What does Dashain festival symbolize? This is one of the most exciting and colourful questions that many Nepalis ask during the fall season. It is a 10-day-long national festival celebrated in Nepal with great enthusiasm. Dashain is the symbol of victory over evil, the triumph of right over wrong, the significance of good deeds, and the universal message of peace and harmony.
Dashain is an integral part of Nepalese culture and is celebrated in various parts of the country with different customs and traditions. During this time, families come together and celebrate this joyous occasion by sharing gifts, feasting and worshipping goddess Durga. It is an important event in the Nepali calendar and is celebrated with grandeur and passion. Dashain, therefore, symbolizes the importance of family, culture, traditions and spirituality.
Overall, Dashain festival symbolizes the essence of Nepalese lifestyle, culture, and beliefs. It is a time when people express gratitude to their loved ones and seek blessings from the divine goddess. The festival revolves around the stories of victory and the triumph of good over evil, which serves as a reminder of the need to live a virtuous life. Being a part of such a festival brings people together and strengthens the bond of kinship. The significance of this festival in Nepali culture, therefore, can’t be understated, as it represents the unity of the Nepali people and their rich heritage.
Historical significance of Dashain festival
As one of the biggest and most important festivals in Nepal, Dashain holds a significant place in the country’s history and culture. The festival is celebrated across Nepal and by Nepalese communities living in neighboring countries. It is a ten-day long festival that marks the victory of good over evil.
The history of Dashain dates back to the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana. The story goes that Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, defeated the demon king Ravana after a ten-day long battle, which included a victory over Ravana’s sister, Surpanakha. This victory is celebrated during the festival of Dashain.
- During the festival, Nepalese people offer sacrifices of animals to Goddess Durga, who is believed to have fought and defeated the demon Mahisasura. The sacrifices represent the defeat of evil and the triumph of good.
- The first nine days of the festival are dedicated to different forms of Goddess Durga, and the tenth day is called Vijaya Dashami, which is celebrated by exchanging blessings and offerings of tika and jamara.
- Historically, Dashain has also been a time for kings to gather their armies and prepare for battle, as it signifies the change of season from monsoon to winter and the beginning of important events such as trade negotiations and communal gatherings.
The festival of Dashain has evolved throughout history, but its significance as a time of renewal, victory, and good over evil has remained constant.
Overall, the historical significance of Dashain festival highlights the rich cultural heritage of Nepal and the important role that religion and tradition play in the daily lives of Nepalese people.
Religious rituals during Dashain festival
The Dashain festival is the biggest and most auspicious festival celebrated by Hindus in Nepal and across the world. This festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil whereby people celebrate the triumph of Lord Ram over the demon Ravana. It is also an agricultural festival that marks the end of the monsoon season and the beginning of the harvest season.
- Worship of the Goddess Durga: During the festival, people worship the Goddess Durga, who is considered the embodiment of Shakti, the feminine divine power. It is believed that Durga destroyed the demon Mahishasura, who was causing chaos and destruction on earth, thereby restoring peace and order.
- Animal sacrifice: Another ritual that is associated with Dashain is the sacrifice of animals, especially goats and buffaloes. This practice is done as a symbolic offering to the goddess Durga to appease her and bring good fortune to the worshipers.
- Tika ceremony: On the tenth day of the festival (Dashami), family members gather together to receive Tika, which is a mixture of rice, vermillion, and yogurt applied by elders to the forehead as a blessing. It symbolizes the renewal of bonds between family members and friends.
The following table shows the different days of Dashain and the rituals associated with them:
|Ghatasthapana||Planting of Jamara and Kalash|
|Fulpati||Reception of flowers and plants from different parts of Nepal|
|Maha Ashtami||Worship of goddess Durga and animal sacrifice|
|Maha Navami||Worship of goddess Durga and special prayers for protection|
|Dasami||Tika ceremony and family gatherings|
|Dashami+1 to Dashami+4(tihar)||Decoration of homes with lights and worship of different deities|
Dashain festival is an important part of Nepali culture and tradition. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor, and the religious rituals associated with it provide a platform for Nepali people to connect with their cultural roots.
