VIJAYADASAMI, also known as DASARA , is a major
celebrated at the end of
Navratri every year. It is observed on the
full moon day in the
Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, which typically
falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
Vijayadasami is observed for different reasons and celebrated
differently in various parts of the
Indian subcontinent . In the
eastern and northeastern states of India,
Vijayadashami marks the end
Durga Puja , remembering goddess
Durga 's victory over the buffalo
demon to help restore
Dharma . In the northern, southern and western
states, the festival is synonymously called Dussehra (also spelled
Dasara, Dashahara). In these regions, it marks the end of "
and remembers god
Rama 's victory over the demon
Ravana , or
alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess
Devi such as
Durga or Saraswati.
Vijayadasami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean
front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha
and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images
are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye. Elsewhere,
on Dasara, the towering effigies of
Ravana symbolizing the evil is
burnt with fireworks marking evil's destruction. The festival also
starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely
Diwali , the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty
days after the Vijayadashami.
* 1 Etymology and nomenclature
* 2 Regional variations
* 2.1 Northern India
* 2.1.1 Himachal Pradesh
* 2.2 Southern India
* 2.3 Western India
* 2.4 Eastern India
* 3 Nepal
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 5.1 Bibliography
* 6 External links
ETYMOLOGY AND NOMENCLATURE
Vijayadashami is a composite of two words "Vijaya" and "Dashami",
which respectively mean "victory" and "tenth", connoting the festival
on the tenth day celebrating the victory of good over evil. The same
Hindu festival-related term, however, takes different forms in
different regions of India and Nepal, as well as among Hindu
minorities found elsewhere.
According to James Lochtefeld, the word Dussehra is a variant of
Dashahara which a compound Sanskrit word meaning "ten days".
According to Monier Williams, Dus (दुष्) meaning "bad, evil,
sinful" and Hara (हर) means "removing, destroying", connoting
"removing the bad, destroying the evil, sinful".
Dusshera is observed with the burning of
In most of northern and western India, Dasha-Hara (literally, "ten
days") is celebrated in honour of Rama. Thousands of drama-dance-music
plays based on the
Ramlila ) are
performed at outdoor fairs across the land, in temporarily built
staging grounds featuring effigies of demons Ravana,
Meghanada are held. The effigies are burnt on bonfires in the evening
of Vijayadashami-Dussehra. While Dussehra is observed on the same day
across India, the festivities leading to it varies. In many parts, the
"Ram Lila", or the brief version of the story of Rama,
Lakshamana is enacted over 9 days before it, but in some cities such
Varanasi , the entire story is freely acted out by performance
artists before public every evening for a month.
The performance arts tradition during the Dussehra festival was
inscribed by UNESCO as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of
Humanity" in 2008. The festivities, states UNESCO, include songs,
narration, recital and dialogue based on the
Tulsidas . It is celebrated across northern India
for Dussehra, but particularly in historically important
Satna and Madhubani –
cities in Uttar Pradesh, Utarakhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The
festival and dramatic enactment of the virtues versus vices filled
story is organized by communities in hundreds of small villages and
towns, attracting a mix of audience from different social, gender and
economic backgrounds. In many parts, the audience and villagers join
in and participate spontaneously, some helping the artists, others
helping with stage set up, create make-up, effigies and lights. These
arts come to a close on the night of Dussehra, when the victory of
Rama is celebrated by burning the effigies of evil
Ravana and his
Kullu Dussehra is celebrated in the
Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh,
and is regionally notable for its large fair and parade witnessed by
estimated half a million people. The festival is a symbol of victory
of good over evil by Raghu Nath, and is celebrated like elsewhere in
Indian subcontinent with a procession. The special feature of the
Kullu Dussehra procession is the arrival of floats containing deities
from different parts of the nearby regions and their journey to Kullu.
Mysore Dasara procession and celebrations in
a major tourist attraction.
Vijayadasami is celebrated in a variety of ways in
South India .
Celebrations range from worshipping Durga, lighting up temples and
major forts such as at Mysore, to displaying colorful figurines, known
as a golu .
The festival played a historical role in the 14th-century
Vijayanagara Empire , where it was called Mahanavami. The Italian
traveller Niccolò de\' Conti described the festival's intensity and
importance as a grandeur religious and martial event with royal
support. The event revered
Durga as the warrior goddess (some texts
refer to her as Chamundeshwari). The celebrations hosted athletic
competitions, singing and dancing, fireworks, a pageantry military
parade and charitable giving to the public.
The city of
Mysore has traditionally been a major center of
Another significant and notable tradition of several South Indian
regions has been the dedication of this festival to
Saraswati , the
Hindu goddess of knowledge, learning, music and arts. She is
worshipped, along with instruments of one's trade during this
In Maharashtra, the deities installed on the first day of Navratri
are immersed in water. Observers visit each other and exchange sweets.
Colorful floor patterns to mark Vijayadashami.
The festival has been historically important in Maharashtra. Shivaji
, who challenged the Mughal Empire in the 17th-century and created a
Hindu kingdom is western and central India, would deploy his soldiers
to assist farmers in cropping lands and adequate irrigation to
guarantee food supplies. Post monsoons, on Vijayadashami, these
soldiers would leave their villages and reassemble to serve in the
military, re-arm and obtain their deployment orders, then proceed to
the frontiers for active duty.
In Gujarat, both goddess
Durga and god
Rama are revered for their
victory over evil. Fasting and prayers at temples are common. A
regional dance called Dandia Ras, that deploys colorfully decorated
sticks, and Garba that is dancing in traditional dress is a part of
the festivities through the night.
Mewar region of Rajasthan, both
Rama have been
celebrated on Vijayadashami, and it has been a major festival for
Durga image is Immersed into river on
Vijayadashami in eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent.
Vijaya Dasami is observed after Navratri, on the tenth day, marked by
a great procession where the clay statues are ceremoniously walked to
a river or ocean coast for a solemn goodbye to Durga. Many mark their
faces with vermilion (sindoor) or dress in something red. It is an
emotional day for some devotees, and the congregation sings emotional
goodbye songs. When the procession reaches the water,
immersed, the clay dissolves, and she is believed to return to Mount
Shiva and cosmos in general. People distribute sweets
and gifts, visit their friends and family members. Some communities
such as those near
Varanasi mark the eleventh day, called ekadashi, by
Youngsters greet elders and seek blessings on
Hindu community in Nepal and Himalayan regions.
Vijayadashami follows the festival of
Dashain . Youngsters
visit the elders in their family, distant ones come to their native
homes, and students visit their school teachers. The elders and
teachers welcome the youngsters, mark their foreheads with
bless them. The family reveres the
Hindu goddess of wealth
hoping for virtuous success and prosperity in the year ahead.
* ^ 2017 Holidays National Informatics Centre (NIC), MeitY,
Government of India
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* ^ A B C Encyclopedia Britannica Dussehra 2015 .
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