Vijayadashami also known as Dussehra, Dasara or Dashain, is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navaratri every year.
Dussehra is all about the goddess in karnataka.
The festival continues for 10 days and dushera is the 10th day. It is believed that the war between ram and ravana went on during these days and ravana was killed by the hands of the ram on tenth day.
As a part of dushera celebrations, enormous effigies of ravana, are burnt in huge open grounds.
When Dussehra Is Celebrated ?
Dussehra or Vijayadashami is an important Hindu festival which signifies the victory of good over evil. This annual festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour by Hindus across the world on the tenth day of the Navratras, which falls on the tenth day of Ashwin or Kartik months as per the Hindu calendar.
How Do People Celebrate In Dussehra?
Durga Puja: A Prominent Festival in India
Come the first few weeks of September, the heart of an Indian thump faster, it is nothing but in anticipation of homecoming of goddess Durga – that is Durga Puja.
Durga Puja is actually, the celebration of ‘life’ and the joy of ‘living’ more than anything else. It’s like all the joys of this ‘city of joy’ is out on its very streets. Durga Puja becomes an expression of the city itself. It is almost that the city bursts into laughter during these few days.
Durga Puja in different states of India
Apart from West Bengal where Durga Puja is the popular celebrated festival, Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura, Orissa also significantly celebrates the festival and has the five days of the puja as an annual holiday. West Bengal and Tripura have the majority of the Bengali Hindus and therefore Durga Puja is the major festival of the year. Durga Puja holds immense socio-cultural importance in the Bengali society. It is the time of reunion, celebration, and to show love and affection towards each other. Other than the eastern part of India, Durga Puja is also celebrated in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kashmir, Andra Pradesh, and Kerala. Durga Puja is also celebrated in Nepal and Bangladesh where 10% of the Hindu population is found. Today many Bengali cultural organizations arrange for Durga puja even outside the country such as United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Singapore, and Kuwait.
Theme based puja pandals
Kolkata ‘sarbojanin’ pujas are renowned for their creative themes and exquisite skills. Several months prior to the puja, committees organizing the puja decide on a particular theme and the elements related to the theme are incorporated into the pandals and even into the idols. Sometimes themes are created to give a particular regional reflection to the pandal and the idol. Popular ones are the Rajasthani themes, Meghalaya or Manipuri themes, Nagaland themes creating a reflection of the lifestyle and festival of that particular region and land. Sometimes the themes are also simple like a famous Durga temple or just a reflection of village life with similar idol or pandals artistically decorated with bamboo leaves, match sticks, glass pieces and even with biscuits and lozenges. Other popular themes are ancient civilizations like the Incas or Egyptians and contemporary subjects like Harry Potter castle and RMS Titanic and many more.
Rituals & Ceremonies surrounding Durga Puja Festival
Durga Puja starts with Mahalaya and is followed by Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami, on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th days respectively.
The celebrations of Maa Durga begin on Mahalaya which occurs on Amavasya. It is held on the last day of the dark fortnight in the month of Ashvin, according to the traditional Hindu calendar. This day is marked by preparing for the arrival of Goddess Durga on earth along with her family consisting of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati, and Lord Kartikeya. A famous legend associated with Mahalaya states that Goddess Durga arrived on earth to destroy the demon buffalo, Mahishasura. The demon king Mahishasura had been granted a boon according to which, he could not be killed by any man or animal. Shakti, the ultimate female power, thereupon took the form of Goddess Durga to kill the demon.
On this day, Mahisasuramardini, a radio program is broadcast in the early morning. About one and a half hours long, it consists of recitation from the verses of Sri Chandi or Durga Saptashati. It is recited by the soothing voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra, and so powerful yet sonorous is his voice that one listening to it is immediately enveloped by a spiritual aura. Since the program is held at daybreak, most of the Bengali households wake up early to listen to this powerful program.
Shasti – 6th Day
Shasti is the 6th day of this wonderful festival, and it is on this day that the pandals are inaugurated. On this day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as Katyayani and adorned with weapons which were gifted to her by different gods to kill the buffalo demon Mahishasura.
Saptami – 7th Day
Saptami is celebrated on the 7th day and is marked by the bathing of the goddess, selection of the priest and recitation of elaborate prayers (aarti). On this day, a group of nine plants called Nabapatrika is tied together as a way to invoke Goddess Durga. These nine planets are believed to represent the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. During the early hours of the morning before sunrise, these plants are immersed in the waters of River Ganga.
Ashtami – 8th Day
Ashtami is celebrated on the 8th day and is considered to be an immensely important day. You may miss other kinds of celebrations, but you should never miss the Ashtami Anjali. The puja which is offered on this day is meant to prepare the Goddess for her battle against Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. The famous Sandhi Puja, which is also offered on this day, is performed at the precise moment when Ashtami ends and Navami begins. In fact, the last 24 minutes of Ashtami, and the first 24 minutes of Navami are regarded as Sandhikhan. This is the moment when Goddess Durga finally killed Chando and Munda, the two allies of Mahishasura who attacked Goddess Durga from behind. The offerings on this day are as grand as the occasion itself. Besides 108 lotuses, 108 earthen oil lamps, single whole fruit, hibiscus flowers, saree, uncooked grains, jewelry, bel leaves and a garland of 108 bel leaves are offered to the Goddess. Even though every family has its own unique way of offering to the Goddess, what is always found in each household is the 108 lamps, lotuses, and bel leaves.
Navami – 9th Day
On the nine-day of the Durga Puja Festival in India, Goddess Durga is revered as a girl child. It is marked by the Kumari Puja, where little girls are adorned in jewelry and makeup which resembles the Goddess. All the other ceremonies, from blowing the conch to swinging the silver hand fans, are observed as usual. It is an interesting sight to observe, for not often do you come across such a unique form of celebration.
Dashami – 10th Day
Finally, you have Dashmi, the last day of the festival. Although it is as important as any other day, the people are overcome with emotion as they bid farewell to their beloved Mother Durga. Popularly known as Vijaya Dashmi, it is the day when the goddess reunites with her husband, Lord Shiva, on Mount Kailash. People, especially the ladies, get together to bid farewell to Goddess Durga, with vermillion and an assortment of sweets. This is followed by the Bhashaan, where the idol of Durga Maa is taken to the Holy Ganges and immersed, symbolically representing her return to Lord Shiva.
History Of Dussehra
Dussehra is a major festival of Hindus but it is organized on the Dashami date of Shukla Paksha of the month of Parasuun. Dussehra is also known as Durga Puja, this festival is celebrated at the end of the rainy season all over India. There is no answer of West Bengal in idol worship in Navratri and Gujarat in playing Dandiya. The festival is celebrated across Gujarat for 10 days. People are absorbed in devotion. Special worship of Maa Durga is seen. The festival ends on Dashami. This festival is also known as the festival of Vijayadashami. This festival is a symbol of the victory of good over evil. The effigy of Ravana is burnt all over the country on this day. On this day, Lord Rama killed the demon Ravana and freed Maa Sita from her captivity. Rama worshiped Durga before killing Ravana, Mother Durga was pleased with her worship and gave her the boon of victory.
Ravana combustion is still celebrated with great pomp today. Its companion fireworks are also released. The statue of Durga Maa is established and the statue is worshiped for the whole 9 days. Devotees who do worship also perform idol immersion program on the second day. This program is done with pomp and gaiety. Devotees worship Maa Durga in Dussehra, some people even keep fast. At the end of the puja, the priests are satisfied by giving donations. Fairs are held in many places Ramlila is also organized. Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is a festival of Shakti Puja, both in the form of Vijay (victory) of Rama or as Durga Puja.