Importance of Tika ceremony during Dashain festival
One of the most important aspects of the Dashain festival is the Tika ceremony. This is when elders in the family apply a Tika – a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermillion – to the foreheads of their younger relatives as a sign of love, respect, and blessings. The Tika ceremony is a symbol of unity, family bonding, and spiritual renewal.
- During the Tika ceremony, the younger members of the family receive blessings from the elders, who wish them good health, success, and happiness.
- The Tika ceremony is also a time when relatives who may not have seen each other for a long time come together to reconnect, share stories, and strengthen their bonds.
- The Tika ceremony is also an occasion for spiritual renewal. It is believed that the Tika, which is applied to the “third eye”, helps to awaken spiritual consciousness and promote inner peace and harmony.
Participating in the Tika ceremony is considered a privilege and a source of pride for many Nepalese. The ceremony underscores the importance of family values, respect for elders, and the promotion of unity and harmony within the community.
It is important to note that the Tika ceremony is not just limited to Hindu families but is celebrated by people of all faiths in Nepal. The festival reflects the country’s cultural diversity and serves as a unifying force that brings together people from different backgrounds and traditions.
|Symbolism of the Tika||Meaning|
|Rice||Prosperity and abundance|
|Yogurt||Physical and mental strength|
|Vermillion||The color of blood and life, represents the energy and vitality of life|
The Tika ceremony is a special time of the year that reinforces the idea of family unity and spiritual renewal. It is a time when people put their differences aside and gather together to celebrate their shared values and traditions.
Traditional feast and food during Dashain festival
Dashain festival is one of the most important and largest Hindu festivals in Nepal, celebrated with great gusto and enthusiasm. During the festival, people from all over the country come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The festival lasts for 15 days and is celebrated with a lot of religious and cultural rituals that involve family gatherings, feasting, and exchanging of gifts.
Feasting during Dashain festival is an important aspect of the celebrations. It is a time when families come together to share traditional dishes that are prepared with great care and love. Some of the traditional dishes that are prepared during Dashain festival include:
- Mutton curry: Mutton curry is one of the most popular dishes that are prepared during Dashain festival. It is a spicy and flavourful dish that is made using tender mutton pieces that are slow-cooked with a blend of spices and herbs. It is usually served with rice or roti.
- Sekuwa: Sekuwa is a popular grilled meat dish that is prepared by marinating the meat in a blend of spices and herbs and then grilling it over charcoal. It is a delicious and flavourful dish that is usually served as an appetizer.
- Sel roti: Sel roti is a sweet and crispy Nepalese bread that is made using rice flour, sugar, and water. It is a popular snack that is usually served during Dashain festival.
One of the highlights of Dashain festival is the tradition of receiving and giving tika and jamara. During the festival, elders in the family offer tika (a mixture of vermillion, rice, and yoghurt) and jamara (barley seeds that are grown in a small tray) to the younger members of the family as blessings for good health, wealth, and prosperity. Along with tika and jamara, elders also offer traditional sweets and fruits as a symbol of love and affection.
|Rasgulla||A syrupy dessert made from chhena (cottage cheese)|
|Barfi||A dense, sweet, and creamy dessert made from condensed milk, sugar, and flavourings like cardamom, saffron, and rose petals|
|Ladoo||A sweet ball-shaped dessert that is made using flour, sugar, and ghee|
Dashain festival is a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate the bounty of nature and the triumph of good over evil. It is a time when traditions, culture, and food play an important role in bringing people closer to one another and in strengthening family ties.
Role of family and community during Dashain festival
The Dashain festival is an important celebration that takes place among Nepali people. This ancient Hindu festival unites families and communities as they come together to celebrate their heritage and culture. During this festival, families and communities engage in various activities that strengthen their bonds and reflect the significance of this important celebration. Here are some ways in which family and community play a vital role during Dashain festival:
- Sharing food: Dashain is a time when families come together to share traditional meals, which are often prepared using a variety of native herbs and spices. These meals are an important part of this festival, as they symbolize family unity and community spirit. During this time, people also exchange sweets and other delicacies, which act as a token of affection and goodwill.
