Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

Dashain Festival Nepal, 2024

12 October - 21 October

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The Dashain Festival is the longest and most important celebration in Nepal before Tihar or Diwali. Spread over September or October, depending on the lunar calendar, Dashain sees Nepalese from all around the globe return to their home towns and villages to join in the celebrations that mark the end of the harvest and are supposed to remove all ill-fortune.

Another name for the festival is Dasha-hara; dasha means ill-fortune and hara to remove or take away. The festival also stresses the importance of the family.

The most important days of Dashain are the first, the seventh to 10th, and the last. The celebration is highly controversial as it traditionally involves the slaughter of goats and buffaloes.

Legend of Dashain

The Dashain Festival is said to celebrate the victory of good over evil, specifically the triumph of Parvati (or Durga).

The first nine days of the festival commemorate the battle between the warrior goddess and the demon Mahishasura, whom she eventually vanquished on the tenth day. However, for other Hindus, Dashain actually celebrates the triumph of Ram against Ravan, as depicted in the Ramayana.

Tika and Ping

Nepal Holidays Dashain Festival
Swinging on the large bamboo ping is a key part of the Daishin Festival

Playing of the traditional Malshree dhun marks the start of the festivities, which are characterised by people dubbing children’s foreheads with tika, a mixture of rice, yoghurt and vermillion, for good luck, as well as flying kites.

However, for many the highlight of Dashain is the series of giant bamboo swings, or ping, that are assembled across the country. Taking a swing on the ping is said to take away ill-feelings and rejuvenate the swingers, although it is something not recommended for those with an aversion to heights.

In recent years the festival has courted controversy due to the high number of animals, especially buffaloes and goats, that are sacrificed during the celebrations. But Dashain remains a wonderful, colourful expression of rejuvenation and a celebration of the family. It is a must for anyone travelling to Nepal. On certain days 54 goats and 54 buffaloes are sacrificed in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. In 2019 it is estimated that more than 14,000 goats were sacrificed.

Nepal is a wonderful country to visit, read Travel Begins at 40’s ‘Essential Travel Guide to Nepal Holidays for the Over 40s’.

When is Dashain Festival 2024?

Dashain starts on 12 October, although the celebrations will be spread over a wider period of time, so it’s a good idea to brush up on your lunar calendar before booking your flights.

Where is Dashain Celebrated?

Dashain is celebrated in Nepal and parts of Bhutan and Myanmar, and in India where it is called Durga Puja.

Nepal Photography Tours

The photographs you can see here are provided by Nathan Horton, who runs photography tours across South and Southeast Asia, including two to Nepal, one of which coincides with the Dashain Festival. For more details of the tour, click here.

For more information on the Dashain Festival

Click here.


12 October
21 October



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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

Read more posts by Mark Bibby Jackson →

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