Dashain: The Most Important Hindu Festival in Nepal


Nepal is home to a large Hindu population. Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in both India and Nepal. It involves many beliefs, including the belief in many different gods and goddesses. Hinduism is also considered by many scholars to be the world’s oldest religion. The longest and most important festival in Nepal is Dashain, a Hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil. 


What tradition did I learn about?:

This past week I learned about and celebrated Dashain, a festival that lasts 15 days. During Dashain, children do not have school.  Many businesses close, especially near the 10th day of Dashain, which is considered the holiest day. Kites are flown from rooftops as the holiday nears. Families purchase new clothes and gifts for children. Bamboo swings are constructed for children to play on, and some adults join as well! There are also sacrifices offered to the Hindu goddess Durga during Dashain. The elders place tika, rice given a red shade mixed with yogurt, on their family members' foreheads as a blessing. I received tika, too, and my host family gave me a new shirt and some paisaa (money)!

Dashain is traditionally celebrated by the Hindu population in Nepal, but many Buddhists also celebrate Dashain. Does Dashain remind you of a festival in the U.S.?