Major Hindu Festivals
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. It is said that; it is more than 5000 years old and, considered to be one of the world’s oldest religion. Hindus celebrates many festivals but the 2 Major Hindu Festivals, in my opinion, is the Vijayadasami & Diwali. I will further explain about these two festivals in details.
This is the most popular festival among Hindus, in India and Nepal. It is also known as Dasara, Dussehra and Dashain and falls on the month of September or October. It is celebrated in a grand way in both the countries and by the Hindus all over the world. It is celebrated as the victory over evil. It has its origin & legend in the Hindu Scriptures.
Legend and origin of Vijayadasami
The legend of Vijayadasami have two sources and origin but according to the Devi Bhagavata Purana. Once there lived a mighty Asura called Mahishasura (buffalo Asura). He did very severe penance on Lord Brahma and finally got his boon from Lord Brahma. He asked the boon of being invincible, and no male could kill him. He defeated Lord Indra and became the Lord of the 3 worlds (heaven, earth and nether land).
He became so powerful and invincible that all the Gods had to leave their abode and ran away. As his cruelty and immoral activities were on its peak, the Gods went to Lord Brahma for solution and method to kill Mahishasura. But Lord Brahma said that he had given him the boon of no male could kill him. So, he told the Gods to go to the Kailash, where the Goddess Parvati resides with her husband, Lord Shiva. He said to them that only she could help you on this mission. All the gods went to Goddess Parvati and asked her to help them to kill Mahishasura. She agreed to their request, and in return, she got many powerful weapons and power from the 3 Gods; Shiva, Vishnu & Brahma.
After that, she fought very fiercely with Mahishasura and finally defeated him and restored the Kingdom of Indra to him. They sang hymns on her praise. These days marked the 10 days celebration of Vijayadasami. Because it took Goddess Parvati 10 days to defeat Mahishasura, it is celebrated as the victory over evil by all the Hindus. It also marks the day of Lord Rama killing the Ravana.
How is Vijayadasami celebrated?
Vijayadasami is celebrated in a grand and spectacular way in many parts of India and Nepal. It is the days of hopes and celebration. The people go for shopping before the festival and tidy up and decorate their houses. The 10 days of the festivals are wonderful and bountiful. Every day, the Pooja is done in accordance with the Deities associated. In West Bengal, these days are celebrated as Navratri, and the 9 Goddesses are worshipped day by day, and at last, the Durga Pooja will be held in a grand way.
The 10 days of the Navratri are as follows:
- Durga Pooja (Vijayadasami)
Those above mentioned are the 10 days of Navratri, and the Dasara begins the day after Navratri. In some parts of India, the big effigies of Ravana are created and burnt to symbolise the victory over evil and good over bad. Mysore Dasara (it is a district in Karnataka, south India) is world-famous, and many tourists across the world flocked to celebrate this festival.
How is Vijayadasami celebrated in Nepal?
It is celebrated like any other countries, but it has its own style of celebration and celebrates for 15 days. The schools, colleges and Government’s offices will be closed for more than 10 days and it is a national holidays in Nepal. People buy new clothes and jewellery. They clean their houses to invite Goddess Durga. The people do kite flying competitions, playing cards, Langurburja and swing playing are the games that people play in Vijayadasami.
The main 6 days of the Dashain are as follows
The 1st day — Ghatasthapana
This day is the first day of the festival where Dashain actually begins. The people sow Jamara ( paddy seeds which are cultivated in a container to grow it to become small buds).
The 7thday — Phulpati
Phulpati means flower leaves. In this day people clean and decorate their houses. Phulpati parade will be held in Tudhikhel at Kathmandu.
The 8th day — Maha Asthami
In This day devotees worship both the Goddesses Durga & Kali. It is believed that in this day, the most aggressive form of Durga manifested as Kali. Hence, the devotees offer sacrifices and blood (symbolise the fertility) in the name of Goddess kali. Devotees eat the sacrificial meats as Prasada, which they believe that to be the blessings from the Goddess Kali.
The 9th day — Maha Navami
It is the last day of the Navratri, and people worship their favourite Goddesses. Maha Navami is the day of Viswakarma ( the God of creativity). Therefore people clean and wash their belonging items, weapons and vehicles and worshipped them.
The 10th day — Vijayadasami
It is the most auspicious day of Dashain. In Nepali Hindu culture and tradition, the older person of the house will put Tika and Jamara to the younger one and blessed them with their wishful thinking and give Dakshina. People travelled to their relative homes for Tika and blessings and gathered together and have varieties of food.
The 15th day — Kojagrat Puja
It falls on the full moon day and also is the last day of the festival. It is believed that if you stay awake all night in this day, then the Goddess Lakshmi will bless you with wealth and goodness.
In this way, Vijayadasami is celebrated in Nepal and all over by Hindu devotees. People wait for their next festival known as Diwali with more eager and excitedly.
Vijayadasami is the festival of hope and happiness. People forget their sorrows and celebrate the festival in a stunning way. In this article, we got to know about the festival and the ways and traditional celebrating styles of both India and Nepal. After Dashain, the people wait eagerly for Diwali. I will post about Deepawali in my next article. It is always good to know about the different types of festivals that other people and we celebrate across the world. This will help us to know and respect other religions, and we can have a healthy and harmonious relationship with all the religions, and it’s devotees.
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FAQ About Dasara or Vijayadashami
Dasara is celebrated to symbolise the victory over evil. Ravana or Mahishasura is depicted as our own egoistic mind, who wants to control the nature. The slaying of these two Asuras by Lord Rama and Durga is representing that destruction of our ego.
Dasara is celebrated for 10 days. It is celebrated as victory over evil. The meaning of Dasara is that, it is 10th days of Ashwin.
In Mysore, Dasara was started by Raja Wodeyar I in the year of 1610. He made this as the Mysore culture and tradition.
Mysore is the most famous place for Dasara celebration. Nepal is also equally famous for this festival. In Nepal it is known as Vijayadasami or Dashain.