Priyanka Dutta, Kolkata: India is known as a land of festivals. Beginning from the ancient ages to the modern day India, many rituals have been practiced in our country. India has been ruled by different dynasties starting with the invasion of Alexander from Greece and then by the different Muslim kingdoms of the Arab world and finally by the Europeans among which the English became the eventual rulers of India leaving a very few parts of India under the Portuguese rule. So every ruling community has left a mark of its culture and traditions on the Indians.
As such a number of festivals are celebrated in India since the ruling communities, especially the Muslim community became the part and parcel of the Indian culture. Many of festivals of the Hindu community date back to the ancient history of India when the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata were written. Dussera and Deepavali are among the topmost festivals in India dating back to a very earlier period. In this article, we shall discuss the Dussera festival.
History Of Dusshera Festival-
Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is celebrated on the 10th day of Navratri. It marks the historic victory of Lord Ram over the evil King Ravana. Effigies of the latter are burnt as a symbol of the victory of good over evil across the country.
In the eastern part of India, Vijayadashami is the celebration of Goddess Durga’s triumph over the invincible Buffalo king Mahishasura. Both the legends signify the victory of good over evil.
The day marks the victory of the seventh incarnation of Vishnu – Lord Rama when he killed the ten-headed demon Ravana and thereafter handed over the throne of his kingdom Lanka to his brother Vibhishana.
The word ‘Dussehra’ is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘dasha’ and ‘hara’ – that mean defeating the ten, reported India.com. The day also marks the end of Durga Puja, where people remember goddess Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasur, to help restore Dharma.
Durga led a battle against Mahishasur and it lasted for nine days and nine nights. Durga killed Mahishasur on the tenth day. Therefore, different manifestations of goddess Durga are worshipped during the nine-day long Navratri festival each year. Wherein the tenth day is dedicated to Durga as Vijaydashmi.
The feminine power is worshipped and celebrated during the festival of Navratri. Navratri celebration culminates with Dussehra on the tenth day, when the idol of goddess Durga is immersed in a river or a lake, reported India.com.
People celebrate the festival in different ways across the country. In North India, various colorful fairs are organised. Plays based on the story of Ramayan, which is known as Ramleela are performed. On the day of Vijaydashmi, huge effigies of Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakarn are also set on fire. Whereas in places like Odisha and West Bengal, as per the report, the idol of the goddess is immersed in a river or a lake on the day of Vijaydashmi.
how it is celebrated-
The Dusshera happens to be celebrated about twenty days before Diwali. It also coincides with Ramlila where the characters of Rama, Sita, Lakshamana and Hanuman beautifully dressed in the legendry costumes are taken out in processions and plays involving the scenes from Ramayana are enacted for several days before the Dussehra festival which finally culminated in the burning of the effigy of the Ravana on the tenth day after the navaratris. Recitations and music highlighting the life and actions of the legendry hero Rama are played during the intervening period before the Dussehra.
In the Indian capital, Delhi the processions finally lead to the Ramlila grounds, a sprawling open ground in the centre of the capital where the effigies of Ravana and his brother Meghadoota and others are burnt towards the evening.
An arrow carrying fire is hit on the effigies by the characters dressed as Rama and Lakshmana to burn the effigies which are already stuffed with fireworks and crackers which explode with a deafening sound. Thousands of spectators stand around to cheer the occasion and finally leave for their homes happily.