Photographers: Abishesh Joshi, Balkrishna Lachhimasyu, Dhilung Kirat, Dijup Tuladhar, Manish Shakya, Rina Maharjan and Sabeen Shrestha
Date: 2008/10/05 – 2008/10/11
Report Compiled by: Luna Gurung
Creative Support: DijupT/RinaM
” दशौं आयो खाऊँला पिऊँला चङ्गा उडाउँला पिङ्ग खेलौंला ”
Dashain, brings about the reunion of distant and nearby relatives occur in every household. The market is filled with shoppers seeking new clothing, gifts, luxuries and enormous supplies of temple offering for the gods, as well as foodstuffs for the family feasting. Thousands of sheep, goats, ducks, chicken and water buffalo are prepared for the great slaughter. Anywhere you go the festive mood of ‘Vijaya Dashami’ is found.
The first nine days of Dashain are called Nawa Ratri when tantric rites are conducted. In Nepal the life force is embodied in the divine energy and power of the female, depicted as goddess Durga in her many forms. All goddess who emanated from goddess Durga are known as devis, each with different aspects and powers. During these nine days people pay their homage to the goddess.
The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana, which literally means pot establishing. On this day the kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolizing goddess is placed in the prayer room. The kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cow dung on to which seeds are sown. The room where the kalash is established is called ‘Dashain Ghar‘. The kalash and the sand are sprinkled with holy water everyday and it is shielded from direct sunlight. By the tenth day, the seed will have grown to five or six inches long yellow grass. The sacred yellow grass is called ‘Jamara‘. It is bestowed by the elders atop the heads of those younger to them during the last five days when tika is put on.
As days passes by regular rituals are observed till the seventh day. The seventh day is called ‘Fulpati‘.
In fulpati, the royal kalash filled with holy water, banana stalks, jamara and sugar cane tied with red cloth is carried by Brahmans on a decorated palanquin under a gold tipped and embroidered umbrella. The government officials also join the fulpati parade. With this the Dashain feasting starts.
The eighth day is called the Maha Asthami: The fervour of worship and sacrifice to Durga and Kali increases. On this day many orthodox Hindus will be fasting. The night of the eighth day is called ‘Kal Ratri‘, the dark night. While the puja is being carried out great feasts are held in the homes of common people.
The ninth day is called Nawami: Animals mostly black buffaloes are slaughtered to honour Durga the goddess of victory and might and to seek her blessing. On this very day the god Vishwa Karma, the God of creativity is also worshiped. All factories, vehicles, any machinery instruments and anything from which we make a living are worshiped.
The tenth day is the Dashami: On this day we take tika and jamara from our elders and receive their blessing. This function continues for four days after which Dashain ends on the full moon day, the fifteenth day. The full moon day is also called ‘Kojagrata’ meaning ‘who is awake’.
After Dashain everyone settles back to normal. After receiving the blessing of goddess Durga, people are ready to work and acquire virtue, power and wealth. Dashain thus is not only the longest festival but also the most anticipated one among all the festivals of Nepal.
Vijaya Dashami 2065 was observed as vivacious and joyous festivity throughout “Naya Nepal” this year. Our EU volunteers and contributors went extra miles to capture various moments of this festive season. We have an exclusive report along with photographs taken inside and outside of Kathmandu valley.