Chaite Dashain, the second Dashain

Chaite Dashain is the second of the two Dashain festivals dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga. Unlike Bada Dashain (the big Dashain) it is celebrated only for two days during the month of Chaitra (March-April). This is a second Dashain is also a smaller Dashain. Dashain is celebrated to honor goddess Durga, who, it is believed, appeared in her most powerful form to protect weak from the evil.

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.

It holds similar importance as the Bada Dashain but is publicly celebrated only for two days. While Bada Dashain is celebrated for in the memory of victory of Goddess Durga over Mahisasur, Chaite Dashain is celebrated for Ram’s victory over Ravan.