September 21, 2017
Finally, the most-awaited and longest annual festival of Nepal Dashain has arrived, marking the start of Nepal’s biggest festival season.
Beginning today, the people of Nepal will be celebrating auspicious Navaratri Parba or the nine-night festival of Bada Dashain.
Marking the beginning of Navaratri, devotees today worship Goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati at the Dashain Ghar.
During Navaratri, thousands of devotees visit various shrines of Goddess Durga including Shobha Bhagawati, Naxal Bhagawati, Guheswori, Maitidevi, Bhadrakali, Sankata, among others across the country.
Ghatasthapana, Fulpati, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nawami and Vijayadashami form the key events of nine-night Navaratri and for the entire festival.
Ghatasthapana, which falls on Aswin Shukla Pratipada (the first day of the bright half of the lunar calendar in the month of Aswin), marks the beginning of the Dashain festival.
As part of this ritual, devotees make a holy pot called Kalash, which will last until the end and is key to the entire festival.
On this day, Diyo, Kalash and Lord Ganesh are worshipped as per the Vedic tradition. Apart from that, maize and barley seeds are also sown in a jar with soil and cow dung for successful germination of Jamara (barley sprouts). The auspicious Ghatasthapana began today at 9:41 AM.
On the Fulpati day, which falls on seventh day of the festival (this year on Sep 27, 2017), the Kalash, which is filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara, sugar cane and tied with red cloth, is carried by Brahmans on a decorated palanquin under a gold-tipped and embroidered umbrella.
The worship of Goddess Durga begins from the first day of the festival and turns intense on the Maha Ashtami day, wherein devotees offer sacrifices to Goddess Durga and Kali. The night of this day is called ‘Kal Ratri’, the dark night. This year Maha Ashtami is celebrated on September 28, 2017.
Dashain is symbolized by the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasura. After nine days of fierce battle (representing Navaratri) with the demon, the Goddess finally kills Mahisasura on the Maha Nawami day. So, on this day, devotees offer slaughtered buffaloes as a sacrifice to the Goddess in the honor of her victory. Maha Nawami, this year, falls on September 29, 2017.
Vijaya Dashami is the last major event of Dashain that continues for four consecutive days including the festival ending. This celebration marks the victory of good (Goddess Durga) over evil (demon).
As a symbolism of nine-day intense battle between the Goddess and demon Mahisasura, devotees celebrate nine forms of Goddess on all the nine days of Navaratri.
The festival is also celebrated in remembrance of Lord Rama’s grand victory over demon-king Raavana. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight and ends on the Full Moon Day.
Preparations Planned Big
The 15-long Dashain is celebrated grandly across the country every year and a large number of Nepalese travel home during the festival time.
According to the transport department estimates, around 2-3 million people are expected to leave the Kathmandu Valley for the festival. The Government has also planned high big for the celebrations and announced Dashain receptions across the constituencies.
As every year, the demand for goats is also going high this time. The Nepal Food Corporation has already allotted Rs 332 million budget for the purchase of around 4,000 goats for the festival.
Indian imports are likely to meet 90% of the goat demand in the Valley and Tibet is also exporting 9,000 mountain goats. Mustang district is all set to supply at least 25,000 sheep and mountain goats.