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.
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.
When is it 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.
Dussehra 2016 will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 11.
Dussehra 2017 will be celebrated on Saturday, September 30.
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.