Dashain is the most important and biggest festival of Nepal, celebrated by all casts and creed throughout the country. It is celebrated for fifteen days but the first ten days are the most important. This festival falls on the late October.
Dashain commemorates a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. The first nine days of the festival marks the nine day battle between the Goddess Durga and fiercest demon king Mahisasurr and the tenth day marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons and the rest of the day as celebrations for this victory of good over evil. It is also believed that the Lord Ram ( 7th reincarnation of Lord Bishnu) slaughtered the demon king Ravana on the tenth day of this festival with the help of Goddess Durga. Thus, Goddess Durga is worshipped throughout the country as the divine mother Goddess and the most powerful protector.
The 1st day of Dashain is ‘Ghatasthapana’ which literally means placing a pot which symbolizes goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is place in the prayer room. This falls on the first day if the festival which marks the beginning of Dashain. On this day Kalasha is filled with holy water which is then covered with cow dung and sewn with barley seeds. A small rectangular sand block is made and the Kalash is put in the centre. This ritual is performed at a certain auspicious time which is determined by the astrologers and then the priest starts the puja by asking Durga to bless the vessel with her presence.The 7th day of Dashain is ‘Fulpati’. On this day Brahmins brought the royal Kalasha, Jamara, banana stalks and sugar cane tide with red clothe from royal house in Gorkha, a three day walk, about 169 km away from Kathmandu valley. A parade is held in Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace. Then there is a majestic display of the Nepalese army along with a celebratory firing of weapons that continues for ten to fifteen minutes honoring Fulpati. The Fulpati is taken to Hanuman Dhoka Palace after the occasions end in Tudikhel. The 8th day of Dashain is ‘Maha Asthami’. On this day sacrifices held in the every house through out the day. ‘Kaal raatri’ dark night is celebrated at night on this 8th day of Dashain. Many goats, buffalo are sacrificed at the goddess temple. The 9th day of Dashain is ‘Nawami’. This is the last day of Navaratri. On this day the official military rituals sacrifices of buffaloes under the gunfire salutes held in one of the Hanuman dhoka palace. This day is also known as demon hunting day. On this day Taleju temples gate are opened for the public. Thousands of devotees go and pay respect to the goddess on this day. The 10th day of Dashain is known as ‘Dashami’ Dashain. On this day we take Tika and Jamara from our elders and receiving blessing. We visit to our elders on this special day to receive blessing from them. People get together with their family members and have a feast and enjoy themselves with playing cards and having different delicious food on this day.
This whole festival is celebrated by visiting all the temples of the goddess’s different reincarnations, representations and appearances, and worshipping them. Different rituals have to be performed for each day. Children and youth play on the traditional Linge Ping (Bamboo swing) as it is believed that one must leave earth at least once during this festival. On the tenth day, Nepalese people visit their parents and all their relatives to receive Tika and blessings. Huge flocks of migrants return back to their remote villages to celebrate this festival.
Do: visit all the devi (goddess) temples of the country with Hindu and Buddhists locals. Play the Linge Ping with them. Receive the tika and blessings from elder Nepalese and enjoy the delicious treats. One good deed for a cause would be to donate some new clothes and chocolates to orphanages and the old age homes as this festival is the time of the year when everyone buys at least one new cloth, which for them and some other poor families the only chance for a new cloth and delicious food.
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