As we near Dashain or Bijaya Dashami, the main Hindu festival, we are experiencing a change. During this occasion, elders place a ‘tika’ on the foreheads of their younger relatives as a means of blessing them.
The auspicious ‘Red Tika’ contains rice grains, yogurt, and vermilion. The festival also includes barley, a plant that is central to the festival, besides rice. The planting of barley seeds signals the beginning of the fifteen-day Dashain festival. Barley grass, or ‘jamara,’ results from barley seeds sown on Ghatasthapana (day one).
The jamara is the grass that emerges when barley seeds germinate. Dashain jamara is yellow, whereas barley sprouts are green. Chlorophyll is the chemical that gives field sprouts their green colour.
What causes jamara to be yellow? Jamara lacks chlorophyll; could this be the cause? Yes, that is correct. Even though these plants are grown in darkness, Dashain jamara lacks chlorophyll. Jamaras are therefore yellowish rather than green.
The Ghatsthapana: The Beginning of Dashain via Kalashsthapana
In Hinduism, Gatasthapana is the beginning of Vijaya Dashami. A ghadha is a pot or container, and a sthapana is to set up. The meaning of establishing a pot is the literal combination of these words.
According to the Hindu calendar, Ghatasthapana falls on the first full moon of Ashwin month (the bright day before the full moon of the next month).
The Kalash (holy water vessel) symbolic of Goddess Durga gets placed in the prayer room (pooja). Either clay or metal gets used to make the pot. The Kalash is filled with holy water, covered with cow dung (dung), and sprinkled with seeds as part of the decoration process.
Jamara gets planted by spreading sand from the river bank around the center, making it a focal point. The sand surrounding the Kalash gets covered in barley seed and sesame. Pundits (priests) select an opportune moment to start the Ghatasthapana.
A priest chants a welcome mantra requesting the blessings of goddess Durga on Kalash for ten days of repose. The Ghata gets offered food items, abir, kumkum, and other colorful powders and flowers. For ten days, the mantra written in Chandi (the text of Chandi) gets recited in the room of goddess Durga Bhawani.
Generally, male members (who have already completed Bratabandha) reads a chapter of Chandi every morning and evening. After taking a shower, they wear clean white dhotis before entering the prayer room.
Ghatasthapana Pooja – what it entails
Kalash, made of clay or copper with an opening, is filled with water, sandalwood paste, flowers, holy grass (dubho), rice mixed with turmeric (akshyata), betel nut, five leaves, five gems, or a gold coin. Kalashes get topped with coconuts – however, some people use garland instead of coconut to keep things simple. With a piece of white and red cloth tied around the neck, the Kalash gets securely fastened.
What do you need to do to plant Jamara, Dashain 2021? Quick guide!
The process of plantation begins after the decoration of the Kalash. It is common to plant seven grains at once, including barley, wheat, maize, and sesame seeds. Other people only plant barley and sesame seeds. The barley gets planted on the sand, which then gets called.
Jamara in Nepali. As a Prasad of Durga Bhawani, it gets put on the head on the tenth day of Dashain, i.e., Bijaya Dashami.
There are a few things you’ll need for the Jamara Plantation:
- Tray made of aluminum or a clay pot (2 medium-sized)
- Soil (sand is best suited for the plantation of Jamara)
- Popcorn kernels (1/2 cup)
- Seeds of Barley/Jau (1 cup)
- A cup of water to keep the soil wet
Follow these step by step directions to get a beautiful jamara this Dashain,
- Soak the corn in water overnight (one day before Ghatststhapaana).
- Make sure that you fill one aluminum tray or clay pot with soil (Leave at least 1-inch space between the corn and jau) on Ghatasthapana.
- In a bowl of water, soak Jau for 10 minutes.
- Water then gets drained from corn and jahu.
- Soil and Jau should be placed over each other.
- Sprinkle water on everything with your hands. Stack another aluminum tray or clay pot on top of the first until the Jamra stands 2 inches high).
- Jamara should be stored in a dark room if you want it to appear yellow.
- Until the day of Tika, water needs to get sprinkled every morning and night. If you do not notice any growth within a few days, do not panic.
- Jamara must be cut with a knife or scissors (1 inch above the soil) on Tika day.
- Happy Dashain to you and your family.
When planting the Jamara, the following mantra “मम महामायाभगवती ( वा मायाधिपति भगवत ) प्रीतये ( आयुर्बलवित्तारोयसमादरादिप्राप्तये वा ) नवरात्रव्रतमहं करिष्ये।” is recited. A holy plate is decorated with flowers and paintings of goddess Durga or with a Durga idol. The idol or painting/photo of Goddess, as well as the Ghata (pot), is decorated with flowers.
During puja, the mantras are chanted differently according to the region and family traditions. People sometimes choose the mantras of Goddess Durga. A wet bed of sand and a pot filled with sand needs to get watered for ten days. The nine days of the festival include fresh flowers and garland. During these nine days of Devi worship, people generally read Chandi or Durga Kavach.
During Dashain, seniors of the family bless those younger than themselves with Durga’s blessings by slipping tika (rice mixed with vermillion powder and yogurt) on their foreheads. Dashain ends on Kojagrat Purnima, the fifteenth day of the festival when people visit their elder relatives and someone they respect for blessings and Tika.
Pandemics have hit this year, so the authorities ask people to stay at home for Dashain this year and not visit relatives.