Chaite Dashain falls generally in the final month, Chaitra, of Bikram Sambat calendar. It is known as Chaite Dashain or Small Dashain. The big Dashain falls in autumn.Chaite DashainChaite Dashain is a Hindu festival, celebrated mainly in Nepal especially in the month of Chaitra. Regarded as a younger sibling of the Bada Dashain, this festival is celebrated for two days, in the Chaitra Shukla Ashtami and Nawami tithi, according to the Nepali Calendar. The day of Ashtami is known as Chaite Dashain (not the day of Dashain, to be precise, and it’s confusing), and the day of Nawami is known as Ram Navami. The reason for the Ashtami to be celebrated as Chaite Dashain is because this day is considered to be exactly half a year, i.e. six months after the Maha-ashtami. This festival is usually the last festival of the calendar year. This festival is also known as Chaitra-Ashtami, or Sano Dashain in most of the places around Nepal. Similar to the greater Dashain, this festival also symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
It is almost the last festival in Nepali calendar year. After this festival, we have a new year ahead within few days. This festival has two days of celebration. First day is Ram Navami (The birth day of Lord RamChandra) and second day is Dashami. Some part of Nepal and India, Chaite Dashain is called Chaitra Navaratri.This festival has same days of importance as the 10 days of Bijaya Dashami even though it is publicly celebrated for 2 days.Chaite Dashain is celebration of the victory of good over evil.
In the day of Ashtami of Chaite Dashain, people worship Goddess Durga, and animal sacrifices are made in some temples especially in temples of Durga Bhawani. Number of water buffalos, goats, chicken and ducks are sacrificed in Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur Durbar square. In the day after, i.e. in Ram Navami, people take fast, and visit the temple of Ram. A big fair is held in the Ram Janaki Temple of Janakpur, in this festival.
The day of Chaitra Ashtami is given the public holiday by the Government, but the day of Ram Navami is not the holiday. Known as Chaite Dashain mainly because it falls in the month of Chaitra, it does not have much significance as other major festivals though it is named as ‘Dashain’, but still it gives a good way of celebration mainly to the students whose school session ends by then. This festival lies almost in the mid of spring season, and hence the climate too adds a different kind of joy to its celebration.
Story Behind the celebrating Chaite Dashain
Ram Nawami is birthday of Lord Ram Chandra and Chaite Dashain is the day when Lord Ram came back to Ayodhaya 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. He was a great king, good husband and a great son. He showed the example of what human 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. He set 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. He put 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 bio diesel 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 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 being 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 tenth day is the victory day to take Prasad.
According to the legends, Durga came to help Lord Ram (the incarnation of Bishnu), the protagonist of the Hindu religious epic Ramayan. She helped him to kill his enemy Ravan who had kidnapped Ram’s wife Sita. Raven was a ten headed demon King, who could only be killed if he was struck in his chest, a fact Lord Ram was unaware of. It is said that the goddess helped him to get victory against the demon. It is believed that he was successful in killing Ram on the ninth day of the Nepali month of Chaitra, so the day is celebrated as Ram Nawami.
Animal sacrifices are performed during the Chaite Dashain as well, in order to please the goddess. Blood sacrifices are performed in the temple of all the mother goddesses, Shakti Peeths. Many water buffaloes and goats are sacrificed during this festival. Maximum sacrifices take place in front of the Taleju Bhawani temple in the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The sacrifice is performed by the army in the courtyard of the police station at Hanuman Dhoka. This starts from 8 o’clock in the morning and lasts for about two hours. It is done in front of the banners and insignia of various military units. The ritual is concluded after the military commander smears each of the banners with the sacrificial blood. The commoners and the tourists are allowed to view this from a distance.
Rishi Panchami is the fifth day, the next day after Ganesh Chaturthi day in Bhadrapad month of the Lunar calendar. It is a traditional worship of Sapta Rishi. The seven sages – Kashyapa, Atri, Bharadhvaja, Vishvamitra, Gauthama, Jamadagni and Vashishta. In some parts of Kerala the day is also observed as Vishwakarma Puja.
