The biggest festival of Nepal, Dashain, has started on September 21, 2017. The first day of Dashain, Ghatasthapana is celebrated by Nepali all over the world. The 10-days worship of Goddess Durga has started in various temples and at homes in Nepal.
Let me go through the the major festive days of Dashain:
Day 1 – Ghatasthapana
The first day of Dashain starts with placing a water pot (Kalash) that symbolizes goddess Durga. The Kalash is filled with holy water and is covered with cow dung with some barley seeds added to it.
On the day, barley seeds are used to plant Jamara (wheatgrass). The plantation is done according to Hindu rituals and worshiping. Astrologers determine a specefic auspicious time to perform the ritual. It is believed that the goddess resides in the vessel (Kalash) during navratri.
The room where the ritual is performed is known as the Dashain Ghar where outsiders and women are not allowed, traditionally. In the past, it was a custom of a male family member, usually the head of the house, to worships the Kalash twice every day, once in the morning and then in the evening. But, these days, the discrimination has been ended and women are also allowed to perform the puja of the woman goddess, Durga. The Jamara plantation is kept in dark and holy water is offered every day to the seeds. By the tenth day the seed will grown to five to six inches long. The grass kept in total dark are yellow and is considered a sacred grass used with Tika on the 10th day of the festival.
Schools and colleges close for the festival starting Ghatasthapana.
Day 7 – Fulpati
The next major day of Dashain is Phulpati. The government offices close for the festival a day before Fulpati and remain closed for more than a week. Because of the start of the actual celebration, offices close and people go in festive mood.
Day 8 – Maha Astami
Dashain is the festival of meat and food. Meat animals are sacrificed to Goddess Durga (Kali) in temples throughout Nepal. The blood of the animals, considering it a symbol of fertility, is offered to the Goddesses. The night of this day is called Kal Ratri (Black Night).
Day 9 – Maha Navami
Sacrificing continues and worshiping goddesses also continues on the ninth day of the festival.
Day 10 – Dashami
The 10th day is the final day of worshipping the goddess Durga. On the day, elders offer tika and jamara to younger. People visit their elders to receive tika and blessings. Starting at home, people visit the homes of their relatives and friends.