Dashain/ Vijaya Dashami/ Bijaya Dashami/ Dussehra/ Dussera/ Dashara/ Dasahara is the festival of happiness and joy. It is one of the oldest and longest festivals which is celebrated with equal joy that it used to be hundreds of years ago. Dashain is celebrated by Hindus all over the world and especially in Nepal and India. This festival marks the victory of Divine over Devil. It is celebrated according to Hindu culture and tradition. In India, Dashain is also known as ‘Navaratri’ which means ‘the new night’. Dashain is such a festival which brings relatives together to spend a quality time full of pleasure and happiness. It makes strong bonding between family, friends, relatives and neighbors. It marks the strong communication and harmony among people.
During this religious festival, the environment and nature become cool and calm. This festival is celebrated every year during October (usually Ashoj or Kartik of Nepali lunar calendar). During Dashain, all the workstations and schools remain closed as public holiday in Nepal. The holiday usually starts from Fulpaati to Kojaagrat Purnima. Children are found spending time in their maternal uncle’s home during this festival while adults are busy making arrangements for celebration of the fest in Nepal. Exchanging the new notes for old ones is common every year during Dashain and that is why banks are full of folks.
This festival lasts for 15 days. The first day of Dashain is known as ‘Ghatasthapana” and in this day, people plant ‘Jamara’ (Seeds of Wheat, Maize and Barley). The seventh day is known as ‘Fulpaati’ and in this day, flowers of different kinds are collected and kept inside the worshipping room or different temples. People also worship weapons, tools and equipment in this day. The eightth day is known as Maha Astami and the ninth day is called ‘Maha Navami’.
In some cases, while some people are extravagant and they spend more than necessary amount of money in decoration of their house, renovation, consumption, gambling etc, and there are even some people who want to imitate this which worsens their economic condition. That is why, Dashain becomes full of pleasure for some whereas it becomes a festival of sadness and sorrows for others. However, it all depends upon how we celebrate it. So, we must be wise enough to observe this long festival of Dashain.
Another thing that is prevalent during Dashain in Nepal is that people in the name of Dashain, offer sacrifices of animals and birds in a heavy quantity to various incarnations of Goddess Durga in various temples. Those temples are painted red, with blood spills of innocent creatures. Inhumanity can be associated with this act and this also pollutes the environment of festivity of temples and their surroundings.
Another bad perception during Dashain is the superstitious belief of people not letting the girls who are in their menstruation period to get the blessings and Tika/ Jamara from their elders and seniors. They don’t even get chance to spend quality time with their siblings, relatives and other members of family. This dark perception might have to be amended for making this festival joyful and equitable.
People don’t celebrate Dashain or any other festival if any one of their family members has demised during or in the near date of the festival (Jutho). Peoples don’t also celebrate festival for some days if any one of the family members has given birth to a new child (Sutak). It can be all right not to celebrate Dashain while people are in the grief of the demise of their beloved ones. However, birth of a new one is an occasion of joy and in my opinion, there mustn’t be any objection in celebrating Dashain or some other festival during Sutak.
To wrap up, Dashain/ Vijaya Dashami/ Bijaya Dashami/ Dussehra/ Dussera/ Dashara/ Dasahara is a festival of blessings and joy and we must follow up this festival with great charm and all good practices to inherit all good aspects of Dashain to the coming generations. We should celebrate it under our financial limitations. All the dark aspects should be amended to make this festival bright and equitable and reflect the good theme of Dashain.