13th Day of Dashain :- Dashain in Nepal is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm and happiness. For 15 days, various rituals are performed that are intended to offer prayers to Goddess Durga and her various avatars for her blessings over the world.
Hinduism and the importance of Festivals for Hindus
Hinduism is a religion or a way of life followed by almost 15-16 percentage of the global population, making it the world’s 3rd largest religion. Also considered one of the oldest religions, Hinduism is also referred to as Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Way). This religion includes a wide range of mythology and philosophy developed throughout thousands of years.
One of the most important aspects of Hinduism is its wide range of festivals celebrated in honor of various Hindu deities. During festivals, different types of pujas and rituals are performed to worship the deities. While these festivals are celebrated as a way of life, these are also the means of getting together with the family and accepting and understanding the cultures that are being followed for thousands of years.
Festivals in Nepal
Nepal is one of the small countries in South Asia. Though Nepal is a secular state, most people follow Hinduism and celebrate different festivals over the years. Nepal was one of the Hindu kingdoms. However, with the abolishment of the kingdom in Nepal, Nepal has been a secular country.
Along with Hindus, Nepal is also home to people following different religions like Christianity, Buddhism. As all religions have their way of living, there are no shortages of festivities in Nepal.
Various types of festivals are celebrated in Nepal. A few of the most important and widely celebrated festivals are Dashain, Tihar, Holy, Krishna Janmasthami, Naag Panchami, Eid, Christmas, Loshar, and many more. Among all festivals, the Dashain festival is the longest and most auspiciously celebrated festivals in Nepal.
Dashain: Mythological background and significances
Dashain is the longest festival that is celebrated by Hindus all around the world. In Nepal, this festival is celebrated for 15 days, where each day has its unique importance and significance. Similarly, this festival is celebrated in India and other nations where Hindus live.
This festival honors one of the most significant mythological moments as per Hinduism. Hindu Mythology says that Dashain is happily and auspiciously celebrated since the truth ear (Sayta Yug). It is believed that during this ear, there was a massive clash between the god and the Devil.
Evil Mahisasuara terrorized the entire village or world, and to stop the evil from terrorizing the world, all of the gods fought the Devil. Though, despite all their efforts, Mahisusra defeated gods multiple times. Hence, the gods created Durga Bhawani (Goddess Durga) with their combined lights. Goddess Durga continually fought with the Devil, which lasted for 9 consecutive days.
On the 9h day, Goddess Durga defeated the demon liberating villagers from his terror. Ever since the incident, it is believed people have been celebrating this festival to honor the power of the goddess Durga. During this festival, Goddess Durga and her 9 manifestations are worshipped.
Dashain in Nepal
Dashain in Nepal is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm and happiness. For 15 days, various rituals are performed that are intended to offer prayers to Goddess Durga and her various avatars for her blessings over the world. Dashain in Nepal starts from the Ashwin Shukla Pratipada and ends on the Purnima. These 15 days are dedicated to Goddess Durga and her manifestations.
The festival starts with Ghatasthapana. On this day, a Kalash or Pot representing the goddess herself is established in the household or temples. This pot is worshipped during the entire festival. Along with that, there is a tradition to plant barley seeds to get the Jamara (Sprouted Barley Seeds).
The grass is considered holy and used on the 10th day of Dashain, Vijaya Dashami, to bless the Youngers. From the first day, Dashain celebrations start. Along with the traditional rituals, various activities are performed, including flying kites, going for vacation, playing cards, making and playing on the bamboo swings, etc.
Vijaya Dashami, the 10th day of the festival, is considered the most important day. On this day, we put tika over the forehead from the family’s elders and get blessings for long life and health. This process continues for the 5 days until the Kojagrat Purnima.
13th day of Dashain : Rituals performed
The 13th day of Dashain is as important as the other days as on this day, too, people visit their relatives and family to get the Tika and Jamara and, most importantly, the blessings from the elders. Once the morning rituals and pujas are completed, people continue to visit their distant relatives or home to get blessings from the family’s elders.
It is believed that taking tika and jamara from the elders will protect one from the hardship in life. Hence, people visit as many relatives as they desire to take blessings. Similarly, on the 13th day of the festival, people start to return to their work place to continue with the normal routine for those who live far from home.
Dashain celebrations amidst COVID 19 Pandemic
Dashain 2077 is just a few weeks away, and people in Nepal are starting to get the Dashain fever. However, the COVID 19 pandemic has taken over Nepal as well. With the lift of nationwide lockdown, the number of COVID 19 patients has increased substantially. Over the past few weeks, the COVID 19 patients have grown and have surpassed the COVID 19 patients of China from where the pandemic started. In such a condition, people should be very cautious while celebrating the festival.
While in the past, during Dashain, people used to go for camping, vacation, shopping, this year, keeping the pandemic situation in light. It is highly recommended that people celebrate the festival at home with a few friends and family and enjoy the moment.
Avoiding the crowd and maintaining good hygiene and safety measures could help people not get contracted with the virus. So, be patient and enjoy the festival with the loved ones at home this year to avoid any possibility of getting contacted with the coronavirus.
Stay safe and Happy Dashain 2077 to everyone.