Dussehra is a major Hindu festival celebrated with zeal all across India. It is also known by names like Vijaya Dashami or Dasara. “Dussehra” or Das-Hara means Lord Rama’s victory over the ten headed demon Ravana. Hence, it celebrates the victory of good over evil and reminds humankind that goodness will always prevail over evil. There are a lot of legends surrounding this festival.
Origin of Dussehra Festival
Dussehra marks the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana and freed his wife Goddess Sita from his palace in Lanka. Also, it was on this day that Goddess Durga defeated the demon Mahishasura. She fought with the demon for 9 nights and on the evening of the 10th day, she killed him. Another holy legend that makes this day special is the return of Pandavas from their exile to claim their kingdom, according to the epic Mahabharata.
These 10 days of celebration has equal importance. People worship Lord Rama and Goddess Durga for prosperity, happiness and success. Small celebrations like satsang, keertan, bhajan evenings are arranged these days. Many people also believe that it is lucky to start a new project or work on these days. Several types of dishes are made and offered to Lord Durga. That is been distributed to people as Prasad. On the day of Dussehra public holiday is declared. All the offices, shops are closed even people has to arrange their own vehicle for travelling.
When Dussehra is celebrated?
Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of Shukla Paksha, in the Hindu month of Ashvin. The first 9 days of this period are called “Navratri” and are considered sacred. All forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped during Navratri and the 10th culminates the festivity with the divine celebration of Dussehra. According to the Gregorian calendar, the festival falls in September or October.
According to Hindu mythology in the month of Ashwin (according to Hindu calendar) Goddess Durga come home and spread blessings to all. These nine days are spent with full of spiritualistic atmosphere and worship of Goddess Durga. On the 10th day Durga Maa’s farewell is celebrated. People dance, worships and throw colors on each other in front of Maa Durga’s statue. During these days many people do jagratas, havan and kanya poojan to please Goddess Durga.
How is Dussehra Celebrated?
In Northern India and Maharashtra, Dussehra commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Several dramas and plays based on Ramayana are enacted in “Pandals” and are called “Ramlila”. People indulged in singing hymns and huge parades and outdoor fairs are set up. Fireworks, bonfires and burning effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnada and his brother Kumbhkarana are important parts of the celebration.
It is a tradition to worship all 9 forms of Goddess Durga during Navratri. People observe fasts and plant barley in an earthen pot on the 1st day of Navratri. On Dussehra, these sprouts are used and are considered as a symbol of luck.
Importance of Ram Lila
It is mentioned in holy book of Hindu’s Ramayan that Lord Rama defeated demon Ravan and rescued his wife Sita, from that day people started celebrating Dussehra. Ravan was a demon who was creating troubles to sages in ancient period. Keeping these things in mind even today people play Ramlila. Ramlila is a play of 10 days in which whole journey of Lord Rama is depicted. People set stages for the play, get ready themselves according to the role given to them. As we all know Ayodhya is a place where Lord Ram took birth. In Ayodhya there is a place where Ramlila is played thru out the year. On the day of Dussehra people go to Dussehra mela and enjoy seeing Ravan burning by the hand of Lord Ram. It is also symbol of victory of good over evil, humanity over cruelty.