DASHAIN : NEPAL’S BIGGEST FESTIVAL
30 Sep 2019 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
Dashain is the most important festival in Nepal. It is a celebration of good prevailing over evil. Families offer goats, ducks, chickens, eggs and coconuts to the goddess Durga. People return to their home villages to spend some or all of the fifteen-day festival with their families. Large swings are set up for children, and from the tenth day, family members receive blessings of tika (rice, red vermilion and yoghurt) on their foreheads from their elders.
The great harvest festival of Nepal, Dashain is a time for family reunions, exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas. Dashain honors the Goddess Durga, who was created out of the shakti or energy of all the gods, armed with weapons from each of them. Usually falling during September or October, Dashain starts in the shukla paksha (bright lunar fortnight) and ends on the day of the full moon.
During Dashain, men and women in their fineries visit their elders to seek tika (a dab of red vermilion mixed with yogurt and rice) accompanied by blessings. Sword precessions (Paayaa) are also held in various part of the Kathmandu Valley. A large number of animals are officially sacrificed at Hanuman Dhoka during Nawami which is attended by officials, invitees and visitors.
Its History :
In Hindu mythology, the demon Mahishasura was causing terror in the devaloka (world of the gods) until Durga killed the demon. The first nine days of Dashain symbolize the battle that took place between the different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally defeated him. For other Hindus, this festival symbolizes the victory of Rama over Ravana, as recounted in the Ramayana.
Over the last few years, animal rights activists have been opposing these acts of slaughter, and have been appealing to people to stop, instead offering fruit and vegetables. They justify this because it is mentioned nowhere in the Hindu religious books that animal sacrifices appease the gods and goddesses.