Maha Shivaratri| Most Popular Hindu Festival in Nepal
Maha Shivaratri is one of most popular Hindu festival of Nepal. Hindu people celebrates it in the month of Feb/March where God Shiva is regarded as supreme Hindu god of creation as well as destruction. Maha Shivaratri is birth-night of Lord Shiva.
Nepal has large number of Hindu people who strongly believe to god and goddess. There are 80% Hindu people in Nepal who visit Pashupatinath Temple during Maha Shivaratri festival. During this festival, Hindu people visit Pashupatinath temple which lies in eastern part of Kathmandu. Pashupatinath temple is a temple of God Shiva, who is sitting in the form of Pashupati (Lord of Animals.) On the Occasion of this festival, thousand of Hindu people worship to Shiva’s sexual part called SHIVA LINGA. Holy Men (Sadhus) who have long hair and beard smoke hashish and walk naked near the temple and bless to the people to have creation. People light the sacred fires, and speak mantra “OM NAMA SHIVBHYA”.
It is said that God Shiva protected world from the dangerous poisons, therefore people started to celebrate this festival by thanking Shiva for protecting world. During this festival, Hindu people have whole day fasting who worship to Shiva Linga by chanting mantras, offering Beal Leaf and pouring water and milk on the Linga.
Who is God Shiva?
There are three powerful Gods in Hinduism. They are Brahma (God of Creator), Bishnu (God of Operator) and Shiva (God of destroyer). God Shiva lives in Himalaya region at Mount Kailash with wearing sanke and deer skin by smoking hashish. Shiva plays his musical instrument called DAMARU and Trishul. Shiva wearn Rudraksha on his neck having long hair and ox is his vehicle. Parvati is the wife of Shiva having two sons; Ganesh and Kumar.
Vijaya Dashami| Dashain (Popular Festival in Nepal)
Without a doubt, Dashain (Vijaya Dashami) is the biggest and famous Hindu festival. In Nepal 80% people celebrate this festival in the month of October and November beginning from the bright lunar fortnight and ending in the day of full moon. This festival is fifteen days long and most important days are 1st 7th 8th 9th and 10th.
Dashain (Vijaya Dashami) signifies victory of goddesses over demons. This festival also represents victory of good deeds over the evil. Goddess Durga defeated Mahisashur in this day. As the symbol of power, victory and divine mother people worships her. This festival also symbolize truth, justice, virtue, good deeds prevail over deception, injustice and wickedness. Ghatasthapana is the first day of Dashain festival. It is the first day of bright half of the lunar calendar in the month of October. In this day, people fill the Kalash with holy water and barley or corn seeds in the kalash which is kept in the corner away from the sunlight. Seeds are grown five or six inches long yellow grass. This grass is also known as Jamara.
It is the seventh day of Dashain festival. Brings fulpati Jamara, flowers, red tika, and some other things from Gorkha district to Kathmandu after walking three day which is 179 km far from Kathmandu and practice parade in Kathmandu. The president/prime minister and other high official members observe the parade and fulpati is taken to Hanuman Dhoka royal palace.
It is the eighth day of Dashain festival. In this day Hindu people sacrifices hundred of goats, buffaloes, and ducks to goddess Durga. Durga need blood and blood is the symbol for its fertility. The night of this day is also popular as Kal Ratri(black night). The old palace in Basantapur Hanuman Dhoka opens throughout the whole night and sacrifices in every all courtyard. In this midnight they sacrifices 54 goats and 54 buffaloes.
It is the ninth day of Dashain festival. This day is the last day of Navaratri. In this day people also sacrifices goats, docks and buffaloes. Normally, people worship to the things such as cars, motorbikes, buses, machines, factories. The Traders, craftsman, mechanics worship to their tools, equipment’s and vehicles. In this day, Taleju temple in Hanuman Dhoka opens where devotees can go and pray to goddess Taleju.
Finally, The tenth day of this festival is “Vijaya Dashami”. This is the most important day of the festival. In this day, Hindu people of Nepal mixes rice, yogurt, vermilion powder and they put Tika on the forehead which is the symbol of long live, good life, good work, successful, peace and wisdom. Normally, father and mother put tika and jamara to their son, daughters, and relatives. And sons, daughters give small amount of money to their parents as a “Dakshina”. This system continues till full moon day in which period, families and relatives visit each other. Apart from this, Playing cards, flying kites, bamboo swings, buying things, wearing clothes, eating meat and different other celebration are the main features of Dashain festival.