Dashin is the great national festival of Nepalies People. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon. This festival is known for emphasis on family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties. People will return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of the country, to celebrate together.
The festial is a blend of Hindu Tantrik and animistic harvest festival traditions. On the first day, called Ghatasthapana, the "Dashain Ghar", or special worship room, is set up. This room is used to worship the astha-matrikas (the 8 tantrik goddesses) as well as the nava durgas (the 9 durga goddesses), to whom the festival is consecrated. Married women will say the mantras for the next fifteen days, and guard the goddesses. Barley is sowed in big earthern pots. These seeds will sprout in ten days. The sprouts, which symbolize a good harvest, will be decoratively placed on the heads of family members later on in the festival as a blessing.
On the seventh day, Fulpaati, the town of Gorkha sends an offering of flowers for the "God Kali". A band associated with the army also plays its music and goes through the old core of Kathmandu.
The eighth day, Asthami, The night of the eighth day is called 'Kal Ratri', the dark night. Hundreds of goats, sheep and buffaloes are sacrificed at the mother goddess temples.. Blood, symbolic for its fertility, is offered to the goddesses. This meat is taken home and cooked as "prasad", or food blest by divinity. This food is offered, in tiny leaf plates, to the household gods, then distributed amongst the family. Eating this food is thought to be auspicious. continue the next day Navami, the ninth day of the festival. Families will visit various temples.On the tenth day, "Dashami," a mixture of rice, yogurt and vermillion will be prepared by the women. This preparation is known as "tika". Elders put this on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with fertility and abundance in the upcoming year. The red also symbolizes the blood that ties the family together. Elders will give "dakshina", or a small amount of money or some thing, to younger relatives at this time. The tika continues for five days, during which time people also gather to play cards around massive amounts of food and drink visit relitive.In several parts of Nepal,
Dashain is the only time of the year when people receive a set of new clothing. Likewise, in poorer families, the animal sacrifice was eagerly anticipated since it might be the only animal protein the family would eat all year. This may be true in certain parts of Nepal where food is in low supply, but is less so in the cities. In general, the tradition of sacrifice is lessening with the easy availability of meat for daily consumption, and with the influences of Vaishnav Hindus (who are vegetarian).After Dashain everyone settles back to normal. After receiving the blessing of goddess Durga, people are ready to work and acquire virtue, power and wealth. Dashain thus is not only the longest festival but also the most anticipated one among all the festivals of Nepal.