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Dussehra, Dashain, Vijaya-Dashami - Festival of Hindus

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Dussehra Festival

Dussehra/ Vijaya-dashami is one of the major festivals celebrated by the Hindus. This festival occurs in the lunar month of a Gregorian calendar which falls around September or October. We call this day as Vijaya - as recognition of victory of good over evil. Vijaya Dashami is also known as Dussehra, Dasahara, Dusshera, Dasara, Bijaya Dashami, or Dashain is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm by Hindus all over the World.

This year in 2019, Vijaya Dashami falls on 8th of October but the 'Navaratra Aarambha' (The first day of Dussehra) starts from 29th of September.
Dussehra, Dashain, Vijaya-Dashami - Festival of Hindus
There are a lot of many historical and ancient beliefs about the initiation of this festival. Long ago there was a demon called Mahishasura. He was given the name as he was born in the form of a bison. Being a powerful demon, he desired to conquer all the three worlds in the universe. He began to pray for Brahma to acquire a boon to fulfill his desire.

As the spins continued for years, despite sun and storms, hunger and thirst, Brahma had to appear before Mahishasura. “No man in this universe should be able to kill me” was the boon obtained by Mahishasura from Brahma as he was confident that no woman can ever fight with him.

After obtaining the boon, he broke loose on the universe and tortured everyone. Even the Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were not able to restrain him. So, the thought of finding a way to defeat Mahishasura as it was a chance for a woman to kill him, they wished to create a woman so powerful to defeat him. They combined the strength together and creating the Goddess Durga they have gifted their weapon to her who is ready for a fight with Mahishasura with nonce but 18 hands. Vishnu had given his Sudarshan chakra; Shiva had gifted this trident and Indra has granted his ragged odd to her. With such great weapons in hand, Durga mounted on a lion and started for a battle.

Mahishasura is ready for the challenge. He attacked Durga with an army of millions of soldiers. He himself had fought with her in forms of flying elephant and finally as a bison but Durga had stoned down the army of bison into pieces after a fierce battle that continued for nine days. Durga finally killed him in Samsara. The gods had celebrated the occasion which is now continued as Dussehra/ Navratri.
dashain-dussehra
While the war continued for nine nights, the festival days of Vijaya Dashami/ Dussehra are called as a Navratri and as the victory was achieved on the tenth day it is also called as Dashara. In these festival days, goddess Durga is worshipped in different forms and attires.

Dussehra is celebrated with jubilance at every place in the world where goddess Durga is worshipped. The idols of Durga is placed in every street of West Bengal India these days. Dussehra is celebrated grandly in Kanaka Durga temple of Vijayawada in Telangana, India.

This prominent festival is celebrated in a very splendid manner with plenty of performances depicting the rich culture and tradition of the states. Plenty of cultural performances and concerts are available to observe during Dussehra.

These events reveal the vibrant culture and tradition of a large population of India that lures millions of people, both Indians as well as foreigners.

The main highlights of this festival are the worshipping of the goddess NavaDurga (especially Goddess Chamundeshwari – the Mahisasura slayer), Visiting temples for continuous 10 days on their own cultural outfits, processions where decorated elephants, camels, and horses walk together that follow the idols of Goddess Durga and people’s excitement on the 10th day of Dussehra when they burn Ravana’s effigy.

People in India take out celebratory processions and burn effigies of the demon king Ravana on Dussehra, which marks the triumph of good over evil. Eco-friendly crackers are placed inside this effigy due to the environmental factor. However, this is the final part of how people end Dussehra in India. Since there is a great delight in doing this, the participation of people is exceptionally high.

Despite tight security, people get involved in this procession at an overwhelming rate. Such celebration programs are organized in most of the districts of different states in India peacefully. In order to control any untoward incidents, elaborated securities are put every year during such celebrations. 'Shobha Yatra' (Procession) is carried out in several parts of India to mark this festival. 

During the day, people burn effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanath at several places along with the bursting of firecrackers and shouts of the crowds. People throng in just to catch a glimpse of the effigy of Ravana and you know that is obvious in a populated country.

A festival called Bathukamma is celebrated where the goddess is worshipped with flowers and songs. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma' means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron goddess of womanhood, Gauri Devi. It is believed that Rama killed Ravana on the very day. People of North India showcase a stage show which is called Rama Leela depicting the war scenes between Rama and Ravana.

The observance of this festival has supported the economic development of the country as thousands of exhibitions are held in various cities and states where people can purchase a variety of different items. The main traded items include handicraft items, jewelry, attractive ornaments and delicious mouth-watering dishes that are hypnotic. Likewise, the children engage themselves by enjoying fairs and feasts organized to mark their fun time.

According to Mahabharata, Pandavas had completed their exile of 13 years being incognito to evade another 12 years of exile and they were said to have taken their arms back which were hidden on a tree called Shami. People worship the Shami tree on this day remembering the occasion. While there is also a belief that the last day of Dussehra that is Vijaya Dashami is celebrated to mark the victory of Pandavas over Kauravas. On the very same day, Arjuna slew all his opponents and as he was victorious, Vijaya Dashami, Dashain is celebrated to remember this day. Also, the word 'Vijaya' counts as another name for Arjuna (He had 10 different names and Vijaya means the one who- always wins in a war).

Do you know that we have gods and demons among us? The good qualities within us to denote divinity and our evil thoughts in us are demons. If we can be free from the temptations of such evil thoughts, that's the true victory called Vijaya Dashami.

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