Dashain Festival

 2021/10/25 Dina Kunwar 

Dashain is the longest and biggest festival of Nepal which is usually celebrated for 15 days in September – October. The period varies depending on the Nepalese calendar, and it lasted for 14 days this year, from 7th to 20th October. Dashain honors the Goddess Durga, who battled with the demon for ten days and killed him, according to Hindu mythology. Therefore, Dashain is the festival of a win over evil, which signifies the unity, the victory of truth, and the inception of happiness. 

Dashain is a time for family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas. People return home from abroad and from cities to celebrate the festival with their families, friends and relatives. In preparation for Dashain, every home is cleansed and beautifully decorated, painted as an invitation to the Goddess Durga, so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune. New clothes are given to the children and various good food especially meat items are consumed during Dashain Festival. 

Dashain starts from Ghatasthapana and ends on full moon day called Kojagrat Punima. Each day has special rituals and activities to be performed. The most important day are 1st day- Ghatasthapana, 7th day -Saptami Phulpati , 8th day- Maha Astami , 9th Day- Maha Nawami and 10th Day- Vijaya Dashami. The first nine days of the festival are popularly called Navaratri and the goddess Durga is worshipped during this period. 

1st Day: On Ghatasthapana, people sow rice and barley seeds on the pious corner of their house to grow seeds called Jamara to worship Goddess Durga and used for giving the blessing on the ceremony on the 10th day. 

7th Day: Saptami Phulpati is connected to the unification of Nepal. On Phulpati, Navapatriva (a combination of nine holy plants such as banana stalks, Jamara, and sugar cane which represent nine Hindu deities) is brought from Gorkha to Kathmandu and honored with a 21-gun salute by the Nepal Army. A special parade is also carried out to signify the official arrival of Phulpati. The process of bringing Phulpati from Gorkha to Kathmandu is a symbol of the fact that Nepal is now unified and that the main cities are now equally blessed by goddess Durga. 

8th -9th Day: People sacrifice goats, ducks, buffaloes, and other birds to the Goddess Durga. People also visit Durga’s temple to worship their favorite goddess and wish her blessing for power and prosperity. 

 10th day - On Vijaya Dashami, people receive Tika (red-colored rice seeds) on their forehead, Jamara on their head along with the blessings of the elder ones in the family. They get blessings for good health, happiness, progress, prosperity, and longevity. People wear new clothes, visit relatives and enjoy delicious food items. 

This year, many people were able to return to their parents' homes and spent time with their families, thanks to a loosening of movement restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19. 

People clean and decorate their house before Dashain festival

People grow seedlings called Jamara in this Tapari leaf dish to worship Goddess 

On the 9th day (Maha Nawami),  people visit Durga’s temple to worship their favorite goddess and wish her blessing for power and prosperity. 

Family members get together and enjoy delicious meal in the final day of the festival

Some popular cuisines in Dashain festival 

Holi-The Festival of Colors and Fun in Nepal 

 2021/04/17 Dina Kunwar 

Holi is the colorful festival celebrated in Nepal. It falls on full moon day of Falgun month, the eleventh month of Nepali calendar and was celebrated in late March this year. Holi signifies the victory of good over evil. The festival is also celebrated for the coming of spring and harvest season. 

Holi is one of the unique festivals of the Hindu, but non-Hindus also celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and warmth. All the people from different age group, cast and religions can enjoy and join the celebration. The vibrancy of colors brings a lot of positivity to our lives and Holi festival is actually a day worth rejoicing.

The way of Holi celebration differs depending on our diverse topography, culture, tradition. In general, during the festival, people exchange different powdered colors to each other including friends, family, relatives and even strangers. Besides colors, people also celebrate by throwing water, dancing, enjoying the concert and special juice called “bhang”. Hence Holi is also a festival of fun and entertainment, it generates a feeling of love and brotherhood among the people.

In Kathmandu, on the day of the festival, many people usually gather at Basantapur durbar square, the world heritage sites and in various places for the celebration. This year, due to the spread of COVID 19, Government of Nepal requested the public to follow health and safety protocols and many people stayed at home. At the same time, media covered many people who did not want to miss out the festivity that was taken place after such a long time of indoor activities due to the pandemic gathered at Basantapur durbar square. 

Children in rural area enjoyed the festival

Young people gathered to enjoy the festival before the spread of COVID-19

The Celebration at Kathmandu Durbar Square this year (Source: The Kathmandu Post)