The presence of a staunch righteous message through a festival promotes a greater sense of unity and communal celebrations. Dashain emphasizes the victory of good over evil which resonates well among communities. The longest festival in Nepal, Dashain marks its presence for 15 days in the month of Ashoj (Ashwin).
Though the legends believed to originate the festival are different in Nepal or India, the essence that holds them together remains the same. In Nepal, the victory of good over evil is celebrated to recognize Goddess Durga and how she defeated the demon king Mahishasura. The first nine days of the festival recount the battle, the tenth day marks the beheading of the demon, and the last five days are for celebrations.
Dashain has few days that are more significant than others. On the first day, the festival is inaugurated by Ghatasthapana, which means establishing the pot. A vessel or Kalash, filled with sand from holy river is used to sow barley seeds. With a belief of Goddess Durga’s victory over bad is symbolized by the seeds sprouting into lush grass known as Jamara within ten days. In the seventh-day ceremony, Fulpati involves tying a red cloth to the Kalash, Jamara, sugarcane, and banana stalks, and then bundling them together. In Nepali,”Phool” means flower and “Pati” means leaves and plants. There is a tradition in Nepal to bring nine types of Fulpati into the home on seventh day of Navaratri. It is believed that Fulpati represents nine Goddess and they brings health, wealth and prosperity to the homes.
On the eighth day, known as Maha Ashtami, animal sacrifices are made to please the Goddess Kali and later consumed as ‘prasad’. Goddess Durga won the battle on the ninth day, Navami and Taleju temples open all over Nepal for worship. The tenth day of this festival is Dashami, the day for Tika. Tika is a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermillion, and is considered a symbol of unity.
Dashain is not limited to rituals alone and has many elements of fun and excitement. Kite flying is an enthusiastic activity, and competitions are held among kids. The festival does not leave out anyone with the family adults engaged in playing cards and having fun. One cannot forget the liveliness playing on the swings known as ping, added to Dashain. Getting up early in the morning to visit Bhagwati temples is also something that adds vibrance to the festival.
Elaborate festivals call for elaborate shopping. The most important aspect of the festival is the Dashain Shopping. For people, shopping and buying something new during Dashain is like a tradition.
- Pooja Samagris- the starting point of your shopping should be preparing for various rituals you have to undertake. Stock up on your pooja supplies like khutte diyo or a copper pooja thali or even a damaru for your little one.
- Clothing- New clothes and accessories are a must for Dashain! You can shop for traditional dresses, scarves, Dashain specials like Dashain shirts, Dhaka topi, and Bhadgaule topi for yourself or surprise your loved ones.
- Handicrafts- singing bowl, incense holder, Thangka paintings, keychains are few of the many choices available for you to enjoy the festive spirit.
- Home products- give your home a new and ethnic look by redecorating with statues, Dhaka Khukuri souvenirs, and hand weaved baskets called Bamboo dalo. Such items are sure to make you feel at home, away from home.
With less than a month for Dashain, start making your lists for shopping! If you feel deprived of things that remind you of home, you are mistaken. Foomantra.com is always there to provide the Nepal touch and to complete your shopping needs.
Want to know about Nag Panchami also? Learn more here.