- Playing games: Dashain is a time of fun and games, as people engage in a variety of recreational activities. The festival provides an opportunity for families and communities to bond over games like swings, ping pong, and other traditional activities. These games create a sense of camaraderie and strengthen the social fabric of the community.
- Celebrating together: Dashain is a communal celebration that reflects the importance of coming together to celebrate life’s milestones. During this festival, families and friends exchange gifts and blessings, which are a symbol of love and gratitude. As people sit down to enjoy the festivities, they express thanks for their blessings and reaffirm their commitment to community and family.
The Table below shows a few Dashain rituals and their significance:
|Ghatasthapana||The establishment of Kalasha (pots) representing the goddess Durga.|
|Nawaratri (9th day)||This day is celebrated as the victory of goddess Durga over an evil demon. It is also the day when elderly women exchange tika and blessings with younger ones.|
|Ashtami (8th day)||This is considered the peak of the festival, and animals like goats, buffaloes, and chickens are sacrificed to honor the goddess Durga.|
|Tika||The day when elders, parents, and siblings apply tika (a mixture of rice, curd, and vermillion powder) on the forehead of younger family members as a sign of love, protection, and blessings for the upcoming year.|
|Bijaya Dashami||The final day of the festival when people visit their relatives and friends to exchange greetings, blessings, and feast with various kinds of delicious food.|
Overall, the Dashain festival is a time when family and community play an integral part in maintaining cultural traditions and celebrating the spirit of togetherness. As people come together to celebrate, they reinforce their bonds and cherish the relationships that make their lives meaningful.
Dashain festival’s impact on tourism in Nepal
Dashain festival, also known as Bijaya Dashami, is one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in Nepal. It is a 15-day long festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Every year, this festival attracts a significant number of tourists from all over the world, making it one of the major tourist attractions in Nepal.
- Increased tourism: During Dashain, Nepal receives thousands of tourists who come to witness the celebration and experience the Nepalese culture. The tourism industry experiences a boost during this time, as many travelers plan their trip to coincide with the festival.
- Cultural experience: Dashain is an excellent time for tourists to experience the unique Nepalese culture. They get a chance to witness the colorful celebrations, taste the delicious traditional food, and participate in various cultural activities.
- Boost to local economy: The influx of tourists during Dashain helps the local economy as it generates employment opportunities and increases revenue for local businesses.
The impact of Dashain festival on tourism in Nepal can be understood by looking at the following table, which shows the number of tourists visiting Nepal during the festival in recent years:
|Year||Number of Tourists|
The above statistics clearly demonstrate that the number of tourists visiting Nepal during Dashain has been increasing steadily over the years. It is evident that the festival has a huge impact on tourism in Nepal, and the government and tourism industry actively promote and market the festival to attract more tourists.
Evolution of Dashain festival over the years
The Dashain festival is one of the most important festivals in Nepal and is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and devotion. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Over the years, the festival has evolved and changed, adapting to the changes in society and culture. Here are some of the key changes that have taken place:
- Religious Shift: The Dashain festival has its roots in Hindu mythology, which represents a victory of the gods over demons. However, over the years, the festival has become increasingly secular, and people from all religions and cultures in Nepal celebrate it with equal fervor.
- Changes in Rituals and Customs: The festival has also undergone changes in its rituals and customs. In the past, animal sacrifices were an essential part of the festival. But today, it has become less common due to the influence of animal rights and changing attitudes towards animal sacrifices.
- Modern-Day Celebrations: With rapid urbanization and globalization, Dashain celebrations have also become more modernized. Nowadays, people exchange greeting cards, gifts, and sweets as part of their celebration. They also use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to wish their loved ones.
- Length of Celebration: The length and duration of the Dashain festival have also varied over the years. In the past, it was celebrated for around 15 days, but today, it is usually celebrated for only 10 days, which includes the day of Vijayadashami which marks the end of the festival.
- Regional Variations: The festival’s celebration also varies regionally in Nepal, depending on local customs and traditions. For example, in the Kathmandu Valley, the Newari community celebrates Dashain as “Mohani” with different customs and traditions.
