The Role of Cash in Celebrating Dashain
Dashain has begun—the longest and most anticipated festival on the calendar of Nepali Hindus—and cash will play an important role in the celebrations, not just bringing joy but also offering an excellent opportunity to teach young people about budgeting.
Symbolising the victory of good over evil, the first nine days of Dashain mark the battle between the goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura. Durga triumphed on the tenth day, and this most auspicious occasion is celebrated with elders giving dakshina (small amounts of money) to their young relatives, along with blessings.
Brand new banknotes are much coveted at this time of year, with banks and financial institutions across Nepal handing them out since late September. This year, anticipating long queues, Nepal’s Central Bank opened the note exchange service in all 27 commercial banks and branch offices across the country, preparing to distribute new notes worth 35 billion Nepalese rupees.
Kathmandu-based financial news outlet Share Sansar notes that on the day of the Dashami, when children receive their daskshina, families have the perfect opportunity to introduce lessons in budgeting to the festivities.
Shopping in Dashain can be a great way to teach kids about spending habits… This is exactly the right time to teach kids how to count money, the uses of money and the power of money.
Children will inevitably have their eye on certain toys or clothes, and handing them tangible money in the form of banknotes empowers them to make their own spending decisions (as well as learning that when all the notes and coins are gone, their moment of financial power is at an end). Will they spend all their money at once on an expensive item, or make it last with a number of smaller purchases? The decision is theirs, and the choice they make one year may well inform future choices.
Alongside flying kites, playing cards (often for cash, which can offer older family members a refresher lesson on the value of money), decorating the home and enjoying Dashain cuisine, the tradition of cash gifting can contribute not just to a happy occasion, but to a lifetime of prudent budgeting.