Dussehra festival is a major Hindu festival celebrated in India. It is celebrated on the tenth day of Hindu month Ashwin according to the lunar calendar. Dussehra festival generally comes in the months of September or October. Dussehra 2017 is celebrated on 30th September. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil; it is celebrated to mark the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana. It also typifies the victory of warrior Goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. Dussehra celebrations last up to 10 days.
Why and How Dussehra is celebrated?
Dussehra is a combination of two Sanskrit words ‘Dusha-hara’ which means removal of ten bad qualities. It is having various regional names like ‘Vijayadashami‘ ,’Dashain’, ‘Dashain’. Dussehra also commemorates the end of an auspicious nine-day festival known as ‘Navaratri’. After Nine days of Navaratri, the tenth and last day is Dussehra. The traditions and ways of celebrating Dussehra may vary in several parts of the country, but its concept remains same. The Dussehra is filled with enthusiasm, éclat, glamour and show. It offers everyone a unique opportunity to plunge in the festive mood and celebrations will fill the life with a hop, happiness and energy. Here is how Dussehra is celebrated in different regions of India?
Dussehra celebrations in North India:
In Northern region of India, Ramleela is the spotlight of Dussehra celebrations. It showcases the scenes of Ramayana in which Lord Rama’s different phases of life are explained. In Ramleela Rama going to fourteen years of expat, Rama meeting his Brother Bharat, Sita being kidnapped by Ravana, the devastation of Ravana, the return of Rama to Ayodhya all are enacted and displayed.
In Kulu valley of Himachal Pradesh, excellent emanations are organized in which village folks will gather in large numbers. The emanations consist of more than hundred deities are set up on the beautiful palanquins. In Kulu Dussehra also Ramleela will be performed. In Northern states, huge simulacrums of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are burnt at vast grounds that are organized by committees in different regions.
Dussehra Celebrations in South India:
Dussehra is a major South Indian festival celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. The nine days before Dussehra are spent in worshipping Goddess Durga. Small effigies known as ‘Bommai Kolu’ are kept on stilted steps and decorated with ornaments, flowers and lamps. On the day of Dussehra, these Bommai Kolu is taken down ceremonially in the form of huge emanation. In Mysore, Gala emanation is organized where decorated elephants are taken down to the brightly lighted up streets of the city. Huge simulacrums of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnath are burnt at huge grounds. The Mysore palace is lighted up during Dussehra season.
Celebrations in East India:
In the states of Eastern India particularly West Bengal, Dussehra is celebrated as the triumph of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura. The deities of Goddess Durga are immersed in water nearby lake or river by devotees, on Dussehra 2017. This is known as ‘Visarjan’. In Orissa effigies of Ravana are burnt.
Dussehra celebration in Western India:
In the western part of India, Dussehra is celebrated with great joy and happiness. Idols of Goddess Durga are immersed in water with the procession. People worship Aapta tree and exchange its leaves considering it as an auspicious symbol. They start a new venture on this auspicious day of Dussehra. People perform regional dances and sing devotional songs during the whole night of Dussehra.
Legends of Dussehra:
Lord Rama was sent to exile for fourteen years by his father King Dasaratha. Lord Rama’s wife Sita and brother Lakshmana accompanies him to live in the forest. In forests, Sita was abducted by Ravana, the King of Lanka. To rescue Sita, Rama with the help of Hanuman and an army of monkeys attacked Ravana and a battle was continued for ten days. On the tenth day, Rama defeated and killed the ten headed demon Ravana. Since then, Dussehra is celebrated.
Another tale is about the legendary Goddess Durga. Once the world was fed up with the torture of Demon Mahishasura, even gods were helpless. All Gods combined their energy to give birth to the mighty warrior Goddess Durga. Durga fought with the demon Mahishasura in a battle and killed his comrades named Chanda and Muna for which she is called as Chamundeswari. The battle was continued for nine days and on the tenth day there was a gruesome battle between Goddess and the demon, however, the demon was killed by Durga. The victory of Goddess Durga on this day is celebrated as Vijayadashami in Karnataka and Eastern India. Dussehra celebrations in Mysore are lavish as the demon King Mahishasura belonged to the royal family of Mysore.
One more tale related to the origin of Dussehra is associated with the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. The legend was after the defeat of Pandavas in gambling by Kauravas, they were punished to leave the kingdom and live in forests for 12 years and one year they must live in disguise by the winners. For 12 year they should live in forests but for the final year, they had to hide to themselves from all their powerful weapons and divinity. Therefore Pandavas hid their weapons under the Shami tree, which was near their abidance. Kauravas made efforts to find out their hidden weapons but were unsuccessful in doing so. After the period of disguise was over, Pandavas went to the Shami tree, worshipped it and retrieved their weapons. It was believed as all this happened on Dashmi day. Thus, this day is known as Vijayadashami, the victory of Pandavas in completing their exile.
Dussehra images greetings:
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