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Festival of Nepal: Greatest Festival Dashain and Tihar

8th Apr, 2022


Nepal is fortunate with so many people and groups, each with traditions and cultures of their own. Nepal is internationally renowned for its rich culture and traditions. The combination of occasions and festivals celebrated in Nepal, they have its own meaning. There’re so many festivals in Nepal that are enjoyed, and since it is a secular country, the Nepali festival is celebrated collectively by different groups. This is what's magnificent about this country Nepal. Amongst the broad list of festivals held in Nepal, the two major festivals and the most auspicious are Dashain and Tihar which they plan to celebrate with their close friends, families, and relatives. As such, Dashain is celebrated for nearly two weeks, and for five days, Tihar is celebrated. These festivities both represent gatherings, joy, and the triumph of good over evil. Because during these festivals, the offices are closed, tourists who come to Nepal will observe their great celebration.

Table of Contents


Dashain “The Greatest festival of Nepalese”

When Dashain is celebrated? Dashain is the most popular and longest festival on the calendar, and many expatriates in Nepal return back to their homeland solely to experience the Dashain Festival. In the Hindu month of Ashvin, Dashain continues to run from the "bright moon" until the full moon, lasting for 15 days. On the Gregorian calendar, owing to the variations between a lunar and a solar dependent time-keeping system, it occurs in either September or October, varying from year to year. Why Dashain is celebrated? Dashain is a symbol of good's victory over evil. It is related to Hindu tales about the defeat of demons Ravana and Mahisasur by the goddess Durga. These demons have terrorized India's people. Today, Nepalis look forward to Dashain for family gatherings, presents, amazing food, and blessings to earn. How Dashain is celebrated? Among the festivals we celebrate, Dashain is always celebrated with passion and in joyful ways, being the biggest one for Nepalese. In the month of October, it is celebrated for almost 15 days; the 1st, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th days are the most significant. The great festival celebrated in Nepal, Dashain is a time for family gatherings, the exchange of gifts and blessings, and elaborate pujas. To offer a warm welcome to the mother goddess, every home is cleaned and beautifully decorated. Pratipada (first day) begins this festival and ends with Kojagrat Purnima (fifteenth day / full moon night). Days of Dashain:


The first day is known as Gatasthapana, which means the formation of pots. A small rectangular sand block is made on this very day, and the Kalash (holy water vessel), signifying Durga's goddess with her portrait, is made in the center where Jamara (just maize seedlings) are grown. In Nepali, the tiny yellow leaves are called Jamara.


The seventh day is known as Saptami or Phoolpati. On this day, outside of the building, nine kinds of holy plants are either decorated or brought into the room assigned to worship the deities. Here, alongside the jamara, plants are worshipped. Belpatra, ginger, turmeric, rice-stalk, pomegranate, and manabriksha, Jayanti, Ashoka, banana are the nine plants. These plants each serve a different God or Goddess, and navapatriva is called a combination of these nine ingredients. It is assumed that plants put an end to an evil thus giving people happiness and prosperity. A parade at Tudhikhel, which is witnessed by the president and government officials every year, is also organized by the Nepal Army.


Asthami (Eight) Maha (Big). Goddess Kali, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, is worshipped on the eighth day of Dashain. There are many animals sacrificed to her, such as buffaloes, pigs, hens, and ducks. Similarly, a growing number of families are also using fruit and vegetables as an offering to Goddess Durga. A feast consisting of traditional Nepali food continues with the celebrations. Many devotees often go quickly and visit many temples and goddess shrines. Special worship is held on this day at the 'Dashain Ghar' in Kathmandu Durbar Square at Hanuman Dhoka.


The celebrations hit their peaks on this day and people are beginning to prepare for the final day of the festival. Navami is named the ninth day. On this day, the Taleju temple at Hanuman Dhoka is open to the public only once a year. Thousands go and pay their respects to the Day of the Goddess. Mother goddess temples are packed with people from dawn until dusk. On this day, in the Kot courtyard at Hanuman Dhoka, official military sacrifices are held. The lord Vishwas Karma, the God of Imagination, is also worshipped on this very day. All factories, cars, all tools of machinery, and everything we make a living with, are worshipped.


A tikka made from rice, red (abir), and curd on Bijaya Dashami.  If our younger ones come to our home to get blessings from us, we visit our elders in their homes and get Tika from them. And the elders of the family put tikka on the younger members of the family's foreheads and give blessings to them and Dakshina. For four days, this work continues. Dashain finishes on the full moon day, the fifteenth day, after four days of running around and meeting your family. People sit at home on the last day and relax.


