In Nepal, many festivals are celebrated. Among them, Dashain is the greatest festival. During this festival, all offices, Dashain is also known as Durga Puja – the worship of mother Goddess Durga. It is Nepal’s longest and greater than other festivals.
Schools and institutions are closed for nine days. Everyone wears new clothes, feasts are held, business and government offices remain closed and all people visit their relative’s houses.
It occurs between September and October in the English months and in the month of Aswin, in Nepali. This major festival celebrated by Hindus is also called Vijaya Dashami. It is a festival that is celebrated as a victory of good over evil. This festival symbolizes that good always prevails over bad. There are so many stories behind the Dashain celebration victory of Ram Chandra over Ravan. Similarly victory of Durgamata over Mahishasur.
Ghatasthapana (First day of Dashain)
Ghatasthapana is the first day of the Nepali Dashain festival. Ghat stands for “pot or vessel” and Sthapana stands for “ to establish”. Combining both words the meaning is to establish a pot. It is also known as Kalasthapana as Kalash stands for the type of water vessel. Moreover, The goddess Durga is worshipped for nine days and nights.
Male members (who have completed Bratabandha) usually recite the Chandi chapter every morning and night. When you go into the prayer room you have to take a bath and wear a clean white dhoti priorly.
Unmarried females, non-family members, and children are restricted before Bratabandha to enter the room in Ghatasthapana as per the tradition. Weapons are put in front of Goddess Durga Bhawani and worshipped. People also worship Durga Bhawani and Jamara and blow Sankha and play Damaru.
How is Ghatasthapana Puja performed?
People cleaned the pooja room and a Kalash made of clay or copper with a large opening is filled with water, sandalwood paste, flowers, Holy grass (Duvo), rice mixed with turmeric (Akshyata), betel nut, five leaves, five gems or a gold coin.
There is a tree on top of the Kalash. Some people avoid using coconut to cover the top instead. Kalash’s neck is attached with a piece of cloth white and red.
Why is Ghatasthapana celebrated?
At the beginning of the 15 days festival period, Ghatasthapana is the most important day on the Nepali calendar. It celebrates Hindu beliefs concerning the victory of different gods over evil demon spirits, especially worshipful Durga “the mother goddess” at this time.
Phulpati (seventh day of Dashain)
Phulpati is the seventh day of the Dashain festival. It is also called Saptami in the literacy language. Phul stands for “Flower” and Pati stands for “ leaves and plants”. FulPati literally means flowers, leaves, and plants. Brahmins traditionally bring the Kalash, banana stalks, jamara, and sugar cane tied to red cloth on this day.
Navratri Puja celebration is done with Nepali traditional types of flowers in the pooja room. Hundreds of public officials gather in standard formal dress to witness the event in the Tudikhel grounds.
The president and prime minister watch the Tudikhel ceremony as the Phulpati parade heads towards the palace of Hanuman Dhoka. From this day, all private and government offices shut down, encouraging people to return to their respective ancestral homes and take blessings from Goddess Durga and their elders.
Maha Ashtami (Eighth day of Dashain)
The eighth day of Dashain, Durga Puja Festival, is one of the most auspicious days. The worship of the Durga Bhawani and the Kali Mata with very high dedication. Some Hindus take fast in Ashtami.
In Kali temples and houses, hundreds of goats, sheep, and buffaloes are sacrificed to please the goddess. The sacrifice goes on until dawn and even until darkness. In most homes, puja continues with festivals.
Maha Navami (Ninth day of Dashain)
The Navratri festival marks the 9th day of Maha Navami and the final day of the prayer before the Navratri festival of Vijaya Dashami. Durga Day was praised in different ways in different areas of the nation on this day.
The last day of Navratri implies elevated dedication to the goddesses, and that ends because Vijaya Dashami is the next day. People believe that the families of the demons that the demons destroyed by the goddess are thought to hide in the bodies of animals.
Vijayadashami (Dashain day)
On Dashami’s day, everyone wears fresh clothing and walks to honor their elders in the family. People get a large vermilion paste tika on their forehead. Elders place Tika and jamara, planted in the room of younger relatives at Ghatasthapana, to be blessed by everyone else.
The red Tika is also a symbol of blood lying together with the family. Elders, at this time, give Dakshina (money) and blessings to the younger. During the Five days, until the full moon, families and relatives visit each other’s homes to exchange gifts and greetings.
At this time, the rainy season ends and winter begins. During the Dashain period, the happy moments of children and a lot of entertainment are brought together to celebrate.
In Kathmandu valley, different kinds of Jatra and classical dance performances are organized in different places. For each of the first nine nights, the narrow lanes surrounding Patan durbar square pulsate with masked dancers in jeweled costumes, each personifying one of the eight Mother earth goddesses, the Asta Matrika.
The dance of Pachali Bhairav in Kathmandu is exhibited during the days of Navaratri to the Vijaya Dashami. In this way, the great festival Dashain rejoiced.
Why do Hindu celebrate Dashain?
Dashain holds a huge significance in Hindu tradition. There are a few legends and sayings that accompany the reason behind the celebration of Bijaya Dashami.
Celebrating the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana
The victory of God’s strength over demons is the main theme of the Vijaya Dashami. Lord Rama killed Ravana, a ten-headed one, this day who had kidnapped Sitadevi, Lord Ram’s wife. In this association, this day also stands as Dashara. Dashara comes from two Sanskrit phrases, Dasha (ten), hara (defeat). The words Dashara have their beginnings. This victory of righteousness over evil is commemorated by burning Ravana, Kumbhakarna, his brother, and Meghanada’s son.
Celebrating the slaying of the Demon Mahishasura.
Mahishasura was a strong demon under whose guidance asura fought and defeated the semi-gods. The half-gods sought Durga’s assistance in killing Mahishasura. The divine mother, Durga Devi, mounted on a lion, battled the great demon for 9 days and murdered him on the tenth day. This victory of Mother Durga over Demon Mahishasura glorified Vijaya Dashami.