Dashain is a fifteen day-long festival observed in Nepal and India, along with some other parts of the world, that is a celebration of the triumph of good or truth over evil or deception. The Dashain celebration has been observed ever since Lord Ram and Goddess Durga triumphed over Ravan and Mahishasura, respectively, in Hindu mythology.
On the first day of the biggest celebration, barley seeds are sewed into the Kalash (pot made of mud) after it has been filled with holy water. The Kalash is then placed in the middle of a square sand block. The remaining sand bed has grains scattered across it as well. The priest then begins the puja (ceremony) by requesting that Durga appear and bless the vessel. This ritual is carried out at a specific auspicious moment that the astrologers have chosen. This day is known as Ghatasthapana and officially marks as the beginning of the festival. Every day the Kaslash is worshipped twice a day and the seeds are watered, and by the end of the tenth day we can see the seeds growing into grass which is known as Jamara.
On the seventh day of the festival, known as Phulpati, people worship Goddess Durga and present their offerings to the goddess. On this day, the Nepalese Army puts on a magnificent performance, and for ten to fifteen minutes, weapons are fired in celebration in honor of Phulpati. Then on the eighth day of the festival, known as Maha Asthami, buffaloes, goats, chickens, and ducks are sacrificed in temples all around the country in order to placate the bloodthirsty Kali, the most ferocious of Goddess Durga’s forms. Blood is given to the Goddess as a symbol of its fertility. The night is appropriately referred to as Kal Ratri (Black Night). Afterwards the animals are cooked and served as Prasad, food blessed with divinity.
Amongst the many castes of Nepal, the Newar community celebrates Dashain as a crucial way of reconnecting with family members and having large family gatherings followed by dinner with a variety of food, known as Nakhtya. The ninth day of the festival, Navami, is known as the demon-hunting day. The mother goddess Devi, Durga, is worshipped since it is considered that everything that enables us to survive should be kept happy. The blood of sacrificed animals and birds is worshipped and offered to the tools, machinery, and vehicles of artisans, craftsmen, merchants, and mechanics. Additionally, all vehicles, from bikes to cars to trucks, are worshipped on this day because it is thought that doing so prevents accidents for the entire year. On the tenth day, known as Vijaya Dashyami, the Jamara is taken out, and a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermilion is prepared. The mixture is known as Tika. The elders of the family put Tika on the forehead of family members and give Jamara along with Dakshina (a sum of money) to the younger generation to provide blessings of prosperity, good health and abundance. Over the next five days people visit their relatives and continue giving and receiving Tika from their relatives.
On the fifteenth and final day of the festival, which is a full moon day known as Kojagrat Purnima, Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is believed to descend to Earth and bless money and fortune on anybody up at night. Playing cards and having the final special dinner, among other activities, is how people pass the evening.
Flying kites, playing cards, attending family gatherings, and participating in the worshipping and offerings to the Goddess brings a lot of positivity to people. All of this makes the fifteen days pass in the blink of an eye!