Bada Dashain | Hindus Biggest Festival

Nepal is known for its diversity: diversity in culture’ diversity in religion, diversity in geographical forms, which are the foundation for life and living. All this has contributed to enrich the lifestyle and formation of the society that we are currently living. Festivals are the joyous celebration of historical belief and continuation of tradition. Festivals add delight to our busy life with its own traditional way of celebration. Most of the festivals that we celebrate are based on legends whether it is based on religious belief or on the ideal personalities from history.  And they have been passed long way from our ancestors to us and will definitely be continued by the future generations to come if we can pass on the significance of the festival and its true importance.

Among all the delightful and valuable festivals, Dashain is one of them. It is popularly known as Dashami which is the main day of the 15 days long festival.  This is also the longest festival celebrated in almost in all parts of Nepal.

Dashain is the greatest festival of Nepalese. Like all other festivals, it is based on lunar calendar and falls in the month of Aswin or Kartik. Dashain is the greatest longest Hindu festival. It is observed for 15 days from the new moon day (Ghatasthapana) to the full moon day (Kojagrat Purnima). The delightful, enthusiastic festival is filled with wishes, blessings, and rapture.

The timing of the festival could not be more perfect. The weather is fair with no dust, no rain and the temperature is mild; it is neither hot nor cold. With all the plantation and entry of harvest, farmers are free and ready to celebrate.

Also Known as

Mhwoni (Newari: मोह्नी)

Bada Dashain

Vijaya Dashami

The victory of good over evil


Tales of Dashain | Why do We celebrate Dashain?

The victory of god over demons.

Mythical Beliefs

Dashain symbolizes a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. One of the victory stories told is the Ramayan, where the lord Ram after a big struggle defeated Ravan, the king of demons. There are multiple stories that Lord Ram was successful in the battle only when goddess Durga was evoked. The main celebration is the victory of good over evil.

There is another mythical story that Goddess Durga slain demon Mahisasur, who terrorized the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. The first nine days signify the nine days of ferrous battle between goddess Durga and the demon Mahisasur. The tenth day is the day when Mahisasur was slain and the last five days symbolizes the celebration of the victory with the blessing of the goddess. Dashain is celebrated with great rejoice, and goddess Durga is worshiped throughout Nepal as the divine mother Goddess.

Goddess Durga, symbolizing the power and variations is worshipped and offered sacrifices to ensure the devotees’ progress and prosperity.

Pillars of Dashain what makes it A Festival with great importance.

  1. Family Gathering

A family gathering is the essence of any Nepali festival. Family members who are in a foreign land or is living in distant and close relatives gather to celebrate the festival together in Mul Ghar( Main House, usually the home of the elderly or the senior family member). They follow the traditional rituals and worship based upon their own culture and religion under the supervision of the senior most family member. They work together to clean, decorate, prepare meals and play games.

  1. Worshiping

Since the festival Dashain in itself is based on the religious belief, worshiping is a major activity. “Durga Bhawani” is worshiped after making the home pure following the rituals. After nine days of worship of Durga Bhawani for all the powers she possesses, Dashain is celebrated on the tenth day. And every day has its own significance.

  1. Wishes and Blessings

Dashain Tika starts from senior to junior based on age by an elder to younger ones.

Tihar Tika starts from junior to senior by sisters to brothers

Wishes are exchanged among all those who celebrate Dashain; friends, family, and relatives. As elders put Tika ( a mixture of red color pigment with little curd and rice to put on forehead, it is prepared white in some culture) and Jamara (3 to 6 inch tall yellowish light green plant prepared from wheat, maize and barley plantation on sand) they give us blessings and “Dakshina”(monetary gift).

  1. Holidays

Even though in recent times the no of holidays is deducted by the government to the service sector students have quiet long holidays. In some cases, there is whole one month holiday for Dashain, Tihar, and Chhat for students of colleges. Now for offices, there is the holiday from Phulpati to the next day of Dashain.

  1. Cards

Sometimes cards are considered evil tradition but it is not bad in itself, it the frequency and how you play it. Playing by investing huge sum with the possibility that you might lose or gain the hard earned money gives an invitation to an unhealthy trend in society. But if you play only during Dashain within your family members with a small sum, it’s not a matter of winning or losing; it’s about having fun and celebrating. Being over addicted to anything does not bring any good to us.

  1. Food

Varieties of foods are prepared based on the taste, preference and the tradition of celebration. “Sel Roti” (is a sweet ring-shaped doughnut made from rice flour) is a lure of Dashain. “Mithai” is varieties of homemade sweets.

  1. Kites

Kite flying is a tradition of flying kites as a means of celebration. There is a belief that kites were flown anytime by people in the valley but this created problems to the birds. So, the king, the people of the valley and the birds agreed to fly kites during Dashain when the rainy season has stopped and winter is yet to come. This tradition continues till today as it is fun for people of all age groups, those who are flying kites, catching the cut out kites and even those who are watching. The colorful kites signify our colorful life which is flying high in the sky and has immense power to set our mind free.

Learn more about kites’ tradition in Nepal

  1. Swings( “Rote Ping” and “Linge Ping”

Swings are simple yet fun. There are variations of swings in trend but still, the traditional ones are made out of fresh “bamboo” (tall evergreen perennial flowering plant) and “babbiyo” (a bunch of typical kind of long grass used for making long rope used in traditional swing) are the charm of Dashain. Often known as “Linge Ping” in Nepali culture. The one who is swinging tries to reach the leaves of bamboo and to swing higher. Usually, four fresh bamboos are used for creating pillar (linge) for swing and rope of babbiyo is used. The community together collect the materials or money to build such swing so it’s a group activity as well.

“Rote Ping” is a form of circular swing which was made of wooden structure with hanging seats for kids to sit and two-person would steer the structure by creating circular motion. It is simply a swing that rotates in circular motion and hence the name “Rote Ping”. It was also called “Chamacha” in typical terms. Nowadays it is popularly known as roller coaster and is found in multiple variations.

“Chacha Whiii” a word shouted with excitement while swinging.

“Sararara” a word that expresses the swing in moving smoothly and the one who is swinging is having fun.

  1. Lots of fun games

There were lots of games that were played traditionally yet we are aware of very few of them. Very few of you may know about “Langur Burja” and “Okhar”.

“Langur Burja” a game with multiple dices. Six sides of dice include

  1. Langur   2.Burja         3. Jhandi       4. Mukut       5. Paan          6. Surat

“Okhar” played with walnut by making small borrow on land. Usually odd number of walnuts are taken and the one who can throw an even number of walnuts wins if they score highest.

The festival celebrated for 15 days, has a great value for each day.