What is the Significance of Celebrating Dussehra
Dus means ten and hara means defeat, Dussehra means defeat of 10 things. Dussehra is also known as Vijayadashami i.e. Vijay + Dashmi – victory over 10 vices. It is a well celebrated Hindu festival which signifies the victory of Lord Rama over Demon King Ravana, Goddess Durga over Demon Mahishasura, good over bad, and truth over lies. It is a national holiday in India. It is the 10th day of Navratri when Idol of Goddess Durga is submerged in the water body. It falls on the 10th day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Ashvin i.e. month of September-October. Large fairs are held across the country where people come and enjoy to celebrate this occasion. Although it is celebrated across the country, it is vastly popular in North India.
In the night, large Paper and wood effigies of Ravana with ten heads are burnt in the open ground with bonfires and fireworks to reflect the removal of evil. The 10 heads of Ravana represents 10 vices namely ego, selfishness, over pride, lust, jealousy, greed, attraction, anger and injustice.
In other parts of the country, like Gujarat, men and women gather and dance whole night of the Navratri, this popular form of dance is called Garba. In South India, Dussehra festival of Mysore is well known for its style with a lot of pomp and show. Here mainly goddess Chamundeshwari is worshiped. Some communities celebrate it as Ashok Vijaya Dashmi. In Nepal, it is known as Dasain. Dussehra is also celebrated as Vishwakarma Divas, the National Labor Day of India.
Significance of Celebrating Dussehra
This festival is all about removing all evil from our life. After Navaratri, the tenth and final day is Vijayadashami which means you have conquered all three qualities of tamas, rajas, and sattva. You participated nine days in every one of them, but remained unaffected, you won over them. It is related to knowledge and enlightenment. Put it in a simple words, Dussehra signifies your struggle to win over the demon of basic sensual pleasures and desires.
Legend behind the origin of Dussehra
Victory of Lord Rama over Demon King Ravana
There are two stories related to Dussehra. As per the most important belief, it is celebrated to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. Demon king Ravana abducted Sita, wife of Lord Rama, and to free her, Lord Rama fought with Ravana, and killed him on the 10th day of battle. Hence, this day is also known as Vijayadashmi i.e. victory on 10th day.
That is why throughout Navratri, Ramleela, a short version of the epic Ramayana in the form of stage-play to depict the victory of Rama over Ravana, is organized and played in many parts of the countries.
Victory of Maa Durga over Mahishasura
As per the other version, it celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the Demon Mahishasura. Demon Mahishasura was a very powerful demon blessed from many Gods. He set his kingdom in all three worlds and threw out other deities from their abode. Deities decided to pray to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh to get rid of the demon. Three lords then created a form of energy with their powers, known as Durga or Shakti. Goddess Durga fought with Mahishasura and on the 10th day killed the demon. That is why it is celebrated on the 10th day of Navratri as Durga Pooja or Dussehra.
End of Exilebu of Pandavas
This day also signifies the end of Pandavas’ exile of twelve years due to defeat in the game of dice to the Kauravas. Last year of the exile was to spent as Agyatawas. The brothers hid their weapons in a hole in a Shami tree before entering the Kingdom of Virat to complete the year of Agyatawas. Finally, on the day of Vijayadashmi, they recovered the weapons, defeated Kauravas, and regained their true identities. Since that day, the exchange of Shami leaves on Vijayadashmi has been a symbol of good will and victory. This is also called Shami/Jambi Puja.