Chaite dashain is the last festival of the Hindu calendar and also known as the Small Dashain. It is also the major festival of the Hindus which carries great religious and cultural significance. The festival has two days of celebration. First day is Ram Nawami and the second Day is Dashami. Some parts of Nepal and India , Chaite Dashain is also known as the Chaitra navratri. This festival has the same days of importance as the 10 days of the Vijaya Dashami even though it is publicly celebrated for 2 days. Chaite Dashain is a celebration of the victory of good over evil.
Ram Nawami is the birthday of Lord Ram Chandra and Chaite Dashain is the day when Lord Ram came back to Ayodhya with his wife Sita, brother Laxman, Hanuman and his military after 14 years of his exile. People of Ayudhya celebrated this day as a festival and this started the trend. In Hinduism, Lord Ram is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is known as Maryada Purusottam Ram. He was dutiful and obeying. Maryada Purusottam Ram was a great king, good husband and a great son. He showed the example of what humans should be.
He set an example of a son by accepting his exile for 14 year from his country only to fulfill his father’s promise. Maryada Purusottam Ramset an example of a caring and loving king, who sent his wife to forest again to satisfy his countrymen. He was a loving husband who was always loyal to his wife Sita. He did not marry anyone even for the biggest Yagya, Ashwamegh Yagya. Maryada Purusottam Ram put a golden statue of Sita with him to perform the Yagya. (Wife should be present together with the man performing this Yagya.) Ram Chantra is an example of a man. Ramayana is a way of living epic.
Ravan was the king of Lanka. He was one of the most brilliant persons living in his age. He was an engineer and a scientist. He was the first one to fry aircraft and first one to use biodiesel about 5000 years ago. He had ten heads and could think equally with all his ten heads. The ten heads signifies his brilliance, he was ten times brilliant than anyone living those days on the earth. He was believed to be brilliant enough to build a flying device.
The aircraft made by Ravan is called Puspak Biman. He was very hard working and brilliant but he was too arrogant. He was not allowing saints and god believing people to perform their worship and started thinking himself as a God. He was very impressed by the beauty of Sita and abducted her from the forest and flew her to Lanka in his Puspak Biman. Ram after a long battle killed him and freed Sita. The kingdom was given in the safe hands of Ravan’s brother Bibhisan.
The victory of lord Ram over Ravan is symbolically regarded as the victory of human beings over the ten sense organs, five belonging to knowledge and 5 to the actions of us Human Beings. It is said Ram Chandra worshiped Goddess Durga Bhawani for 9 days before Ravan was killed. Therefore, these 9 days are regarded as worship days and the tenth day is the victory day to take Prasad. People used to celebrate the big Dashain (Bada Dashain) during this time. But due to the start of summer, people started suffering a lot from health problems due to the heavy food they eat during this festival. Therefore, the same festival is moved to autumn with the same celebration.
This festival is celebrated for two days, the first day is known as the Ram Nawami. On this day people fast for the whole day without eating anything . The devotees visit different Ram Sita Mandir to pay their offerings and pray to the Lord ram. Janaki Temple is mostly crowded with the pilgrims from all over the country and India. The next day is known as the Dashami or Chaite Dashain. During this day, they enjoy different delicacies and dishes. Different temples of Goddess Durga are crowded all over the country. An important aspect of this festival as also of Bada Dashain is the animal sacrifices, which are essential to appease Goddess Durga. Hence blood sacrifices are carried out in the temples of the Mother Goddesses who are manifestations of Goddess Durga. Many water buffaloes and goats are sacrificed during this festival. Major sacrifices take place near the Hanuman Dhoka palace at the guardhouse and also at Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Tourists may take photographs of the sacrifices from a distance.
The story goes that Ravan the demon king kidnapped Ram’s wife Sita and disappeared. Ram then invoked Goddess Durga and destroyed Ravan. Another version of the story has Sita taking the form of Goddess Kali, the dangerous form of Durga and killing Ravan with her own hands.
During this auspicious day, the government gives public holidays so the people can enjoy this great festival with joys and happiness. People enjoy their off day with their family, friends and relatives. On this day various dishes and invite their relatives to the feast.
When I was a child I used to think why there are two Dashains in the Year. I used to demand for the shopping as I thought this was also the same Dashain as the main Dashain. We always have feast during these great festivals. I used to have fun with my cousins and family. We still celebrate this great festival with the same joys and happiness as we used to celebrate before. On this day my grandparents put tika as a blessing to everybody in the house and my mom and aunts cook delicious food. We also talk and receive dakshina (money) from my grandparents as the form of blessings from them. Likewise married women of my house go to the nearest temple of Goddess Durga to offer the praying and devotion.
My grandmother told me why we have two Dashain in the year. She told me a story that a long time ago, people used to celebrate actual dashain during this time, but the season was hot and there were no modern technologies. The meat and other dishes would go bad and it would affect the health of the many people. But this was also the main time to celebrate this festival. So it was only celebrated for two days and the main festival started to be celebrated during the month of Ashwin or Kartik as they are the springtime. And finally I understood why there are two Dashain in the year.
Each festival of our country has great religious, cultural and traditional values. Our country has a diversity of people who have their own festivals, rites and rituals. Chaite Dashain is also the main festival of the Hindu with great religious and cultural significance.
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