CREDOS: Dashain — I

Dashain is the 15-day national festival of Nepal, and a state festival of Indian states of Sikkim and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.

It is also a national holiday in Bhutan. Now it is celebrated all around the world by the Nepali diaspora. The festival falls around September-October, after the rice harvest.

This festival is known for emphasis on family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community ties. People will return from all parts of the world, as well as different parts of

the country, to celebrate together.

The festival is a blend of Hindu Tantrik and animistic harvest festival traditions. On the first day, called Ghatasthapana, the "Dashain Ghar", or special worship room, is set up —this room is used to worship the Astha-Matrikas (the eight tantrik goddesses) as well as the Nava Durgas (the nine durga goddesses), to whom the festival is consecrated. Married women will say the mantras for the next fifteen days, and guard the goddesses.

Barley is sowed on big earthern pots which have a coating of cow dung. These seeds will sprout in ten days. The sprouts, which symbolise a good harvest, will be decoratively placed on the heads of family members later on in the festival as a blessing.

On the seventh day, Fulpaati, the town of Gorkha sends an offering of flowers into the capital. A band associated with the army also plays its music and goes through the old core of the city

of Kathmandu.