Nepali Hindu women are observing the Rishi Panchami, the last day of Teej festival, worshipping the Saptarshis– the seven saints– as mentioned in scriptures.
On the occasion, women take a bath and carry out rituals for forgiveness for the offences they knowingly or unknowingly made during menstruation for the the past one year. They brush their teeth for 360 times with stalks of Datiun (Achyranthes species) as a part of the ritual. Clad in red attire, women set up the Saptarshis and worship them.
Sources: The Himalayan Times
Teej is one of the most popular festivals for every woman. Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband. Teej celebrations last for three pious days. Teej is the important festivals for woman. In this day, every women looks beauty by wearing red saris, green bangles. They look colorful with beautiful dresses. Women on this day observe Hartalika Teej vrat (fast) and pray to Lord Shiva and Parvati. Women keep this fast without water and stay awake the whole night.
Some reasons for celebrating Haritalika Teej
- It is assumed that fasting in teej without water and pray to lord Shiva may help to bring good husband.
- Women read the Vrat Katha to get blessings of Goddess Parvati.
- It is believed that those who observe the fast of Hartalika Teej, Lord Shiva fulfill all the desires of those devotees.
- Married women celebrate Teej for wellness of their husbands and unmarried celebrate for achieving the love of their husbands and making the life of their husbands secured.
- To bring their happiness of their love life.
- To wish long life of their husband.
- Teej refers to the monsoon festivals and it celebrates the bounty of nature, arrival of clouds and rain, greenery and birds with social activity, rituals and customs.
I have seen my grandmother, mother and sister fast on Teej. They followed it traditionally,” senior journalist Bijaya Poudel expressed on August 27 at Hotel Annapurna, Durbar Marg about Teej fasting. “When I got married, I started to see it differently. My wife fasts for me but I don’t want her to follow the tradition blindly which usually happens. I don’t want her to stay on an empty stomach for the whole day.”
As per Poudel, Teej is more than the Shiva-Parvati myth, rather its celebration should be redefined as per time. He added, “Now Teej is about going to temple, women fasting together and enjoying togetherness. The traditional idea behind celebrating Teej is outdated. I don’t think today’s generation wants to fast to get a husband like Shiva, who like a hippie smokes weed. I don’t think people take him as the perfect husband, instead Lord Bishnu can be symbolized as the perfect husband.”
Giving a new definition to celebrating Hindu’s oldest festival Teej, Poudel stressed on modern ways to celebrate Teej rather than blindly following tradition at the programme ‘Teej Talks — Tweaking Traditional Tale’, organised by Saathi and Jayanti Memorial Trust where society’s prominent figures shared their ideas about the festival.
Actress Deepa Shree Niraula was one of them. To her, Teej plays a vital role among Nepali women. “It is not only the ritual of our sanatana (eternal) dharma but also a platform for women to express and celebrate their life freely in a patriarchal society. On this day, women get one whole day to themselves to wear new clothes, ornaments and enjoy life when otherwise they are busy in their day-to-day life in other days of the year,” she shared at the event.
Agreeing with the actress, Anju Sharma, Executive Director at CIWEC Hospital, shared her views of Teej by reciting a poem Teej. She also pointed out that Teej is “the day for women to express their sorrow and to share their happiness” emphasising “we should celebrate Teej in our own way without showing off money which has become the latest trend”.
Banker Anil Shah was also one of the four speakers at the programme. He talked about the superstitious beliefs and traditions of Rishi Panchami.
On the occasion of Teej, Jayanti Memorial Trust also provided free blood sugar test and heart check-up for women at the event which they have been doing for the last three years. Meanwhile, Dr Bhagawan Koirala shared a few tips on how to be healthy and to be safe from non-communicable diseases.
Sources: Himalayan Times