- HB Thapa
Dashain is one of the most significant national festivals of Nepal which is celebrated for the longest duration. It is observed for almost two weeks although the government holidays are given for hardly one week to celebrate it.
The schools and colleges usually close down for one month till the date of the Bhaitika of Tihar festival.
The Dashain festival is celebrated to worship the goddess “Durga” a Hindu Goddess who is venerated for her power of valor to have fought against the evils according to Hindu myths and stories handed down from the time immemorial.
Dashain or Vijayadashami is the day on which the powerful goddess Durga is believed to have killed the demon King “Maishasur” who was infamous for his ill doings against the Gods. So, this day is celebrated as the icon of victory over the demon power.
The ancient Hindu legend also has it that the famous and most powerful demon King “Mahishasur” was so much infatuated with goddess Durga that he proposed goddess Durga for a marriage. Goddess Durga called for a rivalry fight among the suitors for her.
Demon king Mahishasur challenged all the powerful Gods in the fight and defeated them until the goddess herself came to fight with the demon king.
Demon king willingly prepared himself to die during the duel while trying to defeat the goddess and win her heart.
The Dashain is also celebrated as the harvest festival of Nepal and the day of reunion and exchange of gifts.
Since Durga represents the power, she is not only worshiped, she is offered the animal sacrifices during this festival so that she would be appeased to grant power, prosperity, and wellbeing to the worshippers.
On this occasion, the swords and arsenal are worshiped by sacrificing cocks, hens, buffaloes, and he-goats at the temple.
The festival is said to begin from the first day of Ghatasathapana and observed through Phool Pati, Mahasthami, Nawami and Vijaya Dashami that marks different festival rituals.
During this festival, the elders of the family usually put a tika (a dab of red vermilion mixed with curd and rice) on the foreheads of the youngers who flock around the elders seeking blessing from them. The green jamara is also used along with tika.
For children, this festival brings gifts of new clothes, the chance to eat sweets and fly kites.
According to another legend, this festival originated after the victory of god Ram-the icon of good over Ravan -the symbol of evil which was blessed by the goddess Durga.
The village folks during this festival swing from bamboo made swings and enjoy the fun.
However, unnecessary pomp and show during this festival has caused demeaning to the people of poor status as they cannot afford to buy goats, new expensive clothes, and foods during this occasion.
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