Dashain Festival ( gg )
Dashain is the greatest and most important festival celebrated in Nepal.Regarded as the national festival, Dashain is observed for 9 days with much enthusiasm. It is also known as Navratri or Durgapuja.The ancient festival kicks off from the new moon day of Ashwin, the sixth month of the Hindu Lunar Calendar,normally coinciding with September or October. The first day is called “Ghatasthapana” and the festival is started by planting the traditional ” Jamara” or saplings of an assortment of grains. Special prayers of Goddess Durga are organized at homes and temples which continues for nine days called “Navratri”The festivals heighten from the seventh day called the Saptami or Fulpati. Family members that have moved away from home for various reasons also arrive home to celebrate the festival.
Dashain commemorates a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. One of the victory stories told is the Ramayan, where the lord Ram after a big struggle slaughtered Ravana, the fiendish king of demons. It is said that lord Ram was successful in the battle only when goddess Durga was evoked. The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by goddess Durga slaying the terrible demon Mahisasur, who terrorised the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur was slain and the last five days symbolise the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great rejoice, and goddess Durga is worshiped throughout the kingdom as the divine mother goddess
People offer worship to the ” Jamara” in the morning while delicacies are served in the day. Special prayers are offered Goddess Durga on the eighth day”Mahaastami”. Most household offer a sacrifice of male goats to the Goddess, Followed by a feast. The ninth day ‘Mahanavami ‘ is also celebrated amidst prayers, feast and worship. Goats are also sacrificed on the day, while some people, mostly the entrepreneurs, worship their vehicles, offices, hotels and factores, The tenth day is called ‘Vijaya Dashmai’ which holds a special significance. There is a tradition of receiving ‘Tika’ and Jamara from the hand of elders along with their blessings. Folks visit their elders to receive their blessings on the day. The roads turn full of people with bright red Tika on their forehead and yellow saplings tucked on their ears traveling to the homes of their elders. There is also a tradition of traveling to one’s relatives to receive the tika until the full moon day.
Dashain is the only time of the year when people receive a set of new clothing. Likewise, in poorer families, the animal sacrifice was eagerly anticipated since it might be the only animal protein the family would eat all year. This may be true in certain parts of Nepal where food is in low supply, but is less so in the cities. In general, the tradition of sacrifice is lessening with the easy availability of meat for daily consumption, and with the influences of Vaishnav Hindus (who are vegetarian).After Dashain everyone settles back to normal. After receiving the blessing of goddess Durga, people are ready to work and acquire virtue, power and wealth. Dashain thus is not only the longest festival but also the most anticipated one among all the festivals of Nepal.
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