Dashain festival in Nepal, 2021

Updated on

Nepal is a multicultural, multi-ethnic country that performs different festivals throughout the year, including religious, cultural, ethnic, social, or traditional ones. Due to its diversity, it celebrates numerous festivals exhibiting traditional practices, cultural performances, ethnicity, and religious values, which continued for several centuries.

Dashain, one of Nepal's most important, longest, most promising, and widely celebrated festivals, usually falls between September and October based on a lunar calendar. It marks the victory of the deity Durga over the demon Mahisasur which signifies the triumph over evil.

Among several mythologies, one of the victory stories told in the Ramayan is the most popular. After a big battle, lord Ram defeated Ravana, a devil king of Lanka. With the help of goddess Durga, Ram was able to massacre Ravana. After the ten days of continuous battle, goddess Durga slew Mahisasur and freed everyone from his horror and terror. Glorifying goddess, we celebrate Dashain for 15 days beginning at Ghatashtapana and ending at Purnima (full moon day).

Most of the Hindu people scattered throughout the globe celebrate the Dashain festival with great enthusiasm. In Nepal, they are the most extraordinary grandeur; all the government offices, institutions, private organizations close for 15 days. Everyone from rich to poor indulges in feasting and rejoicing. People clean their houses, decorate them, paint them and make them attractive, so; goddess Durga believed to come and shower blessing.

Reasons why Dashain is the greatest Nepali Festival

Numerous reasons are behind making Dashain the most important festival of Nepal. Some of them are explained here.

Religious importance

Celebration of Dashain has its religious backstory. There are two myths behind this religious occasion; one goddess Durga and Mahisasur, and another lord Ram and Ravana. Both of them exhibit the victory of virtue over the devil.

Both the stories are explained in the religious books of Sanatan Dharma (Hindu religion). Thus, this festival carries enormous spiritual significance.

Get togetherness

This is the only festival where family members from far to near, friends, and other relatives get together to receive Tika from their elders. The elders put Tika to their younger and shower blessings with Dakshina (money and other expensive gifts). This represents there is a great gathering of every individual to their beloved ones.

Great feasts

Beginning from the seventh day, the Phulpati, families organize feasts till the fifteenth day of Dashain, the Purnima( full moon day). During the 8th and 9th days of Dashain, there is a tradition of sacrificing animals in the name of goddess Durga. Sacrificing animals occurs almost in every house that meat will be abundant during Dashain. Moreover, there will be a plethora of other delicacies to choose from. Dashain is a protein complete festival where each day, every delicacy of meat is consumed.

Best time for travel

This is an excellent time for traveling. As autumn is already begun, the routes are drier, the water level in the rivers decreases, and there is a rare probability of rainfall: these all make it comfortable for traveling. Moreover, even in the high Himalayas, the weather is crystal, and the views of the Himalayan panorama are unobstructed. All in all, this is a perfect time for traveling.

Everyone celebrates it

Nepal is a unique country on Earth where you need not be a Hindu to be excited about Dashain. The atmosphere of the Dashain festival spreads to everyone regardless of any religious groups, casts, or ethnic groups. This looks so contagious.

Sale, sale, and sale

Popular as Nepal’s black Friday, everyone awaits for Dashain sale; shopkeepers for selling and customers for buying. From electronics to cars, clothing, and gifts, everything is available at a discounted price. Everyone seems happy getting a considerable discount on their shopping.

Moreover, the businesses come with new schemes, lucky draws, and all kinds of bumper offers. There is even a chance to win a ticket to Disneyland or ride a new car. If that is not great, I don’t know what is!

Special Days of Dashain festival

Popular as a Vijaya Dashami, a 15 days celebration that signifies the days taken by Durga to massacre the demon and the Rama to Ravana, every day is celebrated in their ways. The initial nine days represent the battle between goddess Durga. The 10th day was a victory day when Durga defeated Mahisasur and Ram killed Ravan, and the rest five days to celebrate the victory over evil. At the same time, some of the most important days of Dashain are as follows.

