The Dashain Festival is one of the most popular religious festivals in Nepal. Dashain symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is the longest and most important festival of the year. The first nine days of Dashain symbolize the battle which took place between the different manifestations of Durga and Mahishasura. The tenth day is the day when Durga finally defeated him. For other Hindus, this festival symbolizes the victory of Ram over Ravan, as told in the Ramayana.
The green paddy field has now changed its color to yellow and is blooming with pride spreading its enchanting aroma signifying the arrival of Dashain. In preparation, the houses are being cleaned, well mopped and beautifully decorated to welcome the mother goddess so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune.
Dashain is not only about following the cultural rituals for Nepalese. It includes social gatherings, going to fairs, visiting relatives, and eating and drinking with families and friends as joyous as it sounds. Dashain is not only a festival, it is a lot more than that. It is an opportunity to know your family better, to get along with them and more than that to forget everything and live in the present. This time is essential to get closer with your family and even more than that to get closer to yourself and know yourself better.
The fifteen days long festival is a kind of freedom. Freedom from the daily hectic schedules, freedom from all kinds of stress and tensions and yes, freedom from the noise. These days are all about enjoying, eating and cherishing each moment passing by and of course collecting lots and lots of memories for a lifetime.
The air is filled with Dashain vibes as our favourite “Malashree Dhun” is played in every nook and cranny of the streets. We cannot stop wondering how rich we are in terms of cultures, traditions, and the festivals. It is the tune that announces the Dashain has arrived.
As Dashain approaches, flying Kite becomes more and more common. It has been a very important part of celebrating Dashain in the country. Playing cards is another way of celebrating Dashain.
Bamboo swings are constructed in many parts of the country as a way of celebration. Dashian swings are called ‘ping’ in Nepali. They present the best of local culture, tradition, community spirit and fun. The swings are normally constructed a week before Ghatasthapana and take apart only after the festival of Tihar which comes soon after Dashain.
Dashain is incomplete without delicious and finger-licking food prepared by mother. Another thing which plays a significant part in Dashain celebration is undoubtedly ‘Selroti’. Sel Roti seems to be a perfect breakfast and lunch too. And the best thing about it is it is liked by all no matter what age group they belong to.
Unfortunately, the current situation is not as ideal for celebrating the festivals as before. With the rising case virus and economic crisis, the Dashain this year is charmless. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic kept all the people around the country in confusion and uncertainty has probably taken over the excitement under the new normal. Social gatherings are a perfect scenario to spread coronavirus at the community level.
Therefore, the health experts and government authorities also have suggested celebrating this Dashain with necessary precautions by adhering to all public health protocols and safety measures and limiting mobility to celebrate festivals.
When the festive mood is created, everyone is happy. When the main day finally arrives, with all joy and excitement; people are ready to receive tika and blessings from the elders. The chanting of mantras along with the money and the blessings are the best part of this day. The children are busy counting the money and comparing with others while elders are busy giving blessings and we have teenagers like us who are either busy clicking pictures or playing cards. Different age groups have different flavors, tastes but this festival binds all together.
May this Dashain bring joy and happiness in everybody’s life. Let’s hope this Dashain brings unity and strength in us to fight off against this grim situation.