Happy Dussehra 2019: Significance, important rituals and celebrations across India
The Hindu festival which is celebrated with immense zeal and joy throughout the country falls on the tenth day of Sharada Navratri, this year on October 8. India is a diverse country and the Dussehra celebrations and cultural practices too differ with different region yet amazingly, the essence of the festival remains.
In the North, on the eve of Dussehra, magnificent fairs are organized where in people throng in huge numbers. Effigy of Ravana often with ten heads is set up along with two other effigies of his son Meghnatha and his brother Kumbhakarana. The famous Ramlila, a play depicting the story of how Ravana had kidnapped Sita and the struggle Lord Ram and his brother Laxmana had to face while forming an army to fight Ravana and rescue his wife, is performed. Ramlila is fondly watched by all. At the end of the play, the dummies are set on fire and people rejoice.
In the North East and especially in West Bengal, Durga Puja Pandals are organized from the first day of Navratri. Throughout the nine days, the traditional Bangla Dhunuchi dance is performed by female devotees in the pandals. Stage plays depicting Maa Durga’s battle with the demon Mahishasura are performed. On the tenth day which is also known as Vijayadashmi, the idol of Maa is immersed in water with the hope that Maa keeps an eye on us all and keeps away all the misery.
In many states of the South, Ayudha Puja is performed where Maa Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge), Maa Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) and Maa Parvati are worshipped. Vidyarambham also known as Akshara Abhyas is observed on the day of Vijayadashami. It is an important Hindu tradition where the learning process of children aged 3 to 5 is initiated. These children are made to write on paper first time in their life and are introduced to music, literature and other forms of art. This tradition is called Ezhuthiniruthu in the states of Karnataka and Kerala.
In Gujarat, the traditional folk dance Dandiya Raas is performed. People in traditional wear gather for the vibrant garba nights.
People also invest in gold and other property as the day is considered auspicious for such activities.