The first day: Ghatasthapana

The initial day of Vijaya Dashami is called Ghatasthapana. This day, the home priest or the eldest male member establishes a Kalash, a holy water pot, and a rectangular place for Jamara, saplings of wheat and oat on the sand used on the 10th day with Tika.  

The seventh Day: Phulpati

The seventh day of Dashain is called Phulpati, which means flowers and leaves. However, there are nine different ingredients: banana plant, flower, pomegranate, rice stalk, turmeric, etc. There is a tradition to take Phulpati from Gorkha to Kathmandu by spending three days.

In Tudhikhel, armies perform various performances on this auspicious occasion. There is a celebratory firing of weapons that continues for ten to fifteen minutes honoring Phulpati. The head of the state, ministers, Parliament members, and hundreds of officers participate in this occasion. All in all, this is a grand ceremony.

The Eighth Day: Maha Ashtami

The eighth day is called Maha Asthami, which is considered the day of deity Kali, the fearful incarnation of Goddess Durga. She is assumed to be the Goddess of slaughter, symbolizing the long night that shrouded the world before the end. In every corner of the country, you will find the sacrificing the animals like goats, buffalo, chicken, duck, etc., in the name of Goddess.

This night is considered Kal Ratri, which means "a night." At midnight, in the Kot square of Kathmandu Durbar Square, people sacrifice 108 goats and eight buffalos. After being sanctified by the Goddess, the meat (called "prasad" in Nepali) will be carried home by the locales, which are supposed to bring people good luck.

The Ninth Day: Maha Navami

Another important day of the Dashain festival is Maha Navami day, when the temples of goddess Durga are filled with the people from dawn to dusk. Animals, primarily black buffaloes, are slaughtered to honor Goddess and ask for her blessing. Military bands play war tunes, guns boom, and officers with gorgeously ornamented medals in full uniform stand there.

The Tenth Day: Vijaya Dashami

It is the most auspicious day of the entire festival. During this day, the elders offer Tika (red cinnabar auspicious mole which is a mixture of rice, yogurt, and vermilion) on the youngers' forehead and Jamara ( yellow 6-8 feet barley grass sowed on the first day) to bless them.

Seniors give "Dakshina," or a small amount of money, or gifts to Youngers at this time along with the blessings. This continues for the next five days until the full moon, during which families and relatives visit each other to exchange gifts and greetings. This ritual of taking Tika from all the elder relatives (even the distant relatives) helps renew the community ties significantly.

The Fifteenth Day: Kojagrat Purnima

After five days of Vijaya Dashami, the full moon day is known as Kojagrat Purnima, which means "who is awake." It is believed that on this day, goddess Laxmi-goddess of wealth and luck gets down to the earth from heaven and shower the blessing of wealth and prosperity who remain awake and worship her.

Thus, the celebration of the festival that started from Ghatasthapana (1st day) ends at Kojagrat Purnima (15th day).

Special Days of Dashain in 2021


Festival Day Name

English Date

Nepali Date


First Day: Ghatasthapana

October 07

Asoj 21


Seventh Day: Phulpati

October 13

Asoj 26


Eighth Day: Maha Ashtami

October 14

Asoj 27


Ninth Day: Maha Navami

October 15

Asoj 28


Tenth Day: Vijaya Dashami

October 16

Asoj 29


Fifteenth Day: Kojagrat Purnima

October 19

Kartik 02

The Final Say

Dashain is the longest and most significant religious ceremony of Nepal that falls in the month of September/October. Being a long vacation, Dashain brings that brings new energy, spirit, happiness, and freshness to the people. It sees Nepalese from all around the globe return to their home towns and villages to join in the celebrations that mark the end of the harvest and are supposed to remove all ill fortune.

Krishna Sapkota

Krishna is a content writer and tour guide of Holy Mountain Treks. As a guide and a writer, he has paid a visit to almost all the touristic destinations in Nepal. He has also been to major Trekking termini in Nepal. By means of his personal knowledge and experiences, he responds all your interrogations, creates blogs, articles and develops itineraries for your trips.

Krishna has been working in tourism sector since 2017, as he was running his Masters' degree. Afterward the accomplishment of his graduation, he is fully keen in this industry.

Leave Your Comment