Bada Dashain, National FestivalBy Nepali Patro in Festivals .
Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multicultural country. Each ethnic community has its own traditions and festivals. However, Bada Dashain is a festival that is celebrated by almost all Nepalese excluding some of the ethnicities and communities. As it is a great festival for the majority of Nepalese, it is called ‘Bada Dashain’. This festival is equally important in terms of religion, spirituality, as well as for families, social life, cultural aspects, and at the national level. For instance, if one just says Dashain, a very warm kind of joy and excitement is created in everyone’s mind. With the opportunity to consume tasty foods, sweets, and dress well, this festival brings excitement, enthusiasm, and liveliness in every household, generation, and mind. For those who are seekers and devotees, this is the time to gain desired achievement, as power etc by worshiping Bhagwati. In the same way this is the festival of villages, towns and society in general when they endeavour to take up social works such as cleaning and sanitation, developmental projects, meeting, fairs, etc along with celebration and entertainment.
Bada Dashain – The Arrival of Joy
From Ghatasthapana, Dashain enters the homes of Nepalese. The festival of joy, enthusiasm and unity brings everyone to their house. Dashain makes everyone from small children to the elderly people happy. Children who have gone to the city to study, sons who have gone abroad to earn money, etc all those who have gone abroad return home in a hurry for its celebration. Job holders are also in a hurry to go home as soon as their office time is over. Those who are at home are busy doing everything necessary for Dashain preparation such as shopping for necessary things etc. From the day of Ghatasthapana, the house leaders and elders are busy in offering and worship. Young people are busy decorating their homes and building roads.
Every household is cleaned and specially decorated on the occasion of Dashain. Village roads are repaired. Bridges are built and repaired. Various plans and collective efforts are made for the development of the village. Big bamboo swings and rotating swings similar to Merry go- round are constructed in different places. Competitions in various sports also heat up the villages and towns with excitement in the participation etc. For a long time, it has been a customary tradition to collect food items and chickens etc for meat on the occasion of Bada Dashain. It is also considered as a time to meet the various needs of the family members. Normally, people also take this festival as an opportunity to buy and add new clothes for everyone, Jewelry for wife, toys for the children, kitchen accessories and various other necessities of the house. On the occasion of Dashain, now with the evolving time, there is a growing trend of collecting new utensils, quilts and beddings, along with electrical appliances such as TV’s and computers in places where electricity has reached. Those who have sufficient, the rich add up more to their pleasures of life, while those who do not have much try to satisfy their basic needs.
Festival of Family Gatherings and Unity
At Dashain, the sons who have gone abroad for work return with sufficient luggage. No matter how much they earn, they bring home and share as much happiness as possible. Those who are at home wait for them to arrive. They store good food for their home returners. How happy the old parents must be when their son returns home. How happy the children are to find their father they have only heard about till yesterday. How happy a wife is to be reunited with her estranged husband. And, how happy it is for a home-returner to find himself in his own home with his entire family. And, how much fun it is to meet friends after a long interval of time. On Dashain, married off daughters, close relatives and friends also gather. Therefore, it is also a festival of gatherings. Whether it is the married daughters who have not been able to go to their parental home (Maita) for a long time or the nieces and nephews who have been counting their fingers in the hope of going to their maternal home (Mama ghar), Dashain fulfills all of their wishes. Dashain gives the opportunity to meet all the relatives and to introduce the little ones to the relatives.
In Dashain, the village is more enjoyable than the cities. Due to the long public holiday, the temporary residents of the city return to the village at Dashain. Village invites everyone and welcomes each and everyone. This is the reason that during Dashain, the city seems to be a little lonely. As Dashami approaches, the city also becomes empty. Even just for a few days, the towns-people breathe a sigh of relief from the hustle bustle and noises. The deserted village during other times becomes the center of happiness at such times. Festival at every household, festival at every human heart. The pride and original identity of Nepalese. Where there are Nepalese, there is Bada Dashain. That is why Nepalese living abroad also welcome Dashain even if they are abroad. As much as possible, friends and relatives gather to celebrate the Dashain festival together. And, even the foreigners taste the Dashain. Dashain is successful in uniting all Nepalese everywhere in the garland of cultural unity.
Festival of Blessings and Respect
Another aspect of Bada Dashain is the culture of blessings. Manyajan (elders) and Kulbriddha (eldest of the family) give Tika and Jamara to the younger ones as offerings of Bhagwati and also blesses what they know. The person giving the blessing must be powerful. And to get power, one has to worship Bhagwati as she is the form of Shakti (power). On the tenth day, goddess Mahakali, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati are worshiped as Durga Bhavani. There is a tradition of performing Durga Saptashati recitations, chanting, rituals and even dancing with Bhagwati’s praises during Nauratha (nine days of Dashain festival) by honoring Bhagwati in different Shakti Peethas (temple of goddess Durga Bhavani and her different forms) and at home also. The person performing the ritual should be pure and be holy and fast. And, by worshiping and adoring Bhagwati, a person becomes powerful, obtaining “Shakti ” from the holy practish. After receiving power from Bhagwati, there will be no harm throughout the year round and the person and his family will be happy. This same religious belief is also supported by the culture of blessings.
Blessing is also the distribution of power gained through Bhagwati rituals. Blessings given on the tenth day include mantras, verses, maxim and even sentences of moral ideals from Vedas and Puranas, Tantric as well as worldly. The Vedic mantra used in blessings also upholds the ideals of universal and everlasting peace, public welfare and society. In mythological, tantric or worldly blessings, a person is blessed with various ideal personnels qualities and wishes for happiness and longevity. Even in public life, it is customary to exchange good wishes on the occasion of Bada Dashain. Dashain has also enlivened the homage paid to the elder people. After receiving the tika and blessings given by the elders, on its tenth day, one should bow their heads in reverence and bow down to them. This makes even the elders most happy. And, the feeling of intimacy grows in everyone. In fact, this is the basic Nepali culture. Bada Dashain has revived this culture by passing it on from the old generation to the upcoming new generation.