Dussehra

Dussehra 2014 Date

3 October 2014

Dussehra is one of the major festivals of India- the festival that celebrates victory of good over evil, the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. It not only represents this mythological victory of Lord Rama depicted in Ramayana but also make people remember each year that bad cannot survive for a long and that the evil in oneself should be killed by the virtues to lead a peaceful and happy life. The physical representaion of this philosophy each year can be seen in the burning effigy of the ten headed Ravana.

When is Dussehra Celebrated?

DussehraDussehra is celebrated on the day just after the Navratri and Durga Puja festivals in the Hindu month of Ashwin (October/November). It falls on the day of Ashwin Shukla Dashami (tenth day of the brighter half of Ashwin month) and thus is also known as Vijaya Dashami where ‘Vijaya’ indicates the victory of Rama over Ravana and ‘Dashami’ is the tenth day.

Dussehra Date 2014- This year, Dussehra will be celebrated on 3 October 2014.

How is Dussehra Celebrated?

The preparation for Dussehra celebrations begin days before the actual date of Vijaya Dashami. Tall effigies of Ravana and his brothers Kumbhakarana and Meghanaada are made by the skilled artists. These effigies are made of combustible materials like wood, cardboard, paper etc. and they can be as tall as multiple stories buildings or as small as of the height of an average human being. Usually, smaller statues of Ravana are made by local ‘mohalla’ (colony) children who collect money from local residents to make these effigies. Where Dussehra is a big community affair, many feet tall Ravana effigy is made by the organizers that contain fireworks in them. In the evening of Dussehra day, all the three effigies are burnt by shooting an arrow with a fire tip. People rejoice when they see the evil Ravana and his brothers burning at the hands of Lord Rama. Rama is here the main character of ‘Ramlila’- the dance drama which depicts the story of Ramayana for ten days preceding Dussehra. Dussehra is celebrated in all big and small cities of India with similar enthusiasm everywhere. One can see multiple effigies of Ravana burning at ever nook and corner of a city.

Dussehra and Ramlila

Ramlila

Ramlila (Rama + lila) meaning the lifestory of Rama is the melodramatic presentation of Ramayana- the great Hindu mythological epic which contains the story of Rama and which is considered immensely holy by the Hindu people. For ten days, starting from the first day of Navratri till the day of Dussehra, Ramleela is played on stages- big and small- at various places in a city of India. Some of them are organized by local communities with local people playing the characters of Ramayana and some others are organized and performed on a larger scale with professionals doing Ramlila.

Where is Dussehra Celebrated in India?

Dussehra is celebrated all across India. However, there are different ways of celebrating the festival. In north and west India, Dusshera is celebrated in the most famous way of burning the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnada after the ten days’ performance of Ramleela. Large fairs are also organized where people can enjoy shopping in the temporary stalls, eat a variety of foods and sweets and enjoy various swings and rides.  Ramlila of New Delhi is quiet popular among masses.

Mysore Dussehra Festival

The Mysore Dasara festival is also very famous where a large procession called ‘Jamboo Sawari’ is organized for the Goddess Chamundeshwari who killed the demon Mahishasura. The throne of Goddess mounted on elephants escorted by colorful chariots and horses go round the city as a grand parade. Mysore Palace is illuminated with numerous light bulbs from 7 pm to 10 pm daily during the Dussehra festival. In Kullu too, goddess deities are carried around on colorful chariots, with people dancing and singing along the procession.

In Karnataka, a ritual of worshipping household tools is performed on the day of Dusshera. This ritual is followed based on an incidence depicted in Mahabharata- the another great epic of India. It is said that Pandava, the five brothers hid their distinctive weapons meant to fight with evil forces in a Shami tree before going into exile for one year. Upon returning, they found their weapons intact at the same place. They worshipped the Shami tree when they were about to leave for the great battle which they won. Thus, Shami tree is also worshipped in some of the parts of Southern India during Dusshera along with household tools and equipment that now include modern gadgets too like computers and laptops.

Dusshera festival in Kota, Rajasthan is also famous for its extravagant celebrations on the ocassion. Here, a very vibrant and colorful ‘Dusshera Mela’ (Dusshera fair) is organized for which tourists come from all over the world to witness its unmatched enthusiasm and spirit. The Ramlila performed here is also equally famous for its lively presentation during the 10 day festival of Dusshera.

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