Saturday, September 30, 2017
Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is a major Indian festival celebrated on the 10th day of Ashvin month according to the Hindu calendar. This day falls in the month of September or October. Hindus observe a 10 day ceremony of fast, rituals and celebrations to honor the triumph of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Thus, it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. The day also coincides with immersion of the idol of Goddess Durga.
This celebration starts from Navratri and ends with the tenth day festival of “Dussehra”. Navratri and Dussehra is celebrated throughout the country at the same time, with varying rituals, but with great enthusiasm and energy as it marks the end of scorching summer and the start of winter season.
The tenth day after Navratri is called Dussehra, on which number of fairs are organized throughout northern India, burning effigies of Ravana. It is also called “Vijaya Dashami” or “Vijayadasami” as this day marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Vijaya Dashami is considered to be an auspicious day for the Indian householder, on which he worships, protects and preserves ‘Shakti’ (power). According to Scriptures, by worshiping the ‘Shakti’ on these nine-days the householders attain the threefold power i.e. physical, mental and spiritual, which helps him to progress in life without any difficulty.
The ‘Ramlila‘ – an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day (Dussehra or Vijay Dasami), larger effigies of Ravana, his son and brother – Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set to fire. The theatrical enactment of this dramatic encounter is held throughout the country in which every section of people participates enthusiastically.
In burning the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of truth and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways.
Dussehra Mela (Fairs)
Mela or fairs are a major highlight of Dussehra festivities. Fairs are organized in cities where stalls are set up for shopping and joy-rides and other activities for kids are organized, and the streets are bustling with people gathered to see huge effigies of Ravan burn. Kota Dussehra Mela and Mysore Dussehra Fair are some of the famous fairs on Dussehra. These 75-feet tall statues are stuffed with crackers and once set on fire, they burst to create an extravagant show.
In the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, celebrations start on Dussehra and continue for a week.
In the tribal Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, Dussehra is the biggest festival of the year and runs of a lengthy 75 days! It’s often referred to as the longest festival in the world. Celebrations intensify three days before Dussehra, and reach their peak a day after Dussehra.
In West Bengal, Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja, with the immersion of Durga idols on Vijaya Dashami.
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