Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dussehra -- 10/24/2012

Dussehra (also known as Vijya Dashami) is almost here. The day that marks the triumph of good over evil. It is believed that on this day Lord Rama (the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) killed Ravana (the demon and king of Lanka) and rescued his wife, Sita (who was abducted by Ravana). This legendary victory is re-enacted till this day at the Ram Leela (short version of the epic, Ramayana). Plays are held all over the Northern parts of India. Actors dress as Rama, Sita, Laxman (Rama's brother) and enact the final moments of the battle at the Ram Leela grounds. Huge effigies of the demon Ravana are burned (as well as Ravana's giant brother Kumbhkarna and son, Meghnath) as Lord Rama shoots his arrow towards the demon's ten heads. Lots of firecrackers are placed inside these effigies and the crowd cheers and raves as they are burned. 
Photo by Youth ki Awaz

Photo by Press Information Bureau of India

In West Bengal and other North-Eastern states, Dussehra is the day when idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into the river after nine days of festivities. It is believed that on this day, the Goddess killed the demon, Mahishasura and freed the world from his terror. They believe that the Goddess visits them in their house during the last four days of Navratri and on Dussehra, she has to go back after blessing everyone. 

Photo by Press Information Bureau of India
In the Southern states, Dussehra holds a special significance and is auspicious for starting education or any form of art. Even though Dussehra is celebrated differently across different states in India, the purpose  remains to spread happiness and celebrate the victory of good over evil. All over India, Dussehra is celebrated with a fanfare and huge processions can be seen in all states. 

Fasts will officially end for everyone today and tomorrow will be a day to celebrate. Fairs will be held all over India and I'll be missing out on the fun. Guess I'll have to watch the show on YouTube :)

Happy Dussehra everyone!


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