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Dashain

05 Oct 2014 - 18 Oct 2014
Place: All over Nepal

All over Nepal Dashain begins to unfold itself into every temple, every household, every courtyard, and every single life and spirit much before it actually begins. As a matter of preparation for the greatest celebration, people clean and scrub their homes, clean their yards; make purchases and provisions in full swing as the festival approaches.

Bamboo and rotating wooden swings are installed in the crossroads and open fields, especially in the villages The rainy, muddy monsoon gives way to the deep blue sky, lush green fields, crystal clear panorama of the majestic Himalayan mountains, and ideal temperatures – all adding up to the festive atmosphere.

Dashain, also referred to as ‘Navaratha’ or ‘Navaratri,’ has deep-running social, religious, and cultural significance. It is called ‘Navaratha’ because it is believed to have emerged from the custom of offering puja to the chariot of the Goddess Durga who fought hectic battles for nine nights to vanquish demons, the kings of evil (literally ‘nava’ means nine and ‘ratha’ means chariot). Since the slaying of demons took place at nights, this period is also called ‘Navaratri’. In the Sanskrit, ratri refers to the night. However, both ‘Navaratha,’ and ‘Navaratri’ belie the actual duration of the festival as it runs for a full fortnight, ending on the full moon day.

Interestingly enough, Dashain speaks of the female power represented by the goddess Durga, whom the world invokes for overcoming the demons who are invincible to every other deity save her. People of all regions and castes celebrate this festival by reuniting with their family members. Therefore, Dashain also serves to strengthen familial and social ties in the diverse societies of Nepal.