In the months of Ashwin and Kartik, Hindus observe a 10 day ceremony of fast, rituals and celebrations to honor the triumph of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Thus, it is a celebration of victory of good over evil.
This celebration starts from Navratri and ends with the tenth day festival of “Dussehra”. Navratri and Dussehra is celebrated throughout the country at the same time, with varying rituals, but with great enthusiasm and energy as it marks the end of scorching summer and the start of winter season.
The tenth day after Navratri is called Dussehra, on which number of fairs are organized throughout northern India, burning effigies of Ravana. It is also called “Vijaya Dashami” or “Vijayadasami” as this day marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. Vijaya Dashami is considered to be an auspicious day for the Indian householder, on which he worships, protects and preserves ‘Shakti’ (power). According to Scriptures, by worshiping the ‘Shakti’ on these nine-days the householders attain the threefold power i.e. physical, mental and spiritual, which helps him to progress in life without any difficulty.
The ‘Ramlila’ – an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day (Dussehra or Vijay Dasami), larger effigies of Ravana, his son and brother – Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set to fire.
The theatrical enactment of this dramatic encounter is held throughout the country in which every section of people participates enthusiastically.
In burning the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of truth and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways.
When is Dussehra 2016?
Dussehra is the last day of Navratri; it falls on the 10th day of the waxing moon during the Hindu month of Ashvin (around September or October). Dussehra in 2016 is on October 11 (Tuesday).
Dussehra Puja is an eminent part the Vijayadashami celebrations on the 10th day of Navratri. Besides celebrating Lord Ram’s triumph over the demon King Ravan of Lanka by burning effigies of Ravan, there are certain rituals and customs that need to be observed while performing a Dussehra puja.
There are two widely known legends behind Dussehra, the essence of both being the victory of good over evil. The most popular one of Lord Rama’s victory over the the Lankan King Ravan is relevant in North India, while the celebration is South India is based on the legend of Goddess Durga’s triumph over the demon buffalo king, Mahishasura.
Dussehra is widely celebrated and a very significant festival for the Hindu population of the country. Although celebrated in a different manner in the various regions, the essence of the festival isn’t lost on anyone. Dussehra celebrates the triumph of the pure and good over bad and evil.
Ramlila is a unique feature during Dussehra Celebration where stories from the Ramayana, especially the war between Lord Ram and Ravan are re-enacted in plays and skits.
Dussehra Mela (Fairs)
Mela or fairs are a major highlight of Dussehra festivities. Fairs are organized in cities where stalls are set up for shopping and joy-rides and other activities for kids are organized, and the streets are bustling with people gathered to see huge effigies of Ravan burn. Kota Mela and Mysore Dasara Fair are some of the famous fairs on Dussehra.