Dashain is the longest and most important festival for Nepali Hindus. The festival, which falls in the month of September or October, symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is celebrated throughout the country for 15 days.

According to Hindu mythology, a fierce battle took place between Goddess Durga and the buffalo demon Mahishasur after he created terror among the gods. Goddess Durga eventually killed Mahishasur and restored peace. The first nine days of Dashain symbolize the battle between Goddess Durga and Mahishasur, and the tenth day celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasur.

Ghasthapana is the first day of Dashain. The literal meaning of Ghatasthapana is installment of a pot. On this day, a kalash (vessel) with filled with holy water. It is then covered with cow dung, in which barley seeds are sown, and kept in a room called Dashain Ghar. The kalash is placed at the center of a rectangular bed of sand where grains are sown. Astrologers determine an auspicious time for the sowing of grains. The kalash is worshiped twice every day asking Goddess Durga to bless it with her presence.On the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth days, people visit temples, clean their homes and buy new clothes.

Phulpati is the seventh day of Dashain. On this day, the royal kalash along with different types of flowers, jamara and banana stalks is brought to Kathmandu from Gorkha by Brahmins. A parade is then organized at Tundikhel, after which the holy offering of Phupati is taken to the president’s residence. The official holidays and Dashain feasting start from this day.

Maha Ashtami
The eighth day of Dashain is known as Maha Ashtami. On this day, the temples of Goddess Durga and Mahakali in Kathmandu Valley are thronged by devout Hindus. Some orthodox Hindus observe a fast on this day. This day is also known as Kal Ratri since a lot of male goats,ducks and buffaloes are sacrificed to the goddess at the Taleju Temple.

Maha Nawami
The ninth day of Dashain is Maha Nawami. This is the only day of the year when the Taleju temple is opened to the public. On this day, people also worship and offer sacrifices to vehicles, tools and equipment. It is believed that one can avoid accidents throughout the year by worshiping vehicles on Maha Nawami.

Vijaya Dashami
Vijaya Dashami is the tenth day of Dashain. On this day, people receive tika and jamara as blessing from their elders. They wear new clothes and visit their relatives to receive tika. The remaining five days are also is celebrated in a similar manner. The last day, which is a full moon day, is called ‘Kojagrata’, which translates to ‘who is awake’. Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, is worshiped on this night.

During Dashain, people also fly kites, play cards and play on swings. It is also a great time for family reunion as people who have gone abroad return home to celebrate the festival with their families.

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