INDIA FESTIVAL DUSSEHRA




 
Rituals Of Dussehra

 

On this day, huge effigies of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnad are placed in vast open grounds. Fireworks and crackers are placed inside these and actor dressed as Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana enact the final moments of the battle. Large effigies of the ten-headed Ravana, the king of Lanka who abducted Rama's wife, Sita, and was subsequently vanquished in battle, are burnt as the sun goes down; on either side of him are the slightly smaller effigies of Meghnada, the son of Ravana, and Kumbhakarna, the full brother of Ravana whose name has become a household word in India for lethargy and laziness. (It is said that Kumbhakarna slept for six months and would then stay awake for a full day, no doubt to replenish himself. The character playing Rama fires an arrow into the huge effigies of Meghnada and Kumbhakarna, stuffed with crackers and explosives from a safe distance and the crowd bursts up in cheer as the crackers catch fire. Then finally an arrow is shot into Ravana's effigy, to the encouraging shouts of "Ramchandra ki jai", "Victory to Rama", and a large explosion ripples through the sky. This symbolises people ‘burning’ the evil within themselves and following the path of truth and goodness. The enthusiasm and the cheers sometimes even drown the deafening blast. Merriment ensues as people indulge themselves in fairs and games, dance and music.

The festival lasts ten days, and most communities celebrate it with great fanfare. During the festival, the Ramleela, or the story of Rama, is enacted by professional dance companies and amateur troupes. On the last day of the festival, young men and small boys, dressed as Rama, his brother Lakshman, Ravana, and other players in the drama, proceed through the streets of the community as part of a float that is sometimes quite elaborate. Rama and Ravana engage in battle; Ravana is defeated. Songs are sung in praise of Rama and people in thousands witness this traditional theatre with its exaggerated costumes, jewelry, makeup and drama. Effigies of Ravana are set ablaze, signifying the victory of good over evil. In modern times it calls for efforts to destroy the demon of our ego, and radiate peace and love. During this time people decorate the entrance to their homes with hangings called torans, and flower-studded strings. Another tradition is based on the legend of Sri Ram’s ancestor, King Raghu, who distributed all his wealth among the poor. Having nothing left to give a poor boy, who came to his door asking for alms, Raghu attacked Kuber, the God of Wealth. Gold rained down on earth and some of it fell on the Apta tree, so people exchange leaves of the Apta tree on Dussehra.

However, Bengalis celebrate this festival as a part of their main festival Durga Puja. This day marks the end of Durga Punja celebration, the fiest nine being collectively referred to as 'Navratri'. The festival is dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti who incarnated in the form of Goddess Durga, a combined manifestation of the divine energies of the Holy Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and all the other devatas, when they summoned her to kill the mighty demon known as Mahishasur and free the world from his terror. On this day, the idols of Goddess Durga are finally immersed into water after the nine days of festivities. It is said that the people of the earth here adopted Durga as the daughter and thus, she visits the home of her parents every year during the last four days of Navratri along with her sons Ganesha and Kartikeya and daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. She finally leaves for her husband's place on the Vijayadashmi day.

 

About Dussehra

Regional Celebration Of Dussehra

Legend Of Dussehra

 

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