Dashain festival NepalPosted on Oct 5, 2013 by NepalTravel under Culture and Festival
Dashain is the national festival of Nepal. Dashain symbolizes the victory of gods over demons and victory of good over the evil. According to Hindu philosophy, a demon called ‘Maishasura’ was killed by goddess Durga and saved everyone from his evils. Thus, dashain is celebrated for this victory over the demon. Goddess Durga is considered as the goddess of power and justice. Dashain is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. It has special significance in Hinduism and is celebrated for 15 days.
The first day of Dashain is known as ‘Ghatasthapana’.
Dashain starts with planting of jamara. On this day, every household prepares a nice pot known as ‘kalash’ and cover its outer part with holy cow dung and ‘jau’ (barley). Pure sand is collected to produce jamara from barley. Generally, supreme male member of the family performs puja every morning and evening and worship goddess durga and the kalash.
The second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth day of dashain is celebrated by visiting different temples, worshipping goddess durga and mahakali and performing regular puja at home.
The seventh day of Dashain is known as fulpati.
On this day ‘fulpati’ (different types of flowers, jamara and banana stalks necessary) for vijaya dashami (tenth day of dashain) are brought to Kathmandu durbar square from Gorkha dashain ghar. A special program is organized by the government where Nepalese army performs parade and majestic displays along with gun fire. Every general family according to their ritual brings their fulpati in their dashain ghar. Government holiday starts from the day of fulpati. People enjoy the festival by involving themselves in playing card, flying kites and eat varieties of foods along with meat cuisines.
The eight day of Dashain is known as Astami or Maha Astami.
Astami or Maha Astami
On this day, people visit different temples of goddess Durga Bhawani and Mahakali. There are number of temples of durga bhawani and mahakali in Kathmandu valley and around the Kathmandu valley. These temples are specially known as ‘shakti peeths’. Large number of people can be seen in these temples. Maha astami is believed to be the main day of dashain. Temples like naxal bhagawati, guheshwori, maitidevi, kalikasthan, bhadrakali, sobhabhagawati, nardevi, palanchowk bhagawati, dakshinkali, bagalamukhi and taleju bhawani are specially visited during dashain. All these temples have their own cultural and historical significance. Numbers of animals are sacrificed to the goddess in taleju temple on the night of maha astami. Devotees throng over all these temples in hoping to eliminate troubles, ego, and any other destroying factor from their lives. Some offer animal sacrifices to durga bhawani or some offer other offerings. One can see large number of animal sacrifices in temples of durga bhawani and mahakali during dashain. Every household according to their financial status sacrifices male goats, duck, buffalo, etc. in their house.
The ninth day of dashain is known as ‘Mahanawami’.
Regular puja of dashain is carried out as usual. People worship their vehicles, instruments, machines on this day. Some offer animal sacrifices to machines and some offer coconuts in replacement of animals. Taleju bhawani temple at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square is opened once a year on this day for general public. Devotees queue up at the temple from all early in the morning till the evening to worship the goddess.
The tenth day of dashain is known as Vijaya Dashami.
On this day, the planted jamara and kalash is taken out from the puja ghar and the eldest member of the family provides jamara and red tika to all the family members. People receive tika, jamara and blessings from their elders and relatives. There is also a culture of giving ‘dakshina’ (money gift) to younger ones. Everyone make themselves ready with new clothes and lovely ornaments while receiving tika. Special meat cuisines and other food items are prepared in every household according to their financial budget. People involve themselves in receiving tika from their relatives, inviting friends and relatives for lunch or dinner during tika days of dashain. This celebration is carried out for four days.
The last day of dashain is known as Kojagrat Purnima (full moon day).
On this day the planted jamara and other flowers collected for tika are dispatched from the house. Goddess Laxmi, god of wealth is worshipped on this day. It is believed that goddess Laxmi visit homes of people who are awake all night. So people indulge themselves in playing cards all night and enjoy on their own.
Dashain festival falls around the month of October and November. The weather during dashain is super fine (Neither so hot nor so cold). People get involved in different kinds of fun activities with the starting of dashain. It includes playing cards, playing swing, flying kites, etc. A week long government holiday is given to everyone to celebrate dashain. Shopping is another exciting aspect of dashain. Parents buy new clothes for their children and even for themselves. Dashain is all about celebration, tradition, respect, fun and preservation of culture.
Dashain Tika Mantra
आयुर्द्रोणसुते श्रियो दशरथे शत्रुक्षयं राघवे ।
ऐश्वर्य नहुषे गतिश्च पवने मानञ्च दुर्योधने ॥
शौर्य शान्तनवे बलं हलधरे सत्यञ्च कुन्तीसुते ॥
जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी ।
दुर्गा क्षमा शिवा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोस्तु ते ॥
जय त्वं देवि चामुण्डे जय भूतापहारिणि ।
जय सर्वगते देवि कालरात्रि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥
ब्रह्मा करोतु दीर्घायुर्विष्णु: करोतु सम्पद: ।
हरो हरतु पापानि गात्रं रक्षतु चण्डिका ॥
आवाहनं न जानामि न जानामि समर्पूणम् ।
पूजां चैव न जानामि क्षम्यतां परमेश्र्वरि ॥
Ping during Dashain
For other uses, see Tihar (disambiguation).
|Also called||Swonti (Nepali Bhasa), Deepawali (दीपावली), Yamapanchak (यमपञ्चक), Dewali (दिवालि)|
|Celebrations||Decorating homes with lights, singing, dancing, gambling, etc.|
|Observances||Prayers and religious rituals|
|Date||New moon day of Kartika, celebrations begin two days before and end two days after that date|
|2017 date||October 17–21|
|Related to||Diwali, Swanti|
Tihar (Nepali: तिहार), also known as Deepawali and Yamapanchak or Swanti (Nepal Bhasa: स्वन्ती:), is a five-day-long Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal and in the Indian states of Assam and Sikkim including in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is the festival of lights, as diyas are lit inside and outside the houses to make it illuminate at night. It is popularly known as Swanti among the Newars and as Deepawali among Madhesis. Set in the Vikram Samvat calendar, the festival begins with Kaag Tihar in Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha and ends with Bhai Tika in Dwitiya of Kartik Sukla Paksha every year.
Tihar is the second biggest Nepalese festival after Dashain. It is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows, and dogs that maintain an intimate relationship with humans. People make patterns on the floor of living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals outside their house, called Rangoli, which is meant to be a sacred welcoming area for the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism mainly Goddess Laxmi.
 Crows and ravens are worshiped by offerings of sweets and dishes placed on the roofs of houses. The cawing of crows and ravens symbolizes sadness and grief in Hinduism, so devotees offer crows and ravens food to avert grief and death in their homes. Tihar represents the divine attachment between humans and other animals.
Kukur Tihar (Day 2)
The second day is called Kukur Tihar. It is called the Khicha Puja by the Newars. People offer garlands, tika and delicious food to dogs and acknowledge the cherished relationship between humans and dogs.
Dogs occupy a special place in Hindu mythology. As mentioned in the Mahabharata, Bhairava, a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva, had a dog as a vahana (vehicle). Yama, the god of death, is believed to own two guard dogs – each with four eyes. The dogs are said to watch over the gates of Naraka, the Hindu concept of Hell. Owing to this belief, this day is also observed as Naraka Chaturdashi.
Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja (Day 3)
The morning of the third day is Gai Tihar (worship of the cow). In Hinduism, cow signifies prosperity and wealth. In ancient times people benefited a lot from the cow. Its milk, dung, even urine was used for purposes like purification. Thus, on this day people show their gratefulness to the cow by garlanding and feeding them with the best grass. Houses are cleaned and the doorways and windows are decorated with garlands made of Saya Patri (marigolds) and makhamali (Gomphrena globosa) flowers.
In the evening Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is thanked for all the benefits that were bestowed on the families by lighting oil lamps (Diyo) or candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and well being. At night the girls enjoy dancing and visiting all the houses in the neighborhood with musical instruments singing and dancing known as Bhailo all night long collecting money as a tip from houses and share the bounty amongst themselves.
From the third day onward Tihar is celebrated with Deusi and Bhailo with light and fireworks. Deusi is mostly sung by the boys while the Bhailo is sung by the girls. Deusi is balladic and tells the story of the festival, with one person narrating and the rest as the chorus. In return, the home owners give them money, fruit and selroti (a Nepali roundel made of rice flour and sugar). Nowadays social workers, politician, and young people visit local homes, sing these songs, and collect funds for welfare and social activities.
Coincidentally, Laxmi Puja also marks the birthday of Laxmi Prasad Devkota, who is widely revered and honoured as the greatest poet of Nepali language.
Govardhan Puja (Day 4)
On the fourth day of Tihar, there are three different known pujas, depending on the people's cultural background. It is observed as Goru Tihar or Goru Puja (worship of the oxen). People who follow Vaishnavism perform Govardhan Puja, which is worship towards Govardhan mountain. Cow dung is taken as representative of the mountain and is worshiped. Additionally, the majority of the Newar community on the night perform Mha Puja (worship of self). This day is seen as the beginning of the new Nepal Sambat calendar year.
Bhai Tika Worship of Brother (Day 5)
The fifth and last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika or Kija Puja. It is observed by sisters applying tilaka" or "tika" to the foreheads of their brothers to ensure long life and thank them for the protection they provide. It is believed that Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister, Goddess Yamuna, on this day during which she applied the auspicious tika on his forehead, garlanded him and fed him special dishes. Together, they ate sweets, talked and enjoyed themselves to their hearts' content. Upon parting, Yamraj gave the Yamuna a special gift as a token of his affection and, in return, Yamuna gave him a lovely gift which she had made with her own hands. That day Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister will never die on that day.
Sisters make a special garland for their brothers from a flower that wilts only after a couple of months, symbolizing the sister's prayer for her brother's long life. Brothers sit on the floor while their sisters perform their puja. The puja follows a traditional ritual in which sisters circle brothers, dripping oil on the floor from a copper pitcher and applying oil to their brother's hair, following which a seven-color tikas is applied on the brother's forehead. Next, brothers give tikas to their sisters in the same fashion with an exchange of gifts. This ritual is practiced regardless of whether the brother is younger or older than the sister. Those without a sister or brother join relatives or friends for tika. This festival strengthens the close relationship between brothers and sisters.
In addition to these, Newars make colourful Ashtamangalamandalas and recite chants and procedures in accordance with Tantric rituals. Along with the seven-coloured tika, sisters provide brothers with Sagun, sweets, Makhamali(Gomphrena globosa) garland, and a sacred cotton thread of Tantric importance, similar to Janai thread meant to protect their bodies.
[[Category:Public holidays Nepali festivals]]
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