Dashain – National festival of Nepal
The mega event and the most awaited festival of the Nepalese people dwelling in any parts of the world. Usually, it falls in the month of October/November; a fifteen days long celebration is the National Festival of Nepal. Thinking of it only brings energy with zeal to everyone no matter young or old, healthy or sick etc. It is a merry making festival in renewing our relation to our relatives, friends, well wishers in togetherness and unity and evaluation of the year in every aspect of our lives and livelihood. The sunny, cool and crystal clear days with fascinating scent of the flowers mesmerize the surrounding atmosphere adding up more flavors to the festival.
The festival starts from the bright lunar fortnight of the month and ending on the full moon in the Nepali annual calendar. Among the fifteen days on which it is celebrated, the most important days are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth and the tenth of the Dashain festival. Everyone gets engaged in something to bring more life to the celebration like flying kites, playing cards, buying new clothes for the family, playing on the swing and ferries wheels. During the festival period the government offices, private offices, schools and universities are closed.
The main feature of Dashain is the animal sacrifices. On the nineth day of the festival a large amount of animals like buffalos, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks are sacrificed to appease the Goddess Durga. In Hindu mythology, the Mahishasura the demon who was very powerful and disguised as a brutal water buffalo was creating a havoc in the devaloka ( the god’s world) and was unconquered by the Gods. So to get rid of him Parvati (the goddess) took the form of Durga in combination of the nine powerful Goddess had a battle for nine days and nights and defeated him finally on the tenth day. On the other hand, God Ram was able to kill the demon king Ravan on the tenth day when he evoked the Goddess Durga. So the tenth day is known as Vijaya Dasami (the victory day) and celebrated as the day of the victory of good over evil.
On the tenth day of the festival, every house is cleaned thoroughly, painted with the colors and beautifully decorated no matters small or big, rich or poor, everyone is neatly newly dressed. The women from the family prepares a Tika which is a combination of vermillion,rice and yogurt. The elder of the house paste the Tika on the forehead of the younger members of the family with jamara ( the sprung out of barley ) and bless them good fortune and harmony in the upcoming year. The elders give a small amount of money along with the blessing as Dakshina. This goes for more five days till the full moon where the families and relatives visit each other exchanging gifts and greetings.
In the time of the Kingship before 2008 AD, thousands of people ranging from the ministers, diplomats and general public used to take the Tika and blessing from the king, as the king was considered to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. But now after the country transformed to republican, the head of the country is the president and has been continuing the trend by offering the Tika and blessings to the people.
The festival ends on the full moon day Kojagrata Purnima,Kojatrata means who is awake. On this the goddess Laxmi is worshipped and believed that she will bring fortune and prosperity to the one who stays awake though out the night. So the people enjoy playing cards over the night. So the Dashain Festival ends with great fun and happiness. This year the Dashain festival falls from 27 Sept – 02 Oct 2017 and all the government offices remain close to celebrate the national festival together.