Vijaya Dashmi or Dussehra is a Hindu festival which is celebrated for the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated on 10th day of Shukla Paksha ofg Ashwin month, in Hindu calendar. It is a public holiday in India. All the post offices, government offices and banks are closed on this day in India. Businesses, stores and organizations also have holiday or open for half time. It is celebrated in various forms across the country.
The Date of Celebration
In 2017, Dussehra will be celebrated on September 30, 2017, Saturday.
Vijay Muhurat = 14:14 pm to 15:02 pm
Duration = 0 Hours 47 Mins
Aparahna Puja Time = 13:27 pm to 15:49 pm
Duration = 2 Hours 21 Mins
Dashami Date Begins = 23:49 on 29-Sep-2017
Dashami Date Ends = 01:35 on 1-Oct-2017
Dussehra commemorates the victory of Hindu god over demon king Ravana and the victory of good over evil. Ramayana, the epic tells the story of Lord Rama who takes his wife Sita back from his custody who was kidnapped by Ravana. Ravana was a demon king of Lanka and plays an important role in Ramayana. He had a sister “Shoorpanakha”. She fell in love with both Rama and Lakshmana and approach both of them so one of them would like to marry her. Rama couldn’t marry her because he already had his wife Sita, and Lakshamana refused her.
Furious Shoorpanaka threatened Rama to marry her or she will kill Sita. Angered Lakshamana cut her nose off. To avenge her sister’s condition, Ravana kidnapped Sita. Later on, both Rama and Lakshamana fought a battle against Ravana to rescue her. Hanuman, the monkey god, had a huge battalion of monkeys to help him.
The tale of Mahabharata also has a great significance in Dussehra festival. It is believed that the five Pandavas fought evils with different weapons. Thereafter, they deserted their arms in Shami Tree and went into their exile and got them when they were back after one year. Then, they worshipped the tree before battle and they won. The epic is celebrated during the festival of Dussehra.
Dussehra is observed by many Hindus. In this event, foods are offered to the gods in temples and at homes across India and special prayer meetings are held. They also hold Melas (Outdoor fairs) and large parades when Ravana’s effigies are burnt in the evenings. It is known to be the culmination of the festival of Navratri. In some areas of the country, several local celebrations can last for 10 days, such as –
- Ramlila performances (short variant of Ramayana, the epic) in North India
- The blessing of work-related and household tools, including computers, books, vehicles and cooking pans in Karnataka state.
- The procession and large festival is held to worship Goddess Chamundeshwari and throne is mounted on elephants in Mysore, Karnataka.
- Special foods are prepared on this occasion, including alur dom (spiced, deep fried potato snacks), and luchi (deep fried flat bread) in Bengal.
According to several Hindus, it’s a lucky time to start a new project, venture or journey on this day. They also exchange leaves from Shami Tree which symbolizes the story of Pandavas’ exile.