Dussehra in India

Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a gazetted holiday in India, which is marked on the 10th day of the bright half of the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin (Usually During the months of September/October).

Each different part of India has different reasons for celebrating this auspicious occasion. The eastern and northeastern states of India celebrate VijayDashmi to mark the end of the grand Durga Puja. They cherish the victory of goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura whose physical incarnation is that of a buffalo.

In the western, southern and northern parts of India, it is believed to mark the end of Ramlila in order to cherish the joyous victory of Rama over the 10 headed demon Ravana. It is also celebrated on a large scale in the regions of Bangladesh and Nepal where it is now famously known as ‘Vijayadashmi’.

In Nepal, it is the largest festival of the region and this day culminates the ten day Navratri, not only do Hindus celebrate it with great zeal and enthusiasm but also it is quite famous amongst Non-Hindus as well.

Indians of the Hindu faith observe Dussehra through special prayer meetings and food offerings to the gods at home or in temples throughout India. They also hold outdoor fairs (melas) and large parades with effigies of Ravana (a mythical king of ancient Sri Lanka) the effigies are then burnt on bonfires in the evening. There is the blessing of household and work-related tools, such as books, computers, cooking pans and vehicles in the state of Karnataka of India. Families prepare special foods, including luchi (deep fried flat bread) and alur dom (deep fried spiced potato snacks), in Bengal.

This day also marks the beginning of the harvest season in India and ‘mother earth’ is invoked to reactivate the vigor and fertility in the soil. All this is done by performing rituals and religious activities on the day of Vijayadashmi. It is believed that the rituals and customs invoke cosmic forces that can lead to the rejuvenation of the soil.