Get together, merry making, blessings and enjoyment is what Dashain is all about. But the way we celebrate Dashain or the anticipation we have with the arrival of this festival changes as we age — for many Dashain during their childhood is not the same today. And some celebrities recall their Dashain when they were children, while sharing with The Himalayan Times the changes they have seen over the years
As a child dakshina and new clothes were the most important things for me during Dashain. I used to remove tika from my forehead if I got less dakshina than expected. I had to buy new clothes, one month before Dashain. I would keep them in the cupboard and show them to my friends. We were five siblings, and my parents would not let all of us to go to our maternal uncle’s home together — we had to take turns. I used to cry a lot when I could not go to Mamaghar during Dashain.
Time has taught me that Dashain is about getting blessings from elders and spending time together. I can go to Mamaghar every Dashain in my own vehicle, I don’t have to go in public vehicles. But I feel more responsible towards my family these days; I am proud and lucky to be the one who can take responsibilities in the family.
Best thing today
This Dashain is going to be amazing as my younger brother is getting married and I have also become a director from an actor. I am excited to go to Biratnagar to celebrate Dashain as well as the success of the movie Chhakka Panja.
— Deepa Shree Niraula, Director / Actress
We used to have much fun during Dashain. Once when I was playing swing, I fell on a field. Since then, I feel dizzy every time I play the swing.
Hailing from a lower middle class family, it was quite difficult for us to have a lavish Dashain celebration then. As for new clothes, my parents would buy school uniform for me in Dashain due to our financial condition.
Even during my college days, I wouldn’t have enough money to buy pants that would cost Rs 160. But I managed to buy them one Dashain. Sadly, as I tried to wear those back home, I discovered that those were bigger in size. However, I put those on — after altering the waist using a safety pin.
We also used to sacrifice goats during Dashain. Once, my father brought home a small goat. I always wanted a big goat. In order to make this one bigger, I fed it banana leaves and other fodder. Unfortunately, the goat suffered from diarrhoea and lost five kilos.
And we had a culture of eating at out relatives’ places during Dashain. But when those relatives used to come to our place during the festival, I used to think that they would eat all the meat varieties prepared for us at my house.
Those days were filled with scarcity, we even took a loan for celebrations. Our parents even used to argue about the amount to give as dakshina for those coming to our home to put tika as there wasn’t enough money then.
It is not the same these days — all of us are economically stable and I like it. I feel it is a part of development. Though all family members are scattered these days, we continue to celebrate Dashain.
Best thing today
There is lot of intimacy and bonding during festive celebrations these days, and it is just the same like it used to be during our childhood days.
— Sitaram Kattel (Dhurmus), Actor
We used to get a long Dashain vacation, and we would mark the calendar in advance. There used to be a family get together and I enjoyed that. I used to enjoy people returning home for Dashain, and meeting them, who weren’t in the village (Nuwakot) for an entire year, was a real fun for me.
Since my childhood, I was always against the dakshina tradition, and didn’t like animal sacrifice. Once we bought a goat with long ears. We took good care of it and the goat was in good health. And in Dashain, it was killed — its eyes were filled with tears when it was about to be killed. I still can’t forget those eyes.
As a child, I didn’t have any responsibility. These days the responsibility has shifted to me, so there is more rush during the festival. And it is the children who enjoy the festival more in my family. I also participate in their fun-filled activities. Shifting of the responsibility is natural and I like it too.
Best thing today
There isn’t any such remarkable thing about Dashain celebration these days. The family members are busy on smart phones and tablets. And I tell them not to be busy with those electronic devices. Other than that, Dashain is fun.
— Dipendra K Khanal, Film Director
We had an extended family — families of five grandfathers lived together. I was the youngest, so it would take a long before it would be my turn to put tika on the day of Dashami. While waiting for our turn, we used to play swing sets in the Peepal tree. I was the leader of around 40 girls’ gang who used to gather around the swing to play.
Interestingly, Dashain was all about dakshina, new clothes and having fun. My mother used to take me for shopping. We would also enjoy at funpark.
Time has changed so many things about Dashain. When I go to my mother’s home I feel like I have reached another planet. Half of the people I know are settled abroad and most of my friends are away after getting married. There are many developments in terms of roads and houses. The Peepal tree is swing-less even during Dashain. Most of the neighbours at my mother’s place don’t recognise me as her daughter. During Dashain I don’t like Kathmandu, as the crowded city turns just the opposite.
Best thing today
Peace is maintained in the family during Dashain. Problems are solved and people enjoy the festival together with delicious food and blessings from the elders which is the wonderful aspect of Dashain.
— Sugarika KC, Former Miss Nepal/Social Entrepreneur
Most people would return to their homes from the Capital during this festival. I too would wish to travel on a night bus with 2×2 folding seat and go to the village to celebrate Dashain. But I lived in Kathmandu as a child and all my family members lived here. So, we need not go outside the Valley for Dashain celebration. I used to feel sad then. However, I used to go to Kalanki and Gaushala to see off my friends, who would be returning home. I also used to play swings. And the empty roads of Kathmandu during the festival used to make me fell emotional.
Dashain celebration used to be like today, but there would be no sacrificing of animals in my home.
The excitement regarding the celebrations isn’t the same. It was difficult to celebrate Dashain then as we had to depend upon the income of only one family member. We are economically stable now, though the celebrations don’t seem to be the same.
Best thing today
The best thing these days is that we get a long break from work. Though I am a freelancer and not engaged in any company, I feel happy as I can remain free in this festive time.
— Subin Bhattarai, Writer
A version of this article appears in print on October 01, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.