Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dussehra - Celebrating Victory of Good over Evil

Popularly known as Navaratri (India) or Dashain (Nepal), Dussehra is one of the major celebrations of Hindus all over the world. It is one of the many Hindu festivals symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin month of Hindu calendar corresponding to September/October of Gregorian calendar.

The first nine day of the festival is celebrated as Navaratri in which devotees worship each of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. And, at the end of the ninth day the tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami meaning victory on the tenth day referring to the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon buffalo Mahisasura on the tenth day. In many parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh it also marks the harvest season and so the worshipping to Mother Goddess is performed to create fertility and vigor in the soil.  

The people celebrating Dussehra greet the festival by decorating their house in a colourful and vibrant way. Kids relish in shopping new clothes while the elders engage themselves in ornamenting their house by cleaning and decorating it with garlands.

History: There are many legend behind the celebration of Dussehra, of them the famed are the two one of Goddess Durga and the other of Lord Rama. Goddess Durga who is a divine form of energy booned by all the main three gods of Hindus including Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma killed the demon king Mahisasura when he created a havoc on the earth and won a war against the devas (gods). As per the legend, when strength of lighting from the mouth of three gods emerged, goddess was born. She rode on a lion and fought the demon but was unable to kill her until the end of nine day and nine nights, at the commencement of tenth day she killed her thus ending the havoc on earth.

Another legend says that, Rama the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu after gaining secret powers from Goddess Durga in Treta Yuga killed Ravana (king of Lanka) who kidnapped Sita. As per both the legends, it is believed that the celebration of this particular festival is observed as the victory of good over evil. 

Major Attractions of Dussehra:

  • Ram Leela is major enactment in which the story of Lord Rama is told until the ninth day and in the tenth day the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Meghnada are set to burn. The person who plays the role of Lord Rama in the play shoots the burning arrow and set the effigies to burn.
  • While burning the effigies, the people in and around are asked to burn the devil inside them.
  • People pray to Goddess Durga to wash away all their impurities.
  • Pandals with idols of Goddess Durga killing Mahisasura.
  • Colourful streets and houses.
  • Delicacies are prepared.

Indian City with Huge Celebration:

Kolkata: It stands atop all the Indian cities in the colourful celebration of Dussehra; one can see the most frantic celebration. Over crowded events, domes, minarets, huge pandals and great enthusiasm make Kolkata vibrant during Dussehra. The 4 daylong event of Kolkata is the most happening with each and every part of the city turning into colourful rainbow.  

Apart from this, Ahmedabad, Mysore and Karnataka are other major place for celebration of this glowing festival.