Peoplespeak : Change inevitable, but traditions should be kept alive

In this modern age, we ourselves have also changed. This can be seen in the way our traditional practices have changed. In the past, we used to give a lot of value to Dashain, but now it seems more like a formality. The spiritual values have lessened with time. Previously, Dashain was celebrated mainly as worshipping goddesses as well as a culture of taking blessings from elders which indicated people’s belief on God and their feelings of respect for other living beings. But nowadays we are forgetting our tradition and values. Moreover, now Dashain seems to be celebrated with the slogan, “If there is delicious food, then Dashain is good.”

— Laxman Gurung, Kekhnath, Kaski

In the past Dashain used to be a special occasion for sharing happiness, wishing each other prosperity in the true sense. Now the trend I notice is quite different. Only a few people celebrate Dashain as in the past. Nowadays the majority of people are seen taking this festival as a compulsion, that has to be observed in the name of tradition, culture and religion. Some even seen say,”Dashain hoina garibko lagi dasha” (It’s not Dashain, but ill-fortune for the poor). However, there is no reason to take such changes negatively because changes in every aspect of human life is unavoidable. It is a natural process that continually occurs throughout one’s life — from the cradle to the grave, and festivities and celebrations are no exception. They are an inseparable part of human life. Thus changes are natural. It is not unusual to notice such changes. I strongly believe it comes with the demands of time and circumstances when social, political and economical advancements take place at a rapid pace.

— Hari Kumar Rai, Nayabazar

Dashain is the festival of the year, which washes away almost all the dreams of a man (especially poor and lower middle class). It has become of utmost importance that you have to buy new clothes, otherwise you are not celebrating the festival. But festivals are not to be celebrated with new clothes only (I’m not saying don’t buy clothes, but buy it according to your standards). Theses days there are many other things other than clothes which people buy like accessories and gadgets too. Having all these stuff does make one more confident in front of others, but many people buy all these stuff taking loans from others. This is not the right way to celebrate any festival. By doing such things, you are pushing yourself towards poverty and increasing the ratio of poverty of your own nation. So, celebrate the festival and buy new clothes but according to your standards.

— Tenzin Samphel

Dashain is a time for having fun, get-togethers, being enthusiastic and having delicious food. There are slight variations in the way it is celebrated depending on the community and region. Mostly during Dashain thousands of animals are sacrificed, people buy new clothes and delicious food items. People in the city or outside go home.

With changing time I have seen some differences in the way things were done in the past and present. These changes are that there is a reduction in the sacrifice of animals, cleaning houses, visiting temples and an increase in get-togethers.

Now people have come to know about animal rights and also realised that just sacrificing animals cannot make gods and goddesses happy. They have also come to know the disadvantages of consuming non-vegetarian food. More people are turning vegetarians these days as only visiting temples will not change us or get us blessings.

Earlier, when Dashain came people used to clean each and every corner of the house and wash a pile of clothes. Now people have realised that cleaning is necessary everyday, so they are regularly cleaning their homes. Due to lack of open spaces, kite flying has gradually reduced.

— Khushi

There have been a lot of changes over the years in the way Dashain is celebrated. One such change is socialising. Previously, Dashain was quite a social event than what it is today. People used to invite each other for meals, chat and rejoice together. But this trend is seen to be fading. People prefer to celebrate Dashain more privately, with no one apart from their own nuclear family. Those living in cities don’t care to visit their relatives living in the countryside. Furthermore, many people are seen going on holidays and vacations instead of celebrating the festival with their relatives. This has indeed caused a great harm to our traditions, and I fear that the festival itself will die away in the coming decades if people continue with their selfish ways.

— Sadichchha Pokharel, Kupondole

First of all I would like to say that Dashain is a charming and funfilled festival. Obviously, we celebrate it with fun and it is also celebrated as a symbol of victory. The ways that the Dashain festival is celebrated is almost the same as since previous years. However, there are a few trends that have been added like the expenditure has risen a lot. Most of the adults are engaged in playing cards and drinking alcohol, children are engaged in playing computers and watching TV rather than flying kites. In my opinion, we should preserve our culture at any cost.

— Bikram Man Shrestha, Baneshwor

Change is a necessity in this modern world, but the term ‘change’ must be contextualised. Yes, many changes have been seen till date in the way people celebrate festivals, but I think that people should not give less value to their traditions and norms when they celebrate festivals in a different way. If the changes brought about does not harm our traditions and prove to be beneficial for all, then I think no one will have any objections to it.

