Dussehra 2018: Significance, important rituals and celebrations across India
This year Dussehra falls on October 19. While some associate it with the epic battle of Ramayana, others do so to commemorate Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura. Dussehra, also known as Vijaydashami or Dasain in certain parts of our country makes way for Diwali celebrations. One of the most important and widely celebrated festivals, the festival of lights or Diwali marks Lord Rama’s homecoming after his victory against Ravana and is celebrated twenty days after Dussehra.
Significance of Dussehra
In North and certain parts of South India, Dussehra is celebrated to commemorate the battle between Lord Rama and Ravana. Ravana had kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita and taken her to his kingdom in Sri Lanka. Lord Rama and Lakshman along with Lord Hanuman and their army of monkeys travelled to Ravana’s kingdom, where they defeated the demon king.
How Dussehra is celebrated
In Northern India, huge dummies of Ravana are burnt on the occasion of Dussehra as part of the celebrations. The Ram Lila, which are plays and musicals that revolve around the tales of the Ramayana are attended by hordes of people in the days preceding Dusshera. It is celebrated twenty days prior to Diwali, and also known as Vijayadashami, Dasara or Dasain in certain parts of our country.
In Kolkata, it is Durga Puja (or Pujo, as Bengalis call it). In Southern India, the nine days of Navratri are celebrated with a display of gods and dolls called Golu. Sweets are prepared on each day of the celebration. Dussehra celebrations in Mysore are one of the most spectacular in the country. The Mysore Palace is illuminated and performances are organised.
In Maharashtra, families visit friends and offer the dried apta leaf, a symbol of prosperity. People also invest in gold and other expensive metals; it is believed that this will lead to prosperity all year round.
The main ethos of this festival is that of good triumphing over evil. It is on this day that people pray for prosperity and good health.
Dussehra/Vijaydashami Pooja Timings:
Dashami Tithi begins at 15:28 on October 18, 2018 (Thursday) and ends at 17:57 on October 19, 2018 (Friday)
Vijay Muhurat is from 2.18 PM to 3.04 PM on October 19.