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Ghatasthapana- beginning of Bada Dashain festival

durga-maa-dashain

The most anticipated Bada Dashain starts with Ghatasthapana and lasts for 15 days. This year Ghatasthapana is on 25th September 2014. This is celebrated as one of the most biggest festivals in Nepal. All the Hindus along with the Newar Buddhist celebrate Dashain on their own ways. In Dashain, the most important days are 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th day. Bada Dashain mainly commemorates the victory of the good over evil or Goddess over Demons.

Countless prayers, sacrifices and offerings are made for the goddess Durga and all her manifestations. On this occasion, Nepalese all over the country and even outside of the country come together and celebrate Dashain. So its also time for everyone to visit their near and dear ones and reunite all the family members. In this festival, the younger ones gets blessings, tika, jamara and dakshina (money gave by elders as blessings) from the elder ones in the family.

Ghatasthapana (Day 1):

Bada Dashain starts with Gathasthapana, the first day of the festival. In this day the elder women in the family by performing pure rituals without having anything, plants “Jamara”, a holy plant in the Praying room (Puja Kotha). This is planted on the layers of sand with the seeds of grain like wheat and barley. And everyday till the Tika day, she offers necessary holy water and puja. This shouldn’t be touched by anybody else.

Fulpati (Day 7):

Next important day is the 7th day which is called “Fulpati”. On this day, the Royal Kalash, jamara, banana stalks and sugar cane from the ancestral palace of Gorkha are wrapped in a red cloth placed inside a decorated palanquin that will be carried by the priests of the royal ancestral palace. They walk more than 100 miles over three days and are led by a military platoon of the royal priest. Government officials in formal attire line up in the street to welcome the jamara. Ceremonies with artillery fires take place on the Tundikhel ground and the event is graced by the President.

Maha Aasthami (Day 8):

The 8th day of the Dashain festival is known as Maha Asthami. Animals are sacrificed on this day to appease the blood-thirsty goddess Kali, which is a manifestation of Durga, as well as Durga herself. Only five kinds of animals are eligible for slaughter and they are goats, buffaloes, pigs, chickens and ducks. The night of this day is aptly called Kal Ratri (Black Night). After the offering of the blood, the meat is taken home as prasad or food that has been blessed with divinity. The food is cooked and offered to gods, then shared within the family. This culture is mostly discouraged now-a-days in the support of animal rights. So many slaughters has been decreased as compared to the earlier years. People in Newar family enjoy “Khuche bhey”, a special feast.

Maha Navami (Day 9):

The 9th day of the Dashain festival is known as Maha Navami. On this day, animals are sacrificed for the goddess Durga in exchange for her protection for motor vehicles and their occupants. Factories, tools, machineries and other things we make a living from using are worshipped on this day. Others who may not want to kill animals may break a coconut or hen’s egg. Lord Vishwakarma, god of craftsmen and architects, is worshipped as well. The Taleju Temple at Durbar Square, which remains closed throughout the year, is opened to the general public on this day.

Vijaya Dashami (Day 10):tika-dashain

The 10th day of the Dashain festival is known as Vijaya Dashami. It is the day when Goddess Durga conquer victory over the Demons. In this day, the Jamara which was planted on the 1st day is chopped and make a small bundles. The elder member of the family usually head of the family offer this Jamara and tika (red powder mixed with rice and curd) along with blessings and daksina. Tika is put on the forehead and jamara on the head, usually boys keep it behind the ears and girls clip it on their hair.

Similarly, the process of getting tika from all the other relatives goes on till the Khojagrata Purnima, Day 15.

Khojagrata Purnima (Day 15):

The 15th day of the Dashain festival is known as Khojagrata Purnima with Kojagrata meaning “who is awake”. It is believed that Laxmi, Goddess of Wealth, descends to Earth and showers anyone who is awake all night with good fortune and prosperity. As a result, many spend nights playing cards and doing other activities. The festival concludes when the remaining jamara are disposed of by bringing them to the river.

During the Dashain festival, people enjoy by flying kites, playing cards and linge ping (a long swing).

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