Ghatasthapana - Begining Day of Dashain Festival
Ghatasthapana is the day from which the dashain festival in Nepal begins. It usually falls on the New moon day of the month Ashwin.
Ghatasthapana marks the beginning of the 15 days long Dashain Festival. The first day of Dashain; Ghatasthapana falls on the new moon of the sixth month of Nepali lunar calendar (September/ October). The day is also an official inauguration and welcome of the traveling season - Autumn.
On this day, people sow the seeds which are later used as 'Jamara' on Vijaya Dashami (Tika). So, it is an important day in the Dashain Festival.
"Ghata" means pot and "sthapana" means establish. So, Ghatasthapana is the day to establish a pot. Priests calculate the auspicious time to perform this event. On this day, people clean every corner of their house. They also separate a special room to plant Jamara and establish Kalash (pot).
Firstly, people make a sandbox in the special room. They decorate the kalash with vibrant flowers, leafy plants and natural colors along with colorful clothes (red, yellow, and white). The red cloth represents strength, yellow cloth represents understanding, and white cloth represents purity. Then they fill the kalash with holy water and place it in the middle of the sand box.
Once they establish the Kalash, they plant barley seeds and other grains like wheat, maize in the rest of the box. People perform the whole event on auspicious time. They also plant seeds on tapari ('Plates made with Sal leaves'). Ghatasthapana concludes with evening arati and this evening artati marks the beginning of Nepal’s main festival - Bada Dashain.
Next day onwards, people water the seeds twice a day (morning and evening). The seeds germinate and grow into 2 - 3 inches long yellow leaves. The yellow leaves are named as Jamara. People use Jamara on the tenth day of Dashain. Elders put tika and offer Jamara on the head of the younger one with blessings.
The sprouting of these seeds symbolizes the prosperity of the worshiping family. People believe goddess Durga will reside within the Kalash during the 10 days when the seeds are growing into Jamara.