— Anuja Koirala

On the day of Ghatasthapana, almost every movie channel on the TV shows movies about the legendary epic of the Ramayana. I watched some of them and was reminded of the time when everybody in the family would gather in front of the TV to watch the weekly Ramayana series some years back. I remembered Sita’s mournful song at the durbar of Lanka, the long clashing of magical arrows and all, but what my crowded-with-other-things mind didn’t answer was why all the movies today? I admit to having needed a reminder that the movies were shown because Dashain had started and Dashain is actually all about celebrating Lord Ram’s victory! Of course I knew this, but what made me forget are all the new styles of celebrating this festival. Maybe not all, but definitely some have been forgetting the main facts behind celebrating this festival, which is a surely a ‘new’ trend. People should not get carried away to the extent that they forget the traditional meanings behind the festivities but get involved in celebrations with a good thought and for the good cause.

— Rashmi

I think when talking about urban areas, Dashain has become more of a vacation rather than a festival. Previously, people returned home from foreign countries to celebrate Dashain, but now people are going away, making the best use of these holidays. Besides, Dashain has become commercialised — all the extravagance people are indulging themselves in. It has become an excuse for people to shop, spend and show off. Well, the brighter side of it is that, there are animal rights activists trying to stop people from sacrificing animals. Though they haven’t succeeded quite yet, it is a start, whatsoever. Happy Dashain!

— Rhea Gurung

When I was a child, I used to enjoy Dashain very much. It used to be a festival of joy and jubilance for me. But with changing times I don’t see the excitement that used to be there in people anymore. We’ve become materialistic and the main reason behind the faded joy of the festival is our thirst for westernisation. The festival that used to make us forget our woes and bring us together as Nepalis, seems to be slowly transforming into a boring holiday that no one seems to enjoy. Dashain has sadly lost its importance and it really is an obligation rather than jubilation for many. In my opinion, it’s sad to lose our identity, culture, customs and heritage. I hope Nepalis will recognise this festival again as a festival to express our solidarity and celebrate our heritage.

— Sushobhit Pokharel

There was a time when Dashain used to be considered entirely a family affair. This festival symbolised an occasion of family reunion. But now our family system has changed and the family size is also shrinking. But Dashain has risen above from family level to a more national and international level. Even foreigners are seen enjoying this festival in their own ways. This is definitely a positive sign as it indicates that our culture is rich, liberal and very accommodative that can embrace all.

However, there are few changes that seem to be devaluing our native culture and its values. Dashain has become more of a time to show off than having religious importance due to the changing ways of celebration. Wasting money purchasing expensive things and throwing lavish parties is growing. Not only this, consumption of liquor and gambling has become an integral part of Dashain celebrations. This kind of attitude has encouraged people to spend extravagantly and has undermined the significance of Dashain. While bringing changes one should be cautious that such changes do not distort the entire ethics and values of a festival like Dashain. Change should be brought about in a way that is acceptable and affordable to the masses. But the kind of changes that are taking place in urban areas have been sending wrong and negative messages to the people residing in rural areas. It is really sad that low income people consider Dashain only for those who are rich and for them it is a dasha (bane). So let us be a bit sensible and celebrate Dashain in a simple manner and break the barriers that are standing between the rich and poor. It is the only way that will make Dashain a happy one for all and will help preserve the glory associated with this festival.

— Ambika Pandey, Chitwan

The difference between the past and present has almost influenced everything. Even festivals and religious celebrations are highly influenced by it. It is not only by purchasing new clothes that Dashain should be celebrated or spending lots of money carelessly on gambling, which is a totally wrong concept. Over the years Dashain is being celebrated without knowing its true meaning. Many don’t know how Dashain came into existence. One of the negative aspects of this festival is the ritual of giving bali, offering animals like goats, hens, buffaloes, cocks, ducks to the Goddess Kali. In order to fulfil this trend, people take money in the form of loans which they are later unable to repay due to which they are compelled to lose even their homes. People try to imitate others which completely swallows all their property. Thus s/he goes completely bankrupt. So, I think Dashain is a festival in which all family members should get together and enjoy themselves rather than drinking and playing cards. It is also the symbol of love of the elders towards the younger ones.

— Manish Sharma,