Tihar “The Festival of lights”

Why Tihar is called “The Festivals of lights”? One of the major festivals in Nepal is Tihar, the festival of lights. This is an incredible cultural festival that brings fun-filled days to people's lives. It is basically one of the most important festivals since it demonstrates an immense contribution not only to humans and God but also to animals that establish an intimate relationship with humans, i.e. crow, cow, dog, and ox. The Tihar festival, therefore, reflects the angelic attachment among humans and other animals. During festivals, traveling to Nepal offers you a great opportunity to involve yourself in the country's cultural beauty. Tihar is one of those instances where traveling in Nepal gives you a beautiful cultural experience. When Tihar is celebrated? In Nepal, according to the Hindu calendar, Tihar (Deepawali) is celebrated on the night of the New Moon in the month of Kartik. The entire festival lasts from two days before Tihar until two days after Tihar, making it a grand celebration for five days. During this festival, the whole country is enjoying a long weeks’ vacation. As per the English calendar, in the month from late October to the beginning of November, Tihar is celebrated. In 2020, Deepawali will be celebrated in Nepal on 14 November. How Tihar is celebrated? It's another Hindu festival that is celebrated in Nepal and India as well. This is a light festival that occurs in late October or early November. The festivities will run for five days. It's an annual festival held on autumn's vivid blue days. Tihar is mostly about worshiping the Hindu Goddess of Prosperity or Riches (Goddess Laxmi) and cooking great food at home, brothers and sisters shopping for presents, flying kites, renovating homes and streets, playing cards with friends, relaxing and resting, and ultimately ending the festival with Bhai tika. The festival's last day is known as Tika Day or Bhai Tika Day.

Days of Tihar

Kaag Tihar/ Crow Tihar (1st Day):

On the very first day, we worshipped Crow, the messenger of Yama.  A good meal is cooked by the family early in the morning on the first day of Tihar. Each family member takes the first portion of the meal on a platter outside.  People think it would keep their beloved ones happy and safe to feed the crows. Worshiping them, it is believed, would bring good fortune to the home. This day marks the start of the festival of Tihar.

Dog/ Kukur Tihar (2nd Day):

A police officer sprinkles colored powder onto a police dog at Nepal's Central Police Dog Training School as part of the Diwali festival, also known as Tihar Festival, in Kathmandu, October 22, 2014. (EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA)[/caption] The second day is celebrated by worshipping dogs, whether it's your own or some other nearby stray dog. They are a sign of faithfulness and true friendship and have been praised for being the best friend of a man all the time. They are worshipped with garlands and fed with tasty meals as they protect our homes and lives in order to understand and acknowledge the influence of dogs in our lives.

Laxmi Pooja (3rd Day):

One of the festival's most important days is Laxmi Puja, on which day the Goddess of Wealth (Laxmi) is worshipped by Puja, decoration, candle lights, and oil lamps in every household in the entire Nepali Kingdom. People clean their homes on the day of Laxmi Puja and decorate them with lights. In front of the main doors, a small mandap is usually made and a path made of smaller increments or red mud is painted from the entrance gates to the area where the puja is to take place. Only with family members involved in it, the puja is a private occasion. On this day, people actually enjoy playing Deusi Bhailo and cards.

Ox/ Goru Pooja (4th Day):

Three separate recognized pujas occur on the fourth day of Tihar, depending on the cultural history of the people. Goru Tihar or Goru Puja (worship of the oxen) is observed. People who practice Vaishnabism perform Govardhan Puja, which is Govardhan mountain worship. Cow dung is taken and worshipped as a symbol of the mountain. In addition, the majority of the Newar community performs Maha Puja at the night. This day is often seen as the beginning of the new calendar year of Nepal Sambat,

Bhai Tika Day (5th Day):

Bhai Tika, the fifth day, is celebrated when sisters placed colorful tika on their brothers' foreheads, offering blessings for long and safe lives. They also offer their brothers gifts and sweets as well. The brothers, in exchange, give gifts and money to their sisters and pray for their sisters too. The family gathers to celebrate tasty cuisines and enjoy them. Those travelers who love to explore cultures, religions, and live semi-nomadic lives are also welcome to Nepal, along with core trekking. Nepal is not limited to diverse cultures, but to diverse environments, altitudes, and nature, which are dramatically expanded. In addition, during Dashain Tihar, trekking is full of cultural experiences and joyful festivities along with the right time for trekking, serving the hypnotic clear views of the giant and magnificent Himalayan region and its desirable climate.

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