Ice Cap Adventure on November 21, 2019
Nepal is home to a surreal variation of religious and ethnic communities that celebrate hundreds of festivals throughout the year. However, Hinduism is the most prominent religion in the country, and the majority of the population are Hindu adherents. As such, Dashain is the biggest Hindu festival in Nepal and is celebrated with great zest and devotion. Dashain falls between the end of September and mid-October and is celebrated for 15 days. Out of the last 15 days, Ghatasthapana, Phoolpati, Mahaastami, Mahanawami, Vijaya Dashami, and Kojagrata Purnima are the key festive days.
Not just the rituals, but Nepal has different traditions that mark the festival. In the hilly regions, during festivals, a huge 14-foot-tall bamboo swing, called “linge ping” is set up a week before the start of Dashain. Similarly, beautiful sculptures are constructed and worshipped throughout ten days in the Terai regions, with fairy light decorations everywhere around the temples. The festival is also a family and community reunion for the people to celebrate. Since the festival offers a significant number of holidays, people spread across Nepal and abroad return to their homes to be together with their family
The first day, known as “Ghatasthapana,” marks the start of the festival. On this day, a copper pot is known as “Kalash” is surrounded by cow dung and is filled with holy water and is sown with barley seeds. The seeds are kept away from daylight until the tenth day when they grow up to be known as “Jamara”.
After Ghatasthapana, the seventh day is known as “Phoolpati” or “Saptami”. It is inspired by the ritual of collecting nine types of flowers and a banana leaf for religious rituals. Adding to that, Phoolpati is also inaugurated with a parade day where the National Nepal Army and police troops display parades near the historic places like Hanuman Dhoka Durbar and Tudhikhel Ground.
The eighth day of Dashain is “Mahaastami.”. This is the day when it is said that Goddess. Durga manifests into the fierce goddess Maha Kali. The dawn of Mahaastami is also known as “Kalratri,” where hundreds of animals are sacrificed in Mahakali temples. This religious ritual is said to offer a demon’s blood to the goddess Kali.
“Mahanawami,” the ninth day of the festival, marks the end of sacrifices. The worships are held as high as they are the day before “Vijaya Dashami.”. However, it is also the official day for when the Taleju Bhawani temple of Kathmandu is visited by thousands of devotees, as it is made accessible to the public only once a year on this day.
“Vijaya Dashami” is celebrated as the tenth day and the end of worship days. On this day, youngsters receive tika and blessings from their elders. Some ethnic communities in Terai burn huge dummies of Ravana to celebrate this day as the victory of Lord Rama over the evil King Ravana. As the main day of the Dashain festival comes to an end, people all over the country celebrate with feasts and joyous celebrations.
Dashain signifies the value of celebrating success and good fortune. It nurtures the essence of belonging among the people as it reunites families and friends as a form of retreat. Dashain is truly a reflection of the culture and tradition of the Nepalese. Admire Nepal in its most authentic form during the celebration of Dashain!