnima, the full moon. Among the fifteen days, the most important days are the first, second, seventh, eighth, ninth, and fifteenth, each day has its significance and religious purpose. All the government agencies, offices, and educational institutions remain closed during this festive season.
Hindu’s most awaited celebration, Dashain, reminisces the divine victory of good over evil. People return from different parts of the country, as well as from all parts of the world, emphasizing the importance of reunion of family and relatives. The main essence of this festival is happiness where you get to meet your loved ones.
Why is the Dashain festival celebrated?
According to Hindu Scripture, the Dashain festival is a celebration of the justice of good over evil. The festival dawned when goddess Durga got an ultimate victory over Mahisasur, the demon who terrorized Develoka- the world where god lives. The first nine days of Dashain recollect the fierce battle which took place between different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally slew him.
Another is the epic of Ramayana when Lord Ram got ultimate victory over Rawan, the evil king of Lanka. Legend holds that Lord Ram got triumphed over Ravan only when goddess Durga was evoked. With regards to this, Dashain is celebrated with great rejoicing. The festivals signify victory, unity, and the inception of happiness.
How is Dashain celebrated?
In preparation for Dashain, people start to return to their homes from different parts of the country and world. Every house is cleansed and attractively decorated, as an invitation to goddess Durga, so that she may visit and bless the house with peace and prosperity. People also put on new clothes, enjoy a variety of delicacies, enjoy swings, fly kites, play cards, and most prominently: receive tika and blessings from elders. During this time reunions of distant relatives and family occur in every household. The market is busiest all year round with people buying new clothes, gifts, as well as supplies for temple offerings for gods. Meanwhile, the country’s almost all stores will offer a heavy discount, which makes shopping even more attractive. Anywhere you go the aroma of ‘Bijaya Dashami’ is found.
Day 1: Ghatasthapana – pot establishment
Sowing Jamara on Kalash (pot) marks the beginning of the Dashain festival, which symbolizes the goddess Durga. On this day, the Kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cow dung sewn with barley seeds. This ritual is performed at an exact auspicious moment determined by the astrologers. The Kalasha will be placed in a room away from direct sunlight which is watered and worshiped by a household man twice a day. By the tenth day, the seed will have grown about 6 inches long of yellowish grass which is called ‘Jamara’. The holy yellow grass is bestowed by the elders atop the heads of those younger to them when tika is put on the 10th day of Dashain.
Day 7: Fulpati (Ful-flower, Pati-leaves)
As days pass by regular rituals until Saptami, which translates as the seventh day in Sanskrit, is Phulpati. By this time, nearly every individual from the family will travel to their hometown from Kathmandu. Usually, at Fulpati, people start cleaning and decorating their homes. On this day, there is a major celebration event at the heart of Kathmandu, Tundikhel where the Nepal army displays a majestic parade.
Traditionally, the Magars of Gorkha carry royal Kalash, holy Jamara, banana stalks, and sugarcane tied with red fabrics from Gorkha to Tundikhel, Katmandu. It is a three-day walk, about 105 miles (169 kilometers) away from the Kathmandu Valley. This is a century-old tradition where there is a glorious display of the Nepalese Army along with an honor firing of weapons (10-15 minutes) celebrating the arrival of Phulpati. The Fulpati is then taken to Hanuman Dhoka Palace.
Day 8: Maha Asthami
Followed by Fulpati is Maha Asthami, which is the eighth day of Dashain. As an offering to goddess kali (fiercest manifestation of goddess Durga), people perform various rituals. On this day hundreds of livestock are sacrificed to appease the goddess, which continues till dawn. The night of this day is called ‘Kal Ratri, the dark night. After dedicating the sacrifice to the Goddess, those meats would be brought home as “Prasad”, and great feasts are held in the homes of common people.
Day 9: Maha Navami
On the ninth day, Maha Navami, all the celebrations and ceremonies will reach their peak. The temple of Durga and Kali are full of devotees to pray and honor the goddess throughout the day. The temple of Taleju is only opened on this day publicly. This is the day of Viswakarma (God of Creativity), where all the tools like knives, khukuri, and axes are worshiped including machinery items like Bike, Cycle, Car, and Bus. People believe that worshiping the vehicle this day prevents them from accidents all year round.
Day 10: Vijaya Dashami
And the last day, the tenth day is called Vijaya Dashami, which is also known as Dashain or Bada Dashain. On this auspicious day, seniors bless their young ones with ‘Tika’(A mixture of yogurt, rice, and red color powder) and ‘Jamara’ and give cash, a type of gift. Many Buddhists also celebrate this day by putting white “Tika” and ‘Jamara’. People put on new clothes and also play with bamboo swings and Ferris wheels that are made in the communities to play. Children enjoy flying kites making the sky colorful.
Moreover, the celebration creates the opportunity to reunite the family and relatives that they had not seen or met for quite a while. After Dashain, everything settles back to normal. Dashain thus is not only the biggest festival but also the most awaited one among all the festivals of Nepal.
Bearing this in mind, the Glorious Himalaya Team couldn’t want anything more than to invite you during this joyful season. We are always ready to help you make your Nepal trip more convenient and memorable.