Important dates of the Dashain festival in 2013
||Ghatasthapana (first day of the
||Vijaya Dashami (Dashain Festival
||Kojagrat Purnima, full moon and last day of
After the rituals of Dashain are over,
then begin the merrymaking aspects of the festivals. From the 10th day onwards,
people of Nepal visit their elders to receive tika and jamara in blessings and goodwill.
It is also the festival of sumptuous feasting, especially of meat and beaten
rice. It is the time of going home, reunion, meeting loved ones and
strengthening ties with relatives and elders.
The eighth, ninth and the 10th days of Dashain are
knowns as Maha Astami, Maha Nawami and Dashami respectively. From ritualistic
aspects, these three days are important, especially the eighth day.
On the eighth day, Goddess Kalaratri is worshipped. She is considered the
fiercest embodiment of the Shakti goddesses. She is pictured as having a red
face and blazing, bloodshot eyes. She carries Shiva's bow in one hand, and in
the other she carries a skull. She drinks blood and chews on raw meat. The
ferocious goddess who terrifies the whole universe holds death in her left hand
and time in the right hand.
To please this goddess, special sacrifice or bali is offered to her at midnight.
and fire-offering ritual (yagya) are als performed in her honor. The goddess,
though fierce in her demeanor, is believed to bestow peace, longevity and
perpetual happiness to her worshippers.
On this day, official military sacrifices are performed at the Kot courtyard of
the Hanumandhoka Palace. Fifty-four water buffaloes and another 54 goats
are sacrificed to honor Shakti, the goddess of victory and military might.
Military bands playing martial tunes accompany this ceremony. Gunfire also takes
place to mark the ceremony.
Common people also offer sacrifice to their vehicles and machines on this day to
ask Goddess Shakti to protect their vehicles and the riders against accidents
and mishaps of all kinds. Those who do not offer animal sacrifice, dedicate
their vehicles and machinery, duck eggs or coconuts instead.
Car is being blessed
Dashain festival at Durbar Square
Taleju temple on
On the ninth day or Maha Nawami, Goddess Shakti
is revered as Maha Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune. On this day, the
temple of Taleju Bhawani, the Malla era temple at Hanumandhoka, is opened to the
general public. The temple remains closed to public for the rest of the year. In
the Hanumandhoka Palace, elephants and horses are also consecrated on this day.
The 10th day is called Dashami of Vijaya Dashami,
the day commemorating Goddess Shakti killing the demon Mahisasur.
rituals are concluded on this day and the Goddess is bid farewell and requested
to bless the worshippers from her heavenly abode. Worshippers takes the
consecrated water from the holy ghata, the vessels installed on the first day
that is Ghatathapana, and sprinkles it over himself as well as all the family
members gathered to receive the goddess blessings by chanting special stotra.
to be continued........
Source: The Kathmandu Post - October 21, 2004
(Kartik 5, 2061)
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