- Impact of Technology: Technology has also had an impact on the festival’s celebrations. Many people who live abroad are now able to connect virtually with their loved ones during the festival through video calls and voice chats.
- Importance of Dashain: Despite all these changes, the importance of the Dashain festival remains unchanged. It is a time to come together with family and friends, celebrate good over evil, and seek blessings for a prosperous future.
The Dashain festival has come a long way over the years, but it remains a significant part of Nepal’s cultural heritage and tradition.
Folklore and Mythology Associated with Dashain Festival
Dashain, the biggest festival of Nepal, is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. It is a time of great joy and togetherness as families come together to feast, take part in various rituals and exchange gifts. The festival is steeped in tradition and folklore, which has been passed down from generation to generation.
One of the most significant aspects of the Dashain festival is the number 8. In Hindu mythology, numbers have great significance, and 8 is considered to be an auspicious number. Here’s what the number 8 represents in Dashain folklore:
- There are 8 different manifestations of the goddess Durga, each of which represents a different facet of womanhood and strength. In Nepal, these manifestations are worshipped during the festival.
- It is believed that the demon Mahishasura had 8 brothers, all of whom were killed by the goddess Durga before she finally defeated Mahishasura.
- The Dashain festival lasts for 8 days, with each day representing a different aspect of the goddess Durga’s victory over Mahishasura.
- The Tika, the red vermilion paste that is applied to the forehead during the festival, is made up of 8 different ingredients. These ingredients are believed to have purifying properties and are said to remove all negative energy.
- It is customary for families to exchange 8 different kinds of foods during the festival. These foods are believed to symbolize prosperity and good fortune.
- The number 8 is also significant in astrology, where it represents power, wealth, and good luck.
All of these beliefs and customs surrounding the number 8 make it an essential element of the Dashain festival. It is yet another reminder of the rich folklore and mythology that make this festival so unique.
As we celebrate Dashain, let us cherish these traditions and pass them down to the next generation, ensuring their continuity for years to come.
|Manifestations of the Goddess Durga|
The 8 manifestations of the goddess Durga worshipped during the Dashain festival.
Dashain Festival Celebrations in Different Parts of Nepal
Dashain, also known as Vijaya Dashami, is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal. It is celebrated for 15 days in the months of September and October, with the main day falling on the 10th day. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is celebrated with grandeur and joy. Let us look at how Dashain is celebrated in different parts of Nepal.
The Significance of the Number 9 in Dashain Festival
The number 9 holds great significance in the Dashain festival as it is celebrated for nine days. The nine days are dedicated to the worship of nine different forms of Goddess Durga, the Hindu goddess of power and strength. Each day is associated with a specific form of the goddess and has its unique importance.
- Day 1: Ghatasthapana
- Day 2: Saptami
- Day 3: Fulpati
- Day 4: Maha Ashtami
- Day 5: Maha Navami
- Day 6: Vijaya Dashami
- Day 7-9: Tika
The ninth day, also known as Mahanavami, is considered the most important day of the festival. It is believed that on this day, the Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. People celebrate this day by visiting temples, offering puja to Goddess Durga, and exchanging blessings with friends and family.
The last three days of the festival are called Tika and involve the exchange of blessings and red tikka marks on the forehead. Elders put these marks on the younger members of their families, symbolizing the bond of love and protection. The festival ends on the fifteenth day with the Kojagrat Purnima, where people stay up all night under the open sky, praying for good health and prosperity.
Dashain Celebrations Across Nepal
Dashain is celebrated with great enthusiasm across Nepal, and each region has its unique way of marking the festival. In the Kathmandu valley, people fly kites, feast on traditional food, and participate in the Kumari Jatra, where young girls dressed as the goddess Kumari are paraded around the city.
In the Terai region, people celebrate the festival by planting Jamara, a sacred plant that symbolizes good luck and prosperity, and decorating their houses with colorful rangolis. In the hilly regions, people organize archery competitions and enjoy the folk music and dances performed during the festival.
|Kathmandu Valley||Flying kites, Kumari Jatra, traditional feasts|
|Terai Region||Planting Jamara, decorating houses with rangolis|
|Hilly Regions||Archery competitions, folk music and dances|
Regardless of the region, Dashain is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm in Nepal. The festival brings families and communities together, reinforcing the importance of love, unity, and peace.
