Dashain Festival | The Victory of Good Over Evil
Festivals are the events that devise the appropriate way to connect with family and rooted cultures. Dashain popularly known as Vijaya Dashami is celebrated across Nepal, India, Myanmar, and Bhutan but it is widely famous and the main festival of Nepali.
The Dashain festival falls annually between November and December in the western calendar. Vijaya Dashami starts by worshipping Goddess Durga, symbolizing valor and prowess from Ghatasthapana, and Ends on the twelfth day at Kojgrat Purnima.
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Significance of Dashain
According to the mythology scripted on Shaktism, Dashain portrays the victory of goddess Durga over Mahisasur (bovine asura) in Hinduism.
In the Hindu scripture, the devil Mahishasura had manifested terror in a devaloka (Heaven; where god exists), but the goddess Durga killed the devil on the first ninth day of the Ghatasthapana and at the tenth day was celebrated in the name of the victory against evil. In honor, people use to celebrate the whole event as the main festival every year.
Activities During Dashain
Flying Kites significantly means to remind the gods not longer the rain. Every aged people seem to engage in flying kites during this festival. The purple-blue sky looks immersed with happiness and joy because of the kites.
Playing Bamboo Swing
Bamboo Swing is one of the popular activities taken on the auspicious occasion specially in Dashain. Hindu mythology suggests people to play bamboo swing at least once during Dashain. Some Hindu orthodox say, that it is compulsory to leave the land once at tika.
Buying New Clothes
Shopping and purchasing new clothes during Dashain is considered one of the main aspects. The main reason for purchasing the New clothes is people used to travel to different places to receive tika and blessings so that they have to create a new atmosphere of an impression on the people. Ordinary dress indicates no progress so, it becomes the common practice to buy new clothes during Dashain.
Dashain festival is all about enjoying and leaving the stress, so people do gambling as a means of entertainment. Not only playing cards but the other form of gambling like “Kauda”, and “Langur Burjaa” as a means of entertainment. People bet their money on such activities. Whereas Nepal government is strict towards gambling and it is considered an illegal act and can be punished if police found such activities. No offense, Playing cards is not a good practice.
Features of Dashain
- People are taught to love and beloved.
- Dashain teaches us peace and prosperity prevail over our country and countrymen.
- Work as a bridge by saving and properly following ancestors' culture and traditions for the transformation of future ancestors.
- Dashain is a great way to spend time and do fun with family and friends leaving all the stress.
- Represents Nepal as richer in cultural diversity, and tradition.
Highly Consuming Product During Dashain
The consumption of the following products goes gradually high because these are the product that gives a proper shape to the main festival Dashain.
Color Powder (Abir and Keshari)
The main components to prepare the Tika are Abir and Keshari. Abir is Red in Colour and Keshari is Yellow in color. First of all, Keshari is coated on the forehead then putting Abir completes the tika process.
Additionally, Color powder is used all days of Dashain, so the consumption rate of Color Powder goes high during Dashain.
The uncooked rice is also a component of tika. The mixture of Rice and Abir completes the outer layer of the tika. It is compulsory to mix the rice with the red color powder.
Meat is one of the most highly consumed non-veg items than anything in Dashain. According to the article published in Nepali Magazine The Kathmandu Post, Nepal imported around 65,000 goats in the last Dashain (2021 AD /2078 BS). It is not compulsory but meat items portray the value of this festival.
Purchasing the new clothes enhances the value of Dashain. Buying new clothes trend is popular among children in comparison to the other aged group people in Nepal. But around all people celebrating Dashain prefer to buy new clothes in Dashain. This extensively hikes the rate of buying and selling of clothes.
Incense sticks are used in the worshipping process. Incense Stick is used to enhance the fragrance of the Puja. Each day, people burn the Incense Stick, so the consumption rate increases.
Along with these items fruits, kitchen items, and dairy products consumption rates also goes higher than on ordinary days.
Scientific facts of Dashain
- Jamara is a yellow grass used in tika, grown in a dark room that lost chlorophyll, resulting in the grass becoming yellow in color.
- While putting tika elders chant the mantras that promise peace and tranquillity of mind to the person.
Celebration During Dashain
In preparation for Dashain, People used to clean their homes and beautifully decorate the surroundings and said to have this cleanliness with lots of painting invite to the mother goddess, so that goddesses may visit and bless the house with good fortune.
There is a practice of reunion of distant and nearby relatives in their parental household. The trend of the marketing during Dashain of varieties of new clothing, gifts, luxuries, and enormous supplies of temple offerings for the gods, as well as foodstuffs for the family feasting, is seen in a new hype.
