Dussehra is a very important festival for Hindus. In North India, it is observed as a festival since Lord Ram killed the Demon Ravana on this day. In South India and western India, it is observed as a festival known as Vijaydashmi since Goddess Durga killed a Demon Mahishasura on this day. In central India, Vijayadashami is celebrated since Arjuna from Mahabharata killed 10 lakh soldiers of the Kaurava army and the Pandavas won the war of Mahabharata.
Legends of Dussehra
Three major mythological events took place on the 10th day of the 7th month in the Hindu calendar – Ravana was killed, Mahishasura was killed, and Pandavas won the war of Mahabharata. Dus means 10. Thus, the name Dussehra is very relevant. One of the biggest legends of Dussehra in Ramayana is the Yagya (spiritual ceremony) that Lord Rama performed to please Goddess Durga just before the war. Lord Rama started the Holy ritual by offering exactly 108 lotuses to Maa Durga. Goddess Durga wanted to analyze how focussed Lord Rama was. So, while he was praying she reduced one Lotus. When Lord Ram opened his eyes, he found that one lotus was missing. As a tribute, he tried to take out his own eye to offer his prayers to Goddess Durga. The deity was so pleased with Lord Rama’s devotion that she blessed him with victory against the 10-headed Ravana. The next day, Rama killed Ravana. One of the biggest legends of Dussehra in Mahishasura Purana is that Mahishasura was blessed with immortality since he couldn’t be killed by any man. To defeat him, Lord Vishnu created Goddess Durga. During the war that lasted for 15 days, Goddess Durga found Mahishasur hiding in the form of a buffalo. She killed him with her Trishul.
Dussehra comes exactly 20 days before Diwali, another major Hindu festival.
Dussehra in North India is celebrated as Ram Lila. The day begins with reciting verses from Ramayana in the Praise of Lord Ram.
People decorate their houses with kandeel (fancy colorful decor items that are hung on the ceiling fan). Many people also make Rangoli (a beautiful design that’s made on the floor with colors). A lot of fairs are arranged at various places in the cities where people come in thousands. The act of Ramlila begins by performing a play of Sita abduction and Lord Rama killing Ravana. And at the end of the play, a very big statue of Ravana (that’s filled with firecrackers) is burned as the symbol of Ravana’s defeat. In West Bengal, people observe Durga pooja on Dussehra. Clay statues of Durga Maa are submerged in rivers. Many people make clay statues at home. The statues are carried from the home to the river with a lot of enthusiasm. A lot of music is played and people are very emotional as it’s a farewell to Durga Maa. Women play Sindoor (a celebration where they put vermilion on each other’s face and hair). Sweets and clothes are donated to poor people and all the temples are decorated with lights.
Significance of Dussehra
Dussehra signifies that no matter how long it takes and how difficult the situation is, if you’re devoted to a task, you will always win over evil.
Dussehra 2021 Date(s)
Friday, 15th October 2021.
Dashami Tithi (date) Begins – 6:51 (14th October).
Dashami Tithi (date) Ends- 6:01 (15th October).