Dussehra, also known as Vijaya Dashmi, is an Indian festival which is celebrated with full fervour and enthusiasm in India. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. According to Hindu calendar, the festival is usually observed in the month of Ashvin which falls in October. Dussehra is celebrated on tenth day of the Navaratri festival which is basically 20 days before the festival of Diwali.
When is Dussehra in 2018?
In 2018, as per lunar calendar, Dussehra will occur on October 19 this year.
Mahurat for Pooja –
Vijay Muhurat – 13:58 to 14:43
Aparahna Puja Time – 13:13 to 15:28
Dashami Tithi Begins – 15:28 (18th October)
Dashami Tithi Ends- 17:57 (19th October)
Significance of Dussehra
Dussehra is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in India. There is a story associated with the festival of Dussehra. On this very day Lord Rama, the son of Ayodhya King Dashrath, killed Ravana, the king of Lanka.
Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana were living in a forest in exile. Shoorpanakha, the sister of demon king Ravana saw Lakshmana, and fell in love with him. She wanted to marry him but Lakshmana refused to marry her. Infuriated by the rejection, Shoorpanakha threatened to kill Sita. Lakshmana got angered by Shoorpanakha and cut her nose and ears. When Ravana came to know about the insult of his sister, he decided to avenge her injuries by kidnapping Sita, the wife of Rama. He went to the forest disguised as a sage and abducted Sita. He then challenged Lord Rama to fight a battle and take his wife away. Lord Rama accepted his challenge and decided to fight to bring his wife back. He was helped by Monkey god Hanuman and Ravana’s brother Vibhishana in the battle which continued for 9 days. Distinctive weapons were used and at last Ravana was defeated and killed. Since then, the death anniversary of Ravana is celebrated as Dussehra, the day on which good triumphed over evil.
Rituals performed on Dussehra
On the day of Dussehra, special prayer meetings and food offerings to Gods are arranged at homes and temples. Outdoor fares are also held and large effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad are burnt in the evening. Dussehra is also basically the culmination of the Navratri festival.
Ramlila is performed at various places and large processions are held. New items are also bought during the festival season and new beginnings and new ventures are initiated as this time is considered as the lucky time. Special sweet dishes including Halwa, Kheer, and Laddoo are prepared to be distributed as Prasad at various places
How people celebrate Dussehra?
The day of Dussehra is celebrated differently in various parts of the country. At some places Ramlila takes place and processions are held, while at others big effigies of Ravana are made and burnt. Colourful exhibitions are organized and crackers are burnt. People exchange gifts and blessings and also celebrate the victory of good over evil. A widespread ray of happiness is felt in the entire nation and an ethnic elegance is seen during this ten-day festival.
Celebration in different states-
Gujarat – Gujarat celebrates the most colourful Dusshera as the culmination of Navratri Mahotsav begins 9 days before Dussehra. For nine nights there are energetic garbadances, midnight buffets, vibrant festivities and gaiety all around in the state.
Karnataka – The most spectacular Dussehra is celebrated in Karnataka. To be specific the Dussehra in Mysore is worth witnessing. Mysore Palace is illuminated with varities of light bulbs. Processions are being held through the streets. The revelry continues for 9 days in and around the city.
Himachal Pradesh – Though the whole state of Himachal Pradesh celebrates Dussehra with full fervour and enthusiasm, the Dussehra in Kullu valley is the most popular. The state has given Kullu Dussehra a status of International festival which attracts various tourists from India and abroad.
Delhi – In Delhi, Dusshera is celebrated with zeal and fervour. One can witness a blend of all cultural festivities in different parts of the state. At some places Pandals would be set and Goddess Durga will be worshipped while at other places Ramlila would continue for 9 days and huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghanada would be burnt.
West Bengal, Tripura, Orissa – The celebrations begin on the first day of Navratri however the extravaganza begins on the fifth day. Pandals are set, cultural activities like singing, dancing, poetry recitation are organised which continue for 9 days.