Dashain is the biggest religious festival in Nepal. This festival is also known as Bada Dashain and Vijay Dashami in Nepal.
This is a major religious festival in India as well. In India, this festival is known as Dussehra.
All the Hindus from all over the world, especially from Nepal and India, celebrate this festival.
This is one of the longest festivals in the Bikram Sambat calendar and an auspicious festival for Nepalese. People return from all over the world to Nepal to celebrate this festival with their family and friends.
During the Dashain festival period, all government offices, schools, educational institutions, and even private offices remain closed throughout the festival.
Most of the time, the Dashain festival comes in September or October. According to the Hindu religion, this festival starts with the Shukla Paksha of the Ashwin month and ends with Purnima.
Including Hindu and Buddhist Newars, this festival is celebrated in variations on nine days which are called Navratri, leading to the 10th day of the festival which is called Dashmi, which is the most celebrated one.
Dashain, or Dussehra, symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Dashain, also known as Dussehra, is a Hindu festival commemorating the goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura. The battle between Goddess Durga and Mahishasura lasted nine days before Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasura on the tenth day.
And according to the Ramayana, Dashain or Dussehra is celebrated on the occasion of the victory of Ram over Ravana.
This festival starts with Ghatasthapana, which is the first day of the festival and goes till the 10th day.
The most celebrated days during the Dashin are the first day, which is called Ghatasthapana, the 8th day, which is called Maha Asthami, the 9th day is Maha Navami, and the 10th day is Dashami.
In the Hindu religion, Dashain is celebrated for 10 days and each day has a different custom and a different name.
Dashain begins with Ghatasthapana, which is the first day of the festival. Placing a pot or Kalasha and filling it with holy water and barley seeds symbolizes placing a Kalasha, which symbolizes the goddess Durga.
Astrologers determine the auspicious time to perform such a ritual, and a priest or someone from the family asks the goddess Durga to bless the Kalasha with her presence.
Traditionally, the room or the place where the Kalash is placed is called Dashain Ghar, and this Kalash is kept away from direct sunlight.
Outsiders are not allowed to enter Dashain Ghar. Someone from the family worships the Kalash twice a day and offers holy water until the seventh day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
The seeds should have grown into yellow grass and be about five to six inches long by the tenth day of the festival.
The sacred yellow grass is called Jamara in Nepali.
One of the most celebrated days during Dashain is known as Phulpati and it occurs on the 7th day.
During the king’s dynasty, the Magars used to bring the royal Kalash, Jamara, banana stalks, sugar cane tied with red clothes from the Gorkha district; in those days, it used to take three days of walking to reach the Kathmandu Valley from Gorkha.
On the occasion of the Phulpati ceremony, the King used to observe the parade from the Tundikhel ground while the Phulati parade headed toward the royal place of Hanuman Dhoka.
So such a traditional ceremony has ended, and now the holy offering of Phulpati goes to the residence of the president of the country.
Maha Asthami (Day-8)
According to Hindu ritual, this is the day when the most fierce form of Durga, the bloodthirsty Kali, manifests.
People believe the bloodthirsty Kali can be appeased through the sacrifice of animals like buffalos, hens, goats, and ducks.
After offering the blood to goddess Durga, meat is taken home to cook Parshad and food which is blessed by divinity.
The Newar community does Khadga Puja on this day. They do puja for their weapons on this day.
Navami, or Mahanavami, is the ninth day of the Dashain festival. The Dashain festival reaches its peak on this day. This is the end of Navaratri.
This day is known as demon hunting day as well.
Bijaya Dashami, also known as Vijayadashami (Day-10)
Vijayadashami is the tenth day of the Dashain festival. People prepare the Tika on this day. Tika is made by mixing rice, vermilion, a little bit of water, and yogurt.
Astrologers determine the auspicious time for tika, which could be different every year.
The head of the family puts the Tika on the forehead after the auspicious time, gives the Jamara which is sown in Ghatasthapana, and gives Dakshina (money) with blessing.
Families and relatives visit the elderly to get the Tika and blessings, and this process goes on till Purnima (full moon day).
Kojagrat Purnima (Day-15)
The Kojagrat Purnima is the last day of the festival; it is the fifteenth day of the festival.
Kojagrat Purnima means who is awake. On these days, the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, is worshipped.
People believe that the goddess of wealth descending on the earth showers wealth and prosperity on those who are awake the whole night, so people try to stay up the whole night on that day and enjoy the night with their families, playing cards, etc.