Dussehra is one of the prominent Hindu festivals, which is also known as Vijayadashami. It is in the month of Ashwin, as per the Hindu calendar. This festival is for the victory of good over the power of evil.
(Image Credits: Freepik)
History: Why do People celebrate Dussehra?
There are two main backgrounds behind this festival. In one of the stories, in ancient times, a notorious demon called Mahishasur used to trouble and torture the people of earth and the gods of heaven. Then Goddess Durga was born from the fire at the request of people and gods for paradise. Goddess Durga went after Mahishasur and killed him. Dussehra is to celebrate the killing of the demon, which goes on for ten days. The first nine days are known as Navratri to worship Durga. People also keep fast on the name of the Goddess of Durga and play Dandiya.
Dussehra also marks the day to celebrate Ravana’s killing at Lord Rama’s hands in Treta Yuga. Ravana was a demon king who abducted Mata Sita, Lord Rama’s wife, and took her to his kingdom, Lanka. With his Vanar(monkeys) army, Rama attacked Lanka and killed Ravana. People celebrate this day as the victory of good over evil.
How is Dussehra Celebrated?
The celebration of Dussehra starts days before the day of Dussehra. People start celebrating the festival ten days before the Dussehra day as Navratri. In the Gujarat state of India, peoples keep fast, play Dandiya and worship Goddess Durga for nine days. In other parts of India, the Ramlila stage is for nine days in which devotees depict a re-enactment of the life of lord Rama on an open platform, and people go to these platforms and witness the life of Rama.
On Dussehra day, giant size effigies of three demons, Ravana, Maghananda, the son of Ravana, and Kumbhakarna, the brother of Ravana, are made. These puppets are filled with crackers to burn them. The man who plays the role of lord Rama shoots arrows at the effigies and burns them. It is on an open platform, such as the city playground, with thousands of spectators. People enjoy this fair, witness the fireworks, and hail the victory of good over evil. Kids especially wait for the events to go to the fair, enjoy the firecrackers, and eat various dishes at the fair.
Message and teachings
- It symbolizes the victory of the force of good over the power of evil. Ravana’s army of evil was way more potent than Sri Rama’s army, but truth and justice prevailed in the end.
- Just like we burn the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkarna, and Meghnand, we should also burn the lust, anger, and evil from the inside.
- Ravana had excellent knowledge of Vedas and shastras. He became egoistic because of his knowledge and power. It is the main reason for his downfall. This festival teaches us to let go of our egos no matter how powerful and wealthy we become.
- Always keep wary of our near ones also. Ravana’s brother has spilled the secrets to Rama on how to kill Ravana, because of which Rama was able to kill.
- Rama’s army mainly consisted of monkeys. Ravana used to think that the monkeys’ army was nowhere near his mighty force. He underestimates the power of the joint army. So, one of the teachings is that we should not underestimate the power of the ordinary person and always stay humble.
Dussehra is one of the biggest festivals in Hindu communities. Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is celebrated because of the victory of good versus the force of evil. People celebrate this festival full of enthusiasm and joy.