KATHMANDU, Oct 8: Dashain is the most important and awaited festivals for Nepalese, home and abroad. People celebrate this festival forgetting their worries, closing in with family members, relatives, and friends. It is a festival that spans over a period of 10 days, starting from Ghatasthapana meaning to establish a vessel.
(Traditional Tika plate)
Hence the first day of Dashain begins with placing a vessel at the most purified area of one’s home usually the entrance of the living room, and filling it with water and placing barley sapling or as commonly known in Nepali as jamara. This water vessel is then used for rituals for the purpose of praying to Goddess Durga.
Today is the tenth day and the main day of the entire festival of Bijaya Dashami. This is the day known also as the victory of truth over lies, and the victory of good over evil. The Goddess Durga is said to have killed the demon Mahisasur this day according to the ancient texts of Hindu mythology.
(Decorated street in Maitidevi Kathmandu)
Today most Nepalese will be wearing new and finest attires and preparing to receive Tika ( a mix of vermillion and rice grains applied on the forehead as a mark of blessing from the elders). Families, relatives, and community get along together this day and enjoy the bond that they share, while the younger ones indulge in games, and leisure filled activities. Flying Kites is one of the cultural practices here among the residents, which has continued over the years. The skyline is perfect as it marks the withdrawal of monsoons, and the days are brighter, where people can enjoy the hot sun.
Dashain is also significant for many places that have historical temples. Street festivals are common, and according to the area, places are well lit and decorated to attract people. It is a time of music, celebration, food, and bonding. Many are off from work, and the entire country is at a virtual standstill where people are at their respective residences planning and organizing middle to large scale gatherings.
It is an eventful day for Nepalese all over that celebrate this day as a foundation of their family value, and cultural bond. This festival marks a new beginning, and there is always a ray of hope that irrespective of what the circumstances are, the coming days will be better. The blessings that we receive from our elders today signify the love and care that is expressed, while at the same time wishing them in return for their health and well being.
(Photo Courtesy: Jemin Manandhar, Subodh Adhikari, and Murtaza Shah location Mad House Production Maitidevi)