Nepal is a country rich in culture and traditions. The varieties of festivals and occasions we celebrate carry their own significance. The main festivals of Nepalese are the Dashain and the Tihar which they choose to celebrate with their close friends, relatives and family.
Dashain “The Greatest Festival of Nepalese”
Among the festivals we celebrate, Dashain being the greatest one for Nepalese is always celebrated with the zeal and in joyful ways. It is celebrated almost for 15 days in the month of October; 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th days are the most important.
The 1st day is welcomed following the rituals of ‘Ghatsthapana’ by worshiping Goddess Durga for 9 consecutive days. The main day is called ‘Dashami’ which is also known as ‘Vijaya Dashami’, the day when Goddess Durga got victory over the demons. On this day the seniors of the family put ‘Tika’ and ‘Jamara’ giving blessings to their younger ones.
The special money given to the younger ones is received as ‘Dakchhina’. This day is like a family reunion where everyone enjoys with the varieties of food, playing cards, flying kites, etc. Dashain not only reunites the families and friends but it also gives the working people time to relax and enjoy with family.
Day 1 – Ghatasthapana: Invocation of Goddess Shailaputri:
Ghatasthapana marks the initiation of Dashain with the establishment of the sacred kalash (water-filled vessel). Goddess Shailaputri, the first manifestation of Goddess Durga, is worshipped on this day. She represents new beginnings and embodies the power of nature. Devotees seek her blessings for a prosperous and fruitful festival.
Day 2 – Dwitiya: Adoration of Goddess Brahmacharini:
On Dwitiya, Goddess Brahmacharini is revered. She symbolizes dedication, purity, and self-discipline. Worshipping her encourages devotees to embrace righteous paths and attain spiritual enlightenment.
Day 3 – Tritiya: Devotion to Goddess Chandraghanta:
Goddess Chandraghanta, worshipped on Tritiya, showcases her bravery and grace. Her half-moon-adorned forehead inspires courage. By honoring her, individuals seek protection from negativities and inner strength to overcome challenges.
Day 4 – Chaturthi: Reverence for Goddess Kushmanda:
Chaturthi is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda, the creator of the universe. She radiates cosmic energy and blesses devotees with vitality and well-being. Her worship signifies the importance of energy and life force.
Day 5 – Panchami: Praise of Goddess Skandamata:
Goddess Skandamata, worshipped on Panchami, is the mother of Lord Skanda (Kartikeya). She represents motherly love and protection. Devotees seek her blessings for nurturing relationships and safeguarding their loved ones.
Day 6 – Shashthi: Reverence for Goddess Katyayani:
Goddess Katyayani, revered on Shashthi, epitomizes strength and courage. She is the warrior goddess who defeats evil forces. Worshipping her instills determination and the will to overcome adversities.
Day 7 – Saptami: Adoration of Goddess Kalaratri:
Goddess Kalaratri, worshipped on Saptami, embodies the fierce and destructive form of Durga. She annihilates darkness and negativity, paving the way for light and positivity in life. Her worship symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Day 8 – Ashtami: Worship of Goddess Mahagauri:
On Ashtami, Goddess Mahagauri is venerated. She radiates purity and grace, signifying the triumph of righteousness. Her worship purifies the mind and soul, granting inner peace and spiritual growth.
Day 9 – Navami: Devotion to Goddess Siddhidatri:
Goddess Siddhidatri, worshipped on Navami, grants divine knowledge and spiritual enlightenment. She blesses devotees with achievements and accomplishments, both material and spiritual. Her worship symbolizes the culmination of the Navadurga manifestations.
Day 10 – Dashami (Vijaya Dashami): Celebration of Goddess Durga’s Victory:
Vijaya Dashami is the pinnacle of Dashain, honoring Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura. She represents the ultimate power of femininity and the vanquisher of evil forces. On this day, families come together to seek her blessings through the Tika and Jamara ceremony, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
Tihar “The Festival of Lights”
Tihar is another beautiful and dazzling festival for the Hindus which is the second greatest festival for Nepalese, after Dashain. It is said to be the festival of the lights. The cities and the surroundings look very clean and wonderful with the smell and presence of the marigold flowers during the festival.
The festival usually falls in the month of October or November, celebrated for five days worshiping 4 different animals i.e. Kaag Tihar (Crow Tihar), Kukur Tihar (Dog Tihar), Gai Tihar (Cow Tihar)- the main day to worship the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, Goru Tihar (Ox Tihar) and the 5th day is celebrated as ‘Bhaitika’ which signifies and carries great importance for the love and concern between brothers and sisters.
The sisters put the seven colors Tika on the brother’s forehead and pray for their longer life and progress. Tihar always brings excitement and jolly mood in the families and friends; playing ‘Deusi-bhailo’ and trying the best to welcome goddess Laxmi, who is believed to bring the happiness and wealth in the life of everyone.