The closing ceremonies of Navratri festival coincides with Dussehra celebrations. As per the Hindu Calendar, the occasion of Dussehra falls in the month of Ashwayuja, also called Ashwina. The festival is celebrated all across India with much gusto and gaiety. Due to a wide range of culture prevalent in the country, the festival has been given different names. Vijayadashmi, Dasara and Mohini Nakh are all the names of the same occasion. Dussehra 2020 is going to be celebrated on Sunday, 25 October.
Dussehra celebrations start almost 10 days prior to the festive day. 'Ramlila', enactment of the Ramayana in the most pompous manner is done at various places on huge empty ground. A flock of people gather every year to see the performances. The area looks like a carnival and people enjoy festive food, shop and take rides on swings along with watching Ramlila shows.
On the tenth day the Dussehra carnival is worth visiting. Colorful stalls, swings, delicious food and not to forget the gigantic size effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbhkarna placed in the middle of the ground. It is the same day when the climax of Ramlila is performed ending with burning of the effigies with the stroke of arrow of the actor playing Lord Rama's role.
The significance of the festival of Dussehra lies in the story linked to it. It is actually the celebrations of Lord Rama' victory over Ravana. Ravana had abducted Goddess Sita (Lord Rama's wife) and thus forced mighty Rama to fight with him. Lord Rama's triumph was inevitable for he was the embodiment of truth and goodness and it was Ravana who had committed sin. The story exhilarate us to imbibe goodness and virtue in our souls so as to lead a happy and holy life.
Another legendary story is behind the festival of Dussehra. This was also the time period of the year when Pandavas returned from their 12 year exile after they met with a defeat in the game of dicing against Kauravas. It was supposed to be a secret affair and so they chose the Shami tree in a dense forest as their temporary dwelling place. The tale is also known as the 'Legend of Shami tree'.
Dussehra festival celebrations have their own modes in different parts of India. While, Kullu located in Himachal Pradesh holds a week long fair to enjoy the festivities, down south performing puja (prayer) rituals to Goddess Lakshmi is given more importance. People belonging to states like Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab observe a nine day fast. Singing and dancing are a must to be a part of their jollifications. Dussehra celebrations at Mysore needs special mention. Mysore palace is beautified with colorful melas. People participate in cultural programs and add to the mirth of Dussehra jubilations.