Role of Music and Dance during Dashain Festival
Music and dance are an integral part of the Dashain festival, symbolizing the joy and festive spirit of the Nepalese people. Music and dance performances are held in various parts of the country, ranging from villages to cities, and from temples to homes. The following are the different roles of music and dance during Dashain:
- Cultural Preservation: Dashain festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, and music and dance are used to retell the ancestral myths and cultural stories. Music and dance performances help to preserve the Nepalese culture and traditions, ensuring that future generations will get to know their history.
- Religious Significance: The Dashain festival is a time to worship various Hindu deities, such as Durga and Kali, who are believed to help people overcome obstacles and fears. Music and dance performances are considered as a form of communication with the gods, expressing gratitude, and seeking blessings.
- Entertainment: The Dashain festival is a time to rejoice and have fun with family and friends. Music and dance performances are a major source of entertainment during the festival. People come together to watch the performances, sing and dance to traditional folk tunes. It’s a time for socializing and having a good time with loved ones.
In addition to these roles, the Dashain festival also features a variety of musical instruments, such as the madal, dhol, and panchai baja. These instruments are used to create rhythmic and melodious tunes, which accompany the dance performances.
|Madal||A traditional Nepali percussion instrument, similar to a drum. It has a unique sound and is used in various dance performances.|
|Dhol||A double-headed drum, common in Indian and Nepali music. It has a deep sound and is used in both religious and folk music genres.|
|Panchai Baja||A traditional Nepalese ensemble of five musical instruments that includes Jhyali (cymbals), Dholak (drum), Narsingha (long horn), Shehnai (flute), and Damphu (drum). It is a popular musical ensemble and is often used in various religious ceremonies and festivals.|
In conclusion, music and dance play a crucial role in the Dashain festival, reflecting the cultural and religious identity of the Nepalese people. Music and dance performances are unique and diverse, mirroring the country’s rich heritage and history. It’s a time for celebration, reflection, and togetherness.
FAQs about What Does Dashain Festival Symbolize
1. What is Dashain Festival?
Dashain is the biggest and most important festival in Nepal, celebrated by Nepalese people all around the world. It is a 15-day long festival that takes place in September or October and is filled with merrymaking, feasting and religious ceremonies.
2. What does the festival symbolize?
The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of life over death. It is a celebration of the goddess Durga’s triumph over the demon Mahishasur, and Lord Ram’s victory over the evil Ravana.
3. How is Dashain celebrated?
Dashain is celebrated by cleaning and decorating homes, buying new clothes, worshiping divine goddesses and performing rituals. People also visit their relatives and friends, play games like “Vijayadashami” and eat delicious food such as meat and sweets.
4. How long does Dashain last?
Dashain lasts for 15 days, beginning from Ghatasthapana and concluding on Kojagrat Purnima.
5. What are the main components of Dashain?
The main components of Dashain are cleaning and decorating homes, worshiping goddesses, performing rituals, playing games and sports, exchanging gifts and sweets, and spending time with family and friends.
6. Why is Dashain important to the Nepalese people?
Dashain is important to the Nepalese people because it brings them together and strengthens family and community bonds. It is a time of reunion and forgiveness, a time to put aside differences and to embrace love, compassion, and goodwill.
7. How can you celebrate Dashain if you are not Nepalese?
You can celebrate Dashain by learning about and respecting the culture and traditions of Nepal. If you have Nepalese friends or colleagues, you can join them to celebrate the festival, learn the rituals, and taste authentic Nepalese cuisine.
Closing Thoughts: Celebrating the Triumph of Good over Evil
Thank you for reading about what Dashain Festival symbolizes. Dashain is a festival that reinforces the values of love, forgiveness, and kindness. It is a time of reflection and happiness, of accepting and celebrating diversity, and of cherishing the simple pleasures of life. We hope that you continue to enjoy and celebrate the festival with your family, friends, and loved ones. See you again soon!