Festivals are like fireworks. They fill the otherwise drab normality of everyday life with vibrant colours of happiness. You can never sense the feeling of belonging anywhere else as strongly as you do while throwing gulal on each other’s face, shopping for crackers or singing carols. This is the magic of festivals, whoever you are, wherever you are, it reminds you that you are a part of a big family and that you are never alone. This is one of the reasons why festivals are so important for your identity.
There many cultures coursing through the vein of the Indian subcontinent which is why it has such a huge anthology of rich stories for history. These stories gave birth to joyous occasions for celebrations, turning India into a land of festivals. Dussehra is one of these festivals that the Indians cherish so much
Dussehra, which is also known as Vijayadashami, is one of the most important festivals celebrated in India. It is always celebrated at the end of Navratri. Since it is celebrated on the full moon day of Ashvin, according to the Gregorian calendar, it falls in September and October. This festival is celebrated with great joy among the people, although the way of celebrating this varies with different regions as people associate different legends to it.
For the north-eastern states, this marks the end of the Durga puja. For them, it is the day the goddess Durga defeated the buffalo demon Mahishasur and restored peace. On the other hand, for the other states, the festival of Dussehra is celebrated on the occasion of God Rama’s victory on defeating the demon Ravana or as a tribute to Goddess Durga or Saraswati.
Despite the difference in their views, the people all over the country celebrate this festival with great zeal and it is accompanied by a joyous atmosphere.
Legends Associated With Dussehra
There are many legends associated with this festival. The Dussehra story has always attracted the curiosity of the people because of its divergence. Many gods, goddesses, and spiritual beings are associated with this festival. Although there is no way to tell which gave birth to this festival, these Dussehra stories are certainly intriguing on their own.
- The Legend of Goddess Durga: Goddess Durga was born as an answer to the prayer of all beings who were tormented by the buffalo demon Mahishasur. The goddess met this vicious creature in a mighty battle that lasted for about nine days. On the tenth day, Goddess Durