Dashain is the grandest and most auspicious festival celebrated by Nepalese across the world. It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Dashain is a celebration of 15 days running from the new moon until the full moon in the Hindu month of Ashvin. As per the Gregorian calendar, Dashain usually falls in the month of September or October and is the time when many Nepalese expatriates return to Nepal to observe the festival in their homeland. During Dashain, Nepal Government offices and many businesses remain closed for 7 days, so tourists will need to make their plans accordingly.
Victory of Goddess Durga
Dashain marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasur, who in the form of a raging water buffalo cruelly terrorized the people. To celebrate this occasion and pay homage to the goddess, animals are sacrificed on a large scale, specifically buffaloes and goats. Families also make offerings of chickens, ducks, eggs and coconuts at various temples across the country.
Celebrations with Family and Friends
Homes are cleaned and decorated ornately as a gesture of invoking the divine mother to bless the family with fortune. Family members and relatives in different regions gather together for enjoying the reunion with their loved ones. Elders in the family mark the foreheads of the others with Tika, a combination of rice, red vermillion and yoghurt. Buying and wearing new clothes, flying kites, playing cards and playing on the swings and ferris wheels are some of the various customs indulged by kids and adults alike during this period.
Though Dashain is a very traditional Hindu festival, it is also observed by many Buddhists and people of other faiths. In comparative terms, Dashain festival is as significant to Nepalese as Christmas is to Westerners.
In 2017, Dashain starts from 21st September which is the Ghatasthapana day and lasts till 5th October, the Kojagrat Purnima day. This period is also the peak tourist season, with clear skies and mild temperatures. By planning your trip to Nepal early, you can experience the great Nepalese culture and festivities with the local population.