The Nepalese Hindu Festival of Dashain has come and gone this past week. It is also known as Vijaya Dashaimi and Dusshera in India. It has been fondly dubbed as “Nepali Christmas” or “Nepalismas” in a effort to explain the festivals significance in a familiar sense to those whom are unfamiliar with it.
Dashain is a festival that signifies the triumph of good over evil. In Hindu scripture, there is an almighty battle called the Ramayana. Dashain signifies the victory in its final battle between the good Prince Ram and the evil demon King Ravana. It also signifies the victory of the Goddess Durga over the demon Mahashasura, with whom she had to battle for 10 days and 9 nights.
The most important days of Dashain are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth nights. The tenth night is “Dashami” where blessings in the form of red tikka are given. Red tikka is a mixture of red vermillion powder, uncooked rice, and yogurt. Elders apply this to the foreheads of those younger along with “jamara” to give dakshina, which is a small amount of money along with the blessings.
If you go to my mom’s house during Dashain, you can be sure to spot many red envelopes, similar to those at Lunar New Year. Not to mention the delicious foods that are cooked. YUM!
Dashain is followed by Thihar, which is known as the Festival of Lights to Nepalese. It’s also more commonly known as Diwali in India.
Happy Nepalismas and a Merry Tihar? Haha! I’m looking forward to Tihar, for sure.
Thanks for reading!