Dussehra, one of the prominent and widely celebrated festivals in India. It is also known as Dasara, Vijaya Dashami, and Dashain. The festival celebrates on the tenth day of the Ashwin maas or month according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar that corresponds to September or October months. Dussehra in 2018, the Vijaya Dashami is going to be celebrated on 19th October with happiness and prosperity.
The festival has its significance from the history of Hindu Mythology stating the victory of Lord Rama over the Demon king Ravana and the triumph of Goddess Durga on the Demon buffalo Mahishasura. The festival signifies about the victory of good over evil.
The message to be taken from the history of the celebration of Dussehra is to reassure and establish the faith in the man-kind that, good deeds and good people will always win over the bad.
Celebrations of Dussehra 2018 in the United States
Although it’s not a public holiday in U.S.A for Dasara, the people from India celebrate with gathering in one place. They shine in ethnic clothes to show their nationality and respect towards their culture and tradition. Children dress themselves as Lordess Durga, and Lord Rama. They play role-play, sing songs, dance, and will have a big feast together. Ramlila, a popular act that depicts the Ramanaya is the highlight of the event.
In 2018, on the day of Dussehra falls on the same date as Alaska Day which is a public holiday in Alaska. The schools and business may not work as it is a public holiday in the U.S.
Celebrations Dussehra 2018 in India
Even though Dussehra falls on a single day every year, different celebrations happen on various days before and after the day in many parts across India.
In Kolkata of West Bengal, the festival celebrates as Durga Puja. Its a time of joy, devotion, happiness, and celebration. The Pandals in the city has its beautiful themes, unique ideas, and week-long festivities. The lord Durga idols beautifully themed and decorated if worshipped and immersed in water on the Vijaya Dasami day.
In Delhi starting from the day one to till Dussehra, Ramlila performances take place. The story depicts the history of Ramayana and ends with burning the Ravana statue on the day of Dasara.
In Mysore Karnataka, the celebrations happen for ten days by decorating the lord Durga in 10 various attires. A grand street parade culminates on the last day of Dasara.
In Ramnagar near Varanasi, the celebrations begin around a month before the actual day of Dussehra and end on the full moon day that comes after Dussehra. The world’s oldest feature is the Ramlila performance, which has been running from nearly 200 years.
In Kota of Rajasthan, on Dussehra, a three day agricultural fair is held.
In the Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the celebrations start on the day of Dussehra and continue till one week.
In the Chhattisgarh Tribal Baster Region, Dussehra is the biggest festival of the annum, and it runs for a lengthy period of 75 days. It is often referred to be one of the longest festivals of the world. The celebrations intensify before three days of Dussehra and reach their peak on the day after Dussehra.
There are some stories related to the reason why we celebrate Dussehra. The following are some of the most prevalent and famous stories
Hindu Epic Ramayana
The festival has originated from the great Ramayana. The eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama killed the demon king Ravana who abducted his wife, Sita. When we look into the story, Sita is abducted by ten-headed Ravana in the sat-yuga when she was in the forest along with her husband, Rama. The devasted Rama searched everywhere for Sita along with his brother Lakshmana.
Along with Lakshmana, Hanuman and his army of monkeys Rama went all the way to Lanka( Ravana kingdom) in search of Sita. Eventually, they found Sita locked up by Ravana in his garden called Ashoka Van. On his way, he prayed to Lordess Durga to give him enough courage and power to fight with the demon king.
After a long battle with Ravana and his army, Lord Rama killed Ravana and brought rescued Sita. To commemorate Lord Rama’s braveness and the victory of good over evil, people celebrate Dussehra as Vijaya Dashami on this day. Around after 20 days of Dussehra, Diwali festival falls, and it signifies the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita who is abducted by Ravana by defeating him.
The assassination of Buffalo Demon Mahishasur
According to the Hindu mythology, there once lived a demon buffalo called Mahishasur who acquired undefeatable powers. He then started troubling all the Gods of Swarga Lok and the living beings. The mighty gods like Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Lord Brahma even couldn’t defeat him by themselves. Then, they thought of doing something to restore the Swarg Lok and save the living beings. So, they gave rise to Goddess Durga, the despotism of Ma Shakthi and gave her all god-like weapons. Goddess Durga fought with Mahishasur and killed him. On this day we celebrate Vijaya Dashami to remember her victory over Mahishasur.
Worship of the Shami tree
Another story originated from the epic Mahabharatha is about worshipping the Shami tree. The Pandavas has to spend 12 years in exile and one year in disguise as a result of their defeat and banish in a game of gambling by Kauravas. They have planned to spend their last year of exile in disguise. The Pandavas hid their divine powers and weapons on a Shami tree as they do not want anyone to know their identity.
After the end of their exile period, they came back to the Shami tree to take their weapons and worshipped Lordess Durga, their deity. They emerged victorious as they went straightaway to the war field to fight with Kauravas after fetching their weapons.
As the event took place on Dashami, the day considered as auspicious and called as “Vijaya Dashami” as good won over the bad.
Wha ever the story is, the ultimate message is to be good for the people. We have to teach the habit of recognizing what is good and what is Bad. One has to go in a noble path which always asks us to be sincere and kind. In this festive season, people fast for long hours, and it is good for health. They take a high protein diet to stay full and energetic during the festival.