The first day of the Dashain festival is called Ghatasthapana. It falls on the first day after the bright fortnight of the month of Ashwin of Bikram Sambat (B.S.) Calendar. This day makes us feel the beginning of Dashain. Literally, the term “Ghata” means “a pot” and the “sthapana” means “to establish”. While combining them, it denotes the meaning i.e. to establish a pot.
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Besides, the Ghatasthapana can also be known as Kalashthapana because the Kalash is also a kind of pot made up of clay or copper or others. This is the auspicious day to establish the Kalash as well as to plant the Jamara.
Only the boys who have done the Bratabandha (Hindu ceremony to learn the Hindu culture or the beginning of manhood) already and the married women are allowed to perform the Ghatasthapana Pooja and plant the Jamara. The non-family member, unmarried girls, and boys who do not do the Bratabandha are strictly prohibited to enter the room where the Ghata is established. However, this tradition has been changing day by day.
What is Jamara and how is it planted?
Jamara is a kind of plant made of maize, oats, sesame, and other grains. Before planting the jamara, the Kalash is filled with holy water, colorful flowers, holy grass (doobo), rice mixed with holy red color powder, five leaves, a betel nut, and a coin. Then the coconut with water inside is placed on top of the Kalash and tightened it with a red or white piece of cloth. The garland of flowers can also be used instead of coconut for covering the top of Kalash. Cow dung is also used while covering it.
After finishing the decoration of Kalash, the banana leaves are collected in a dark place where the sunlight does not enter and filled with a mixture of sand and soil. Then the Kalash is placed in the middle of such mixture. After then the photo of the goddess Durga is kept nearby the mixture. Then she is worshipped by the colorful holy powder and the different kinds of food. The lamp with sesame oil is also lit. It is also believed that this lamp should be burned for ten days (Vijaya Dashmi).
Finally, the jamara plantation work starts. The people plant everything like maize, oats, sesame, barley, wheat, and other sorts of grain whatever they have. While planting, they chant the hymn for offering the goddess Durga. The hymn is:
“Mama Mahamaya Bhagwoti (or Mayadhipati Bhagwota) Pritaye Aayurbala Wittaroya Samadaradi Prataye (or Nawaratrabratamaha Karisye)”
Every day in the morning till Vijaya Dasami, one of the traditionally allowed family members enters the room where the Ghata is established and pours the water over the seeds with reciting the mantra.
On the tenth day, the jamara becomes yellow in color with 3-4 inches long. Then it is cut and given to every younger as a blessing while putting tika.