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When is Dashain?
Dashain starts from October 23 till October 26, 2020
What is Dashain?
Dashain is regarded as the celebration of the victory of truth over the evil and of good over bad. Every year, Dashain reminds us that even though evil may be strong for a time, the truth and good will always prevail.
How do we celebrate Dashain?
Dashain is the longest festival in Nepal, when the Nepal government closes for 7 days. It occurs just after the harvest season when all farmers are happy and households are filled with rice and gains. This season is called Sarad Ritu, which is the most pleasant time of the year. People have lots of rice in home this time of year, and some places have a culture of putting tika of rice on the forehead. Red tika has been mixed with abir, whereas white tika is made only with curd. Tika is a celebration and representation of the abundance of rice and curd available to the people, and is a prominent symbol of Dashain.
Although Dashain is based on the victory of good over evil, the festival is known for its emphasis on family gatherings and the renewal of community ties. During Dashain, Nepali people return home from all over the world and counry to spend time with their family and to celebrate the festival together. They accept blessings from their elders and simply enjoy being with family, forgetting all the trouble and worries. This is why Dashain is sometimes called Dashahara, meaning “take away ill fortune” (dasha=ill, furtune, hara=take away).
While the family gathering is the most loved part of this festival, many people practice other traditions such as getting new clothes, having a big feast, and constructing swings. Swings made up of bamboo and coconut rope are erected all across the nation. Tradition dictates that you must swing at least once in this festival, and the swing will take away ill feelings and replace them with feelings of vigor and rejuvenation. Youth also can be seen flying kites during Dashain.
Across the country, people worship Durga Bhawani (the mother goddess) and visit temples during Nauratha, the nine days preceding the main day of Dashain.
The people of the Madhesh and Terai regions also perform musical programs and Ramlila (a dramatic reenactment of the life of Ram). The Nepali music that symbolizes Dashain is known as Mal Shree Dhun.
Dashain starts with Ghatasthapana, a ritual marking the beginning of the festival. The «Dashain Ghar» (special worship room) is set up to perform pūjā (or poojan), a Hindi prayer ritual meant to welcome Durga Bhawani. This room is used to plant barley (called Jamara in Nepali) in sand brought from the river and to worship the Astha-Matrikas (the 8 tantrik Goddesses) and the Nava Durgas (The 9 forms of the goddess Durga). Many people plant barley in their homes as a symbol of the good harvest. The barley sprouts in 10 days and is placed on the heads of family members as a blessing.
On the tenth day, which is the most important day of Dashain, many celebrations take place across Nepal, differing according to geographic structure but all celebrated with the same enthusiasm. Many people give Prasad (a religious offering) to the goddess of victory. In hilly regions, people put tika from the hands of elders on their foreheads. In some places, people construct effigies of Raman (the king of demons) and burn them during a performance of the great Ram Lila.
What are the days in Dashain called?
The celebration of Dashain lasts 15 days, but the following days are regarded as the main days of the festival:
1st day: October 17, 2020 : Ghatasthapana (Pratipada)
7th day: October 23: Fulpati (Saptami)
8th day: October 24: Asthami
9th day: October 25: Navami
10th day: October 26: Vijaya Dashami (main Dashain Day) – Dashain ko Tika
11th day: October 27: Akadasi
What are the stories behind the Dashain celebration?
There are many stories in Nepali culture behind the celebration of Dashain. All stories lead to Dashain being celebrated as the victory of Good over evil.
Victory of Ram Chandra over Rawan (Rawana)
As legend goes, the demon King Rawan kidnapped Sita, the wife of King Ram Chandra. With the help of Hanuman (the monkey god) and his military, King Ram conquered Rawan on the tenth day, after regular worship of Durga Bhawani for 9 days. Today, we worship Durga Bhawani for 9 days and on the 10th day, burn effigies of Rawan to symbolize victory and the end of evil. Tika is placed on our foreheads as a Prasad of victory.
Victory of Durga Mata over Mahishasur
As legend goes, Asuras (demons) became very powerful and ambitious. They continually tried to defeat the Devas (gods) and capture Heaven. One Asura, Mahishasur, grew very powerful and wreaked havoc on earth in the form of a terrible and mighty water buffalo. Asuras started defeating the Devas and chasing them away from the heaven. The world was crushed under Mahishasura’s cruelty. Desperate, the Devas put their energy together and formed a Shakti, a single mass of incandescent energy, to defeat Mahishasur. This powerful band of lightning emerged from the mouths of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and a young, beautiful female virgin with ten hands appeared, the goddess Durga. All the Devas gave their powers and special weapons to her. With her vehicle, Durga Bhawanu, riding on a lion, the goddess fought Mahishasur. The battle raged for nine days and nights. Finally, on the tenth day of Ashvin Shukla Paksha, Mahishasur was defeated and killed by Durga. This is the day of celebration.
Celebrate Dashain with Snow Leopard Trek
Snow Leopard Trek welcomes you to experience the biggest festival in Nepal, Dashain. We will take you to both the local and remote areas of Nepal to celebrate the festival with local people and create an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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