Dashain has arrived as September nears its end and it is already autumn season. The air feels pleasant as the monsoon in Nepal is replaced by a balmy weather which is neither too hot nor too cold. And for most, it is time to relax and unwind in the Dashain vacation. Students will be at home for the festival holidays and so will most office workers. However, for business people it might mean more working hours to cater to their customers whether it is running clothing stores or sweet and grocery stores. Meanwhile, online stores are racking up a slew of sales to boost up the business. Such sales range from fashion, electronics, furniture, books, cosmetics, necessary sweets and condiments.
For those relaxing at home it means cooking up a feast for family, relatives and friends. Non-vegetarians tuck in meat items as Dashain is about preparing special meat delicacies. People gather around to play cards and put their feet up. And festivals such as Dashain and Tihar come with their unique traditions so that the atmosphere among Nepali communities is that of jovial cheer and jubilance. Further, this time of year, Nepalis abroad tend to return home.
Workers in the Middle East, students at the Western nations and those separated from their family members return home to reunite on this auspicious occasion. Such reunions are a long held tradition in Nepal as people eagerly wait to see their children, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Playing cards and swings, relaxing in the company of family and relatives and enjoying delicious cuisines are all well and good.
However, there is much more than celebrations to the festival holidays. They endorse familial ties as young children learn the intricacies of age-old rites, rituals, traditions and customs of festival season. From one generation to the next, there passes much more than festivities. There is mutual and shared love for the unique features of festivals such as Dashain whether it is receiving blessings from the elders or showering love to the youngsters.
Gifts and greetings are exchanged and relation ties are strengthened. Each year, such celebrations mark the national traditions of one of the oldest standing Nepali festivals. Besides the material aspects of cultural festivals such as Dashain and Tihar, there are also non-material aspects which foster the ‘we’ feeling and a sense of interdependence. Kinship ties are at the height of festivities so that there is a mutual emotional bonding. Especially, blessings are given and received which is the main characteristic of Dashain. The elder members of the family bless the young ones with tika, jamara and well wishes.
Thus, in Nepali society there is a deep veneration for the elderly who are both the treasure trove of wisdom and a source of love and support. Further, they tend to be the stalwart guardians to the younger ones. As such, holidays are a time to let one’s hair down. And vacation time in Dashain is a chance to reflect mid-year while chilling at home with the family. Children rejoice on the endless free time while adults take this opportunity to repose and de-stress. Then there are those who take this time to travel as the weather is quite pleasant. However the manners of celebrations, they are all much necessary respite.