Every household tributes the blood of different animals like sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and water buffalo are prepared for the sacrifices. All types of public and private organizations are off for ten to fifteen days as a national holiday. Everywhere in Nepal has the aroma of 'Vijaya Dashami'.
The first day of Navaratri is called Ghatasthapana, which literally means pot establishing and seeding for Jamara. On this first day, the Kalash, (holy water vessel) that symbolizes the goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room where the puja is conducted. As it contains religious importance that it will provide positive energy to the house members. The Kalash is filled with fresh and holy water and covered with cow dung on which seeds are sown. A small rectangular block of sand is designed and the Kalash is placed at the center of the block.
The surrounding area of the bed of sand is also seeded with varieties of grains. The Ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a specific auspicious moment determined by the astrologers and the particular moment is the time to welcome the priest intones, requesting goddess Durga to bless the vessel with her presence.
To this day, Kalash is established in the Puja Ghar (prayer room). Women are strictly prohibited to enter the room where the deity's worshipping is performed as per Hinduism values a priest or the household man (senior man as ordinary) worships the Kalash every day to satisfy the protocol of their religious practices.
One of the astounding features of the Kalash during the process is Kalash worshipped will be every day by sprinkling in water and is protected during this whole procedure. On the tenth day, the yellow grass (Jamara) will grow about 6-7 inches long.
After seeding the Jamara in Ghatasthapana, for the next five days, no special activities are carried out except showering the Jamara.
The Fulpati also known as Saptami is the seventh day of the Dashain festival. During this day the royal Kalash is filled with holy and purified water with banana stalks, Jamara, and Sugarcane fastened with the red clothes that are carried by Bhramins on a decorated palanquin under a gold tipped and embroidered umbrella.
Nepal Government officially takes part in the Fulapti parade and announces the holidays to the Kojagrat Purnima.
During this day, people used to sacrifice goats, chickens, he-buffalo, and so on to their sacrifice the blood to their diety and prepare different varieties of meat. But sacrificing the blood on the day of fulpati seems lesser than the following days because this day is considered the holistic day among the entire Dashain.
Maha Ashtami is the eighth day of Dashain which increases the hype of bravery. On this day the sacrifice of the earlier mentioned animals is highly seen in this day. The majority of the people sacrifice the blood of animals to their diety god to this day.
The animals are tributed to the first-head goddesses Durga and kali. The Hindu orthodox takes fastening to this day. Eating anything before sacrificing the animals to the goddesses at this is considered bad luck in Hindu mythology.
This day is popularly known as “Kaal Ratri”, which literally means the dark and horror night. On this day a large amount of meat is consumed.
Maha Nawami is the ninth day of Dashain where the mother goddesses are filled with people from dawn to dusk and like Maha Asthami, the practices of the animal tributary are carried out the whole day. The rest of the animal sacrifice in the name of Nawa Durga is completed on this day because the following days are restricted to the Hindu orthodox to harm any animals.
On this day vehicles, and machinery instruments are worshipped in the honor of God Vishwa Karma. People tribute the animal's blood to the machinery to all the automotive. Maha Nawami day is entirely considered one of the most colorful days.
Bijaya Dashami also known as Tika is the most awaited day and centralized day of the entire Dashain. On this day people put large and small tika and jamara (a short yellow grass) on their foreheads from seniors. People use to visit the home of elder people and receive blessings from them. The main attraction of this day is, that the belongings and family members living far from their native home return to their home to receive the tika. This day is all about uniting family and relatives members.
The tika will continue for four days from Bijaya Dashami to the full moon day. Except for this day in the following five days, the tika activities take only before the morning meal.
The last and the fifteenth day is called “Kojagrat Purnima”, which literally means the “Awaking Full moon day”. On this day it is said to believe that the Goddess Laxmi descends to the earth with wealth and prosperity. On this last day, some people used to wind up the tika activities in the midst of the day and some people last their activities before the night meal in case their relatives are unable to come to them.
More About This Festival
Dashain & Tihar are the most auspicious festivals of Nepali people. The reunion of the families also marks the main festival. People living abroad and far from their dear and beloved ones are set to return back (at least they try to get back) home on this auspicious occasion.
The festival offers us a wonderful opportunity to be together with all our family members and make the bond even stronger. One can't ignore the significant socio-cultural aspect of Dashain. This festival teaches the youngsters to pay their respects to elders, especially on the tenth day. They receive blessings from the elders in the form of auspicious 'Tika' and Jamara on their foreheads.
It has been a very important issue on how we celebrate these national festivals, facts to be considered for preserving them, and lessons, we need to learn the good practices and pause some bad practices. Only enjoying does not mean celebrating respecting, loving and caring ones should be adopted, and celebrating each festival with showing discipline and ethics can be significant.