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Dashain charm, glory and gore

REPUBLICA

KATHMANDU, Oct 17

This year´s Bada Dashain began as usual with Ghatasthapana — invocation of the goddess Durga into an auspicious pitcher– on Tuesday. Decades pass by and the 10-day festival remains the most awaited among Hindus, although people have different ways of making the occasion special.

A few years ago, it was only once in a year during Dashain that parents would get new clothes for their children. Nowadays, people do not wait for Dashain to buy new clothes but the long holidays and festival bonuses from one´s office add charm to the celebrations, says land revenue officer Keshav Dhakal.

“Children cannot be told to depend on one set of clothes for the whole year as we used to in our childhood. But this is the time when we can fulfill some extra demands from them,” said Dhakal, a father of two sons.

Sujita Koirala, loan officer at Samaj Finance at New Baneshor, says she was happy enough when Dashain just meant wearing new clothes, eating delicious things and receiving dakshina (gifts and money from one´s older kin). “But now I feel happier that it is linked with women´s power. We worship the goddess of power and this makes me feel that we women can be tough in the face of evil,” she said.

Meanwhile, people also speak against animal sacrifice, which is part of the festival. Many devotees sacrifice animals and birds at various temples on Maha Asthami (its grand eighth day) and Maha Nawami (ninth day).

Animal rights activists speak out against the sacrifices. “Why can´t we celebrate a meatless Dashain, leaving behind the sacrifice tradition that shows its inhumane face?” asks Khil Prasad Ghimire, chairperson of the Shri Krishna Pranami Youth Council. The council estimates that over 250,000 animals are sacrificed across the country on the eighth and ninth days of Dashain.

Devotees visit the various Shakti Piths (shrines of power) of the goddess Durga. Guhewaswari, Bhadrakali, Shobha Bhagwati, Mahankal, Nardevi, Indrayani, Kalikasthan, Maiti Devi and Shankata are the Shakti Piths in Kathmandu Valley that devotees visit during Navaratri (the nine days from Ghatasthapana to Mahanawami). Some devotees also fast during Navaratri for the prosperity of their families.

Similarly, people chant devotional hymns and recite from holy books such as Chandi and Durga Kabaj for the nine days. Malshree Dhoon, the tunes of Dashain, are also an interesting part of the festival.

On the tenth day, Jamara (shoots of barley, maize and wheat planted on the first day) and Tika (a mixture of vermillion powder and rice) are offered as blessings by older members of the family or clan to the younger. This part of the ritual continues for the next five days till the full moon.

 Source: Republica DailyLink: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=43705
Published on 2012-10-17 02:08:45
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About nirjanasharma

Journalist.

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