With the arrival of autumn comes the most awaited time of the year for all Nepalis: Dashain. It’s one of the main festivals of Nepal and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. One of our friends in Nepal, Sim, takes us through the traditions during this magical time of year.
the start of a magical time
“Ghatasthapana” marks the beginning in each household by planting Jamara, a mix of seeds and grains, which will be offered as a blessing on the tenth day. On that day, Maha Vijaya Dashami, the Nepalese also put red tika on their foreheads. The red color signifies “Shakti” (strength) as well as good health, peace, and prosperity.
a time for family reunions
Even though most communities and ethnicities have different rituals, the Dashain festival brings people together. It’s a celebration of togetherness and abundant joy. Like all Nepali people, our artisans head home to their villages to be with their family and loved ones. Another exciting part of Dashain is exchanging gifts and wearing new outfits. Younger relatives receive blessings such as tika, Jamara and Dakshina (money) from the parents or the elders of the family.
good food, great fun
The Nepali cuisine with lots of delicacies is a highlight during get-to-gathers. Between meals there’s time for flying kites; one of the oldest and famous activities during Dashain. Also, you can spot both young and old swinging on tall bamboo swings that have been installed in open spaces. According to a famous saying you should leave the ground at least once during Dashain as it will pave your way to heaven after life. Isn’t that a beautiful thought?
a birthday with rituals
Dashain has always been a special time for me as my birthday, according to the Vedic date of the lunisolar calendar, is on the very day of Maha Vijaya Dashami. So, it always means more gifts and more Dakshina. But more importantly, it also means taking a moment to focus on my family and follow religious rituals (Surprisingly, I have to relearn them each Dashain!). And I cook a lot with my mother, especially Newari delicacies, which we mostly enjoy ourselves.
“For me, the best memory of Dashain is going to temple early in the morning and eating prasad while playing swing. The most fun thing was the 15 days holiday from school.” - Bhavani, Artisans Workshop.