India is known as a land of festivals and celebrations. The festival continues for ten days and Dussehra is the tenth day. Many of the Hindu festivals are related to great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and Dussehra is one of the main ones. In fact it is believed that the war between Ram and Ravana went on during these 10 days and Ravana was killed by the hands of Ram on the tenth day.
Dussehra is also called Vijayadashami and is celebrated as victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasura. The festival of Dussehra falls in the month of September or October of the English calendar. In fact, the main message that it gives is victory of good over the evil and success of truth over lies.
Significance of Dussehra Festival
The festival of Dussehra is unique in its perception and significance. According to the great Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Ram killed Ravana on the tenth day that is Dussehra. It is called as triumph of virtue over sin or immorality. Ravana is said to have abducted Ram’s wife, Sita and was also known as a dictating ruler. The end of Ravana meant end of bad and evil spirit as he was a demon by birth too.
Throughout Navratri, Ramleela is organised in many parts of the country and people enjoy the enactment of the play based on Ramayana.
The festival of Dussehra is also known as Durga Pooja and in eastern part of India people worship Goddess Durga all the nine days and celebrate Dussehra as it was on that day that the demon Mahisasura was killed by the Goddess.
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Celebration of Dussehra in Different Parts of India
Here is how Dussehra is celebrated in different parts of India.
Dussehra Celebration in North India - In North India, usually people celebrate Dussehra by burning the effigy of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnath and it is the commencement of the play based on the epic, Ramayana. It is the final day and there is usually a fete organised and enjoyed by people. A chariot carrying Ram, Sita and Lakshaman passes through the crowd and the person enacting Ram aims an arrow to burn the effigies one by one.
Dussehra Celebration in Gujarat - In Gujarat, men and women gather and dance every night of the Navratri and even lot of competitions and shows are organised on this occasion. The songs are usually devotional ones and the dance form is called Garba. Women in their best of attires surround beautifully decorated earthen pots and dance till late night. In many places Garba starts late at night and continue till dawn.
Dussehra Celebration in South India - In South India, the days of Navratri are equally divided to worship three Goddesses, Lakhmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge and learning and Durga, goddess of power and strength. They decorate their houses and steps with lamps and flowers in the evenings. Dussehra festival of Mysore is well known and is celebrated in its own style with pomp and pageantry.
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There are many other stories associated with the festival of Dussehra. No matter what the stories are, festivals in India convey the message of benevolence, peace and love. If the people kept in mind the beautiful and meaningful messages throughout the year, it would have been peace and harmony all around.
However, in India festivals are celebrated by all Indians, regardless of being a Hindu or belonging to any other religion. There is a spirit of brotherhood seen during festival seasons.
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