The Dashain festival began as a harvest festival in Nepal, as well as other parts of India. Evolving from a festival celebrating the harvest, Dashain became a celebration of the battle of the Goddess Durga against Mahisasura. Mahisasura stands for wild buffalo. This was a battle of good versus evil.
Throughout the presentation, given by Sajjan KC, many pictures were shown of Goddess Durga and her companion, the lion. The battle pictures of Durga and Mahisasura, the lion, were also present helping fight the battle.
The celebration lasts a total of 15 days; the dates of the celebration this year were Oct. 5 through Oct. 19. The battle was fought for 10 days, and on the eighth and ninth days of the festival many sacrifices are made to the Goddess Durga.
The blood is known to pacify Durga. Even though these sacrifices may seem brutal and unnecessary, it is a tradition. Each part of the animal is used with another part of the celebration, so there is no waste. Sajjan stated that there are 50 to 100 sacrifices per day during this time of the celebration. Some of the animals are put towards the feast.
“We all helped cook the food,” said Parishwi Giri, who helped organize and put together the Dashain celebration this year. “It was a good to spend time together. This experience really makes us feel good. Also, it was good to see many younger students here this year. We asked professors to have their students come so they can experience our culture.”
Almost every student in attendance tried the food that was prepared.
“It was a really cool experience getting to be a part of another culture that I otherwise would not have been exposed to,” said sophomore Sarah Janssen, who was attending Dashain for the first time. “The food was also a really interesting aspect. I felt as though I was actually participating with their traditions.”
But before the food was served, tikka took place. Tikka is created with vermillion powder, yogurt and rice. Tikka symbolizes fertility and prosperity while also reiterating familial blood ties. The eldest in the household or family would give this blessing to younger members. The tikka ceremony was extremely interesting.
“Tikka is my favorite because it brings people together, especially family,” said Sajjan KC. “It is mostly close relatives that come together, but also during this time distant relatives will visit. It’s amazing to see people come together. The whole celebration just really brings people together.”
The celebration of Dashain even on Loras campus brought people of different cultures together. Dashain is about bringing people together to celebrate the winning of good versus evil.
“I loved it,” said sophomore Dustin Schafbuch. “I love diving into other cultures from around the world.”