Bijaya Dashain: celebrations add colour of joy

Praneeta Mahajan

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, 5 October 2022

Traditional “Tiko ko Thali” or prayer platter (licenced stock)

The nine days & nights (known as Navratri) worshipping the Goddess energy of the universe is a much-celebrated festival in many cultures with Hinduism at their core.

The Feminine Power

The nine days of folklore and storytelling about the goddess Durga and her many forms is revered by all the worshippers. The Goddess is prayed for her sheer love towards all mankind, her courage, her power as well as her ability to both create life and destroy all evils.

Idol of goddess Durga (Licensed Stock)

These stories are both mesmerising and reminiscent of traditions that many have grown up with. Being worshipped as the Mother goddess, the love and connection one feels are like no other.

It is fascinating, especially in today’s World where talks about gender equality and feminism are gaining momentum, how the Eastern cultures have not only believed in these principles but celebrated the power of womanhood through many rituals and traditions.

Celebration For Nepali Community

We turned the spotlight to Nepal, for the celebration of Bijaya Dashain, which takes place today across New Zealand as well as all Nepali families around the World.

Being the most celebrated festival in Nepal, the day signifies the Win of Good over Evil. It is celebrated over 10 days where people fast for the first nine days and then commemorate the festivities on the tenth day with a feast with friends and family.

Celebrations begin with the eldest member of the family who shares their blessings by putting red Tika (a mixture of rice, yogurt & red vermillion) and giving gifts to the family’s younger members.

Dashain Celebration with elders (Photo Supplied)

While the tika symbolises peace, the jamara or Wheatgrass symbolises blessings from Goddess Durga.

The festivities include many traditional sweets, Nepali delicacies like a traditional goat curry for some families and time with your extended family. Traditional swings are also put up for the festival, which is a highlight in itself.

Waikato Story, Straight from the Heart

We spoke to Kritika Gaire, an enterprising young girl who has called Hamilton home for almost a decade. She remembers the celebrations back home in Nepal with kite flying and traditional swings but she feels the essence of celebration is still preserved in the version they have created as a community, through a common love for traditions.

Celebrations & Feast are interlinked (photo supplied)

She said while the grandeur of festivities in Nepal is unparalleled, she loves the fact that she gets to share her culture and traditions with her friends in Hamilton.

Her Mother, Radha Gaire said she misses the presence of elders and all the loved ones, who come together to celebrate Dashain back home. She said while a video call does make them connect with family back home, it is a bittersweet experience to celebrate without everyone’s presence in one place and the untapped fun they miss out on.

Kritika Gaire with her family (Photo Supplied)

This year, the “Nepal New Zealand Waikato”, a community with more than 400 members will be celebrating the event on the 7th of October at the Hamilton Gardens. The community has some famous personalities participating as well. Nepal New Zealand is one of the active organisations in Hamilton, which even takes part in the annual Christmas parade.

Like all festivities around the World, Dashain also makes one feel the warmth and vivacity of human relations and the spirit of celebrating life.

Praneeta Mahajan is our Waikato Reporter based in Hamilton.

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