Dashain is the grandest, longest and most auspicious festival in Nepal. Dashain is a time for family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. It’s celebrated in the month of Ashwin or Kartik (nepalese Calendar) which usually falls around late september- early October. Goddess Durga is worshiped during this festival. and we believe that god durga is symbolizing valor and prowess also emphasized the importance of family reunion, which is helpful to ease social contradictions.Take blessings from their elders and enjoy being with family forgetting all the trouble and worries.
The weather during Dashain season is the best, after the monsoon finally ends its not too hot nor too cold. You can feel laid back festive atmosphere throughout the country making it an ideal time to visit nepal but during the festive period all government offices, educational institutions and public buildings will be closed, so the tourist will need to plan ahead carefully.
Day 1. Ghatasthapana:
Ghatasthapana happens on the first day of the Dashain festival. Ghata means “pot or vessel” and sthapana means “to establish”. Combining both words the literal meaning is to establish a pot. On this day, the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolizing goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room. People fill a vessel with sand and sesame seed, sow maize, barley seeds and is covered and worshiped for 10 days. Then the seeds begin to sprout. Several days later, five or six inches long yellow grass would thrive in the kalasha which is called Jamara. Traditionally, outsiders and women are not allowed to enter the kalasha placed room. Men will worship the kalasha twice a day, one time in the morning and another at night. They take shower and wear clean white dhoti while going inside the prayer room. Generally people read Chandi or Durga Kavach during these 9 days of Devi worships. The ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a certain auspicious moment determined by the astrologers.
Day 7. Fulpati:
Fulpati is also known as Saptami. On this day, the Fulpati filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara and sugarcane tied with a red piece of cloth to be offered to Goddess Durga, was brought from Gorkha to Dhading district from where six Bhramans carried it to Dashain Ghar in Hanumandhoka,Kathmandu. There are also parades performed by the Gurujyuko Platoon, Nepalese army in hanuman dhoka and Tundikhel ,which is observed by the Prime Minister.
All nine plants represent goddess and all goddess represents Health, Wealth and prosperity. Entering Phulpati home is entering health, wealth and prosperity home. There is a tradition in Nepal of bringing nine types of Phoolpati into the pooja room of the house with a celebration in the seventh day of Navaratri Pooja. Therefore, the seventh day of Vijaya Dashami is also called Phoolpati in Nepal.
Nine ingredients of fulpati (navapatriva)
- Banana plant (kera ko bot): represents Goddess Brahmani (ब्राम्हणी), who bestows peace.
- Pomegranate (darim):represents Goddess Rakta Dantika (रक्त दंतिका ) who helps and blesses the worshipper.
- In rice stalk (dhanko bala): represents goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
- Turmeric plant (haledo): represents goddess Durga, who puts end to obstacles.
- Manabriksha: represents goddess Chamunda, who puts end to the evil.
- Ginger plant (अदुवा): represents Goddess Kalika, who blesses mankind.
- In Wood Apple Tree (bel plant): represents lord Shiva,This is the favorite fruit of Lords Vishnu and Shiva.
- In the Ashok plant: represents goddess Sokarahita.
- Jayanti:represents goddes Kartiki.
In the same day, Saraswoti, the goddess of education and knowledge is worshiped. Students and teachers do puja of their books and other study materials. Businessmen people honor and their scales and ledgers. The formal public holiday of Dashain also starts from this very day.
Day 8: Maha Asthami:
The eighth day of Dashain Festival is held for goddess Kali. The night of the eighth day is called ‘Kal Ratri’, the dark night. Hundreds of goats, sheep and buffaloes are sacrificed at the mother goddess temples. After being dedicated to the Goddess, those meat would be brought home and called as “Prasad”. And it’s said that eating Prasad will bring good luck.
Day 9: Nawami:
The ninth day of Dashain festival, The Taleju temple will be open to the public for once a year on this occasion. You’ll see numerous people line up to visit Taleju Temple and beg for Goddess’ blessings. On this very day the god Vishwa Karma, the God of creativity is also worshiped. Nepalese slaughter their livestock to sacrifice to all machines, vehicles, household items, like cars, hammer are also worshiped on this day, to get the blessing from goddess Durga for protection for vehicles and their occupants against accidents during the year.
Day 10: Bijaya Dashami:
On this day wearing new clothes,women prepare a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion powder called “Tika”. And all relatives gather together and elders put tika and jamara on the forehead of younger and receive their blessing and also give “dakshina” money. This ritual helps in the renewal of the community ties greatly that’s why the festival is celebrated with so much vigor and enthusiasm.These red (tika) and yellow-green (jamara) splashes of color are an integral part of the festival. This continues for five days till the full moon giving enough time for family to visit every relatives and exchange gift greetings and well wishes. New clothes, home visits, grand feasts, mouth-watering foods, kite flying and build bamboo swings are the highlights of Dashain. People living far away from home or homeland, revisit their home and get together with their families.
Day 15: Kojagrata Purnima
The full moon day is also called ‘Kojagrata’ meaning ‘who is awake’. The Hindu goddess of wealth and luck Laxmi is worshipped. People enjoy the night by playing cards and much more.