In the months of Ashwin and Kartik, Hindus observe a 10 day ceremony of fast, rituals and celebrations to honor the triumph of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Thus, it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. This celebration starts from Navratri and ends with the tenth day festival of “Dussehra”. Navratri and Dussehra is celebrated throughout the country at the same time, with varying rituals, but with great enthusiasm and energy as it marks the end of scorching summer and the start of winter season. The tenth day after Navratri is called Dussehra, on which number of fairs are organized throughout northern India, burning effigies of Ravana. It is also called “Vijaya Dashami” or “Vijayadasami” as this day marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.
Vijaya Dashami is considered to be an auspicious day for the Indian householder, on which he worships, protects and preserves ‘Shakti’ (power). According to Scriptures, by worshiping the ‘Shakti’ on these ninedays the householders attain the threefold power i.e. physical, mental and spiritual, which helps him to progress in life without any difficulty. The ‘Ramlila’ – an enactment of the life of Lord Rama, is held during the nine days preceding Dussehra. On the tenth day (Dussehra or Vijay Dasami), larger effigies of Ravana, his son and brother – Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set to fire. The theatrical enactment of this dramatic encounter is held throughout the country in which every section of people participates enthusiastically. In burning the effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of truth and goodness, bearing in mind the instance of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways.
When is Dussehra 2013?
Dussehra is the last day of Navratri; it falls on the 10th day of the waxing moon during the Hindu month of Ashvin (around September or October). Dussehra in 2013 is on 14 October, 2013 (Monday).
Dussehra Puja is an eminent part the Vijayadashami celebrations on the 10th day of Navratri. Besides celebrating Lord Ram’s triumph over the demon King Ravan of Lanka by burning effigies of Ravan, there are certain rituals and customs that need to be observed while performing a Dussehra puja.
Victory of Rama over Ravana:
Rama was the eldest son of King Dasarath who was the ruler of Ayodhya. When Lord Rama was going to be crowned as the next King, Queen Kaikayee persuaded the king to crown Bharat as the next king and to send Rama on an exile for 14 years. On his exile Rama was accompanied by his brother Lakshman and wife Sita. A female demon Soorpanakha got fascinated with the charm of Lord Rama and wanted to marry him, for which she threatened to kill Sita. Agitated with this, Laxman cut her nose. Knowing about what happened to his sister; Demon Ravana wanted to take revenge and in turn abducted Sita. Lord Rama, along with Laxman and Hanuman, fought a battle against Ravana and emerged victorious in rescuing his wife Sita.
Victory of Durga over Mahishasur:
The demon Mahishasur, was given a boon by Lord Brahma, according to which, any weapon that had a masculine name couldn’t do anything to harm him. Taking the advantage of this boon, he caused immense destruction and hatred. The gods were very tensed and worried about this fact; they consulted Lord Vishnu over it, who advised them to invoke Goddess Shakti. With God’s prayers, a divine luster sprang from the heart of Lord Shiva and bodies of all gods forming the Adhya Shakti. The gods then gave her ornaments, and a lion as a vehicle. She was supposed to fight Mahishasur, the demon. For nine continuous days and nights, Goddess Adhya Shakti-Durga fought the demon- Mahishasur, and finally emerged victorious at the end.