Happy Vijaya Dashami
During the month of Kartik (late September and early October), Nepalese people indulge in biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in Nepali annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country and the world. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight-ending on the day of the full moon. Through out of the country Nepal and the world the goddess Durga in all her manifestations are worshiped with innumerable pujas, abundant offerings.
Dashain commemorates a great victory of goods over evil, and triumph of truth over evil. One of the victory stories told is the Ramayan, where the lord Ram after a big struggle triumphed over Ravana, the fiendish king of demons. It is said that lord Ram was successful in the battle only when goddess Durga was evoked. The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by goddess Durga. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur and lord Ram against Ravana. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur and Ravana were both killed and the last five days symbolize the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great rejoice, and goddess Durga is worshiped throughout the kingdom as the divine mother goddess.
In preparation for Dashain every home is cleansed and beautifully decorated, painted as an invitation to the mother goddess, so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune. During this time 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.
The first nine days of Dashain are called Nava 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. In most mother goddess temples the deity is represented simply as a sacred Kalash, a carved water jug. During these nine days people pay their homage to the goddess. Mother goddess is the source of life and everything.
The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana, which literally means pot establishing. On this day the Kalash, (holy water vessel) symbolizing goddess Durga often with her image embossed on the side is placed in the prayer room. The Kalash is filled with holy water and covered with cowdung on to which seeds are sown. A small rectangular sand block is made and the Kalash is put in the center. The surrounding bed of sand is also seeded with grains. The Ghatasthapana ritual is performed at a certain auspicious moment determined by the astrologers. At that particular moment the priest intones a welcome, requesting goddess Durga to bless the vessel with her presence.
The room where the Kalash is established is called ‘Dashain Ghar’. A household member worships the Kalash everyday once in the morning and then in the evening. The Kalash and the sand are sprinkled with holy water everyday and it is shielded from direct sunlight. By thetenth day, the seed will have grown to five or six inches long yellow grass. The sacred yellowgrass is called ‘Jamara’. It is bestowed by the elders atop the heads of those younger to them during the last five days of this festival. Jamara is taken as a token of Goddess Durga as well as the elders blessing.
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 on a decorated palanquin.
The eighth day is called the Maha Asthami. On this day, people fast and perform Pujas. While the puja is being carried out great feasts are held in the homes of common people where large amount of meat are consumed.
The ninth day is called Nawami: Temples of mother goddess are filled with people from dawn till dusk. 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. We also give sacrifices to all moving machinery like cars, airplanes, trucks, etc. to get the blessing from goddess Durga for protection for vehicles and their occupants against accidents during the year. The entire day is colorful.
The tenth day is the Dashami: On this day we take Tika and Jamara from our elders and receive their blessings. We visit our elders in their home and get Tika from them while our younger ones come to our home to receive blessing from us. The importance of Dashain also lies in the fact that on this day family members from far off and distant relatives come for a visit as well as to receive Tika from the head of the family. This function continues for four days. After four days of rushing around and meeting your relatives Dashain ends on the full moon day, the fifteenth day. In the last day people stay at home and rest. The full moon day is also called ‘Kojagrata’ meaning ‘who is awake’. The Hindu goddess of wealth Laxmi is worshipped. On this day the goddess Laxmi is given an invitation to visit each and everyone.
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. Although we are away from Nepal we have always respected and followed the culture in veryhappy manner so we COSL would like to wish Happy Vijaya Dashami to all Nepali people and those who celebrate throughout world and wish them happiness and good fortune in