India - Dussherra Festival of India

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Dussherra Festival of India

The festival of Dussherra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is one of the most fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated in-between October and November with joy and enthusiasm for ten continuous days. It is considered as 'shubh-muharat' – that is, a very auspicious period to start any venture. It is traditional belief that if any one begins a new venture, on this particular day, it is sure to meet with success.

The festival of Dussherra is celebrated on the last day of Dasara. Dasara is the name given to the 10 days festival and Dussherra is the last day.

It is a symbol of the victory of good over evil. According to the Ramayana the demon king Ravana was killed by Lord Ram, on the day of Dussehra .This day is supposed to mark Lord Ram’s triumph over king Ravana. According to the legend, Ram had been exiled to a forest for fourteen years. Thus, Ram, with his wife and younger brother, went to the forest.

In south India Dasara is celebrated during this 10 days period in a different manner. Articles used for earning ones livelihood is worshipped on the ninth day of the celebrations. Even computers are not spared. Goddess Durga is celebrated in South India too and in Karnataka small colorful toys are exhibited.

Dashmi also known as Vijaya Dashmi is celebrated on the last day. All over India effigies of Ravana and his followers are made. The effigies are stuffed with fireworks. Amid much fanfare it is burnt to symbolize the triumph of good over the evil. Generally, a celebrity or a public figure is invited to make the deciding shot. The atmosphere is grand and fair like. There are puppet shows and jatras everywhere enacting the sequence of events of the battle which raged between Lord Ram and Ravana.

In Mysore there is a grand procession on the historic streets. Goddess Chamundeshwari's idol is placed on a golden elephant called Ambaari for the procession and this is a very ancient custom of Mysore. People come from all over the world to witness these ancient customs. At the Mysore palace many traditional events are held even today.

Many traditional sweets like Narkel Nadu, which is made of coconut, sugar and milk along with dry fruits, and sandesh is prepared. People celebrate this festival by hanging torans at the entrances of their doors. Torans are gateways made of flowers or beads.

On Dussherra day many families start their children’s formal education. The practice is so old, that even after converting to Christianity many members of the community continue to follow this tradition. Thus this festival is considered as one of the most important festival of India


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