Dashain is a very important religious Nepali festival which is celebrated for fifteen days. It is the longest and the most significant festival in the Nepali calendar. The first, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth days are the most important as locals travel from all over the country back home to spend it with family.
In Bhaktapur, everyday for the first 10 days, locals visit different deity temples to pay respect and conduct pooja.
Day 1 – Ghatasthapana
Day 7 – Phulpati
Day 8 – Maha Ashtami or Durga Ashtami
Day 9 – Maha Navami or Durga Navami
Day 10 – Vijaya Dashami or Bijaya Dashami
Day 15 – Kojagrat Purnima
On Ghatasthapana day, which is also the day known as Jamara day, a divine Kalash is installed in the Puja room. This Kalash symbolizes the Goddess of Power i.e. Goddess Durga herself. On this day Kalash is filled with holy water which is then covered with cow dung and then barley and other grain seeds are grown on it. These seeds are left to sprout and grow to five to six inches yellow grass for the next ten days. This sacred grass is known as Jamara.
Vijaya Dashami is the most significant day during the fifteen days Dashain festivity. Vijaya Dashami Tika is performed on the very same day. On this day, rice, vermilion and Jamara, which is grown during Ghatasthapana day, are arranged on a plate and this preparation is known as Tika. Elders put Tika and Jamara on the forehead of younger relatives to bless them with abundance in the upcoming year. This ceremony continues for next five days till Kojagrat Purnima.
In Nepal, Dashain is not only a religious family orientated festival but also a national holiday.