During the month of Kartik in the Nepali calendar (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in most distinguishing asset of the culture that is the celebration of the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country and abroad commemorating a great victory of the gods over the wicked demons. The fifteen days of celebration begin with the bright lunar and celebrated for the whole bright fortnight. All Nepalese worship the Goddess Durga (the symbol of power-Shakti) and her nine manifestations with innumerable pujas (religious deeds), plentiful offerings and numerous animal sacrifices for the ritual holy bathing, thus drenching the goddess for days in blood. The main celebration glorifies the triumph of good over evil and is symbolized by Goddess Durga slaying the terrible demon Mahisasur, who terrorized the earth in the guise of a brutal water buffalo. Also is said that the festival is celebrated on the auspicious day when Lord Ram after a long struggle slaughtered Ravana, the fiendish king of demons.
During Dashain every home is white-washed and beautifully decorated as an invitation to the mother goddess, so that she may visit and bless the house with good fortune. During this time distant and nearby relatives reunite in every household. The market is filled with shoppers buying new clothing, gifts, luxuries and enormous supplies of temple offering for the gods, as well as foodstuffs for the family feasting. Thousands of sheep, goats, ducks, chicken and water buffalo are prepared for the great slaughter. All types of organizations are closed for ten to fifteen days. Laborers are almost impossible to find; from the poor to the rich, all enjoy the festive mood. Anywhere you go the aroma of ‘Vijaya Dashami’ is found.
Tihar/ Shubha Deepali/ Deewali
Tihar, the festival of colors and lights, is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. In this festival, Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. During the festival all the houses in the city and villages are decorated with flickering candles, oil lamps and sparkling electrical lights. This festival is celebrated for five days starting from the thirteenth day of the waning moon in October. We also refer it as ‘Panchak Yama’ which literally means ‘the five days of the underworld lord’. We also worship ‘yamaraj’ in different forms in these five days. In other words this festival is meant for life and prosperity. This is also celebrated with a lot of festivities such as Deusi Bhailo- singing typical group folk songs, lively dances, and peppy music- and blessing each house for prosperity and peace.
There is a story, which tells why this revelry is celebrated so widely. Once, there was a king who was living his last days of life. His astrologer had told him that a serpent would come and take his life away. The king did not want to die so he has asked the astrologer if there was any way to escape death. The king was advised to sleep with lit oil lamps all around his bed and decorate the palace with oil lamps on Laxmi Puja Day. So, goddess Laxmi would talk to the serpent not to take his life. It did happen; the serpent was convinced by goddess Laxmi. The serpent took the king to Yama Raj and told him that it was not yet the king’s time to come to the underworld. So Yama Raj opened his ledger and in it the kings remaining age was written zero, but the serpent cleverly put seven before zero. Thus the king lived for seventy more years. There onwards Tihar is being widely celebrated worshipping the underworld and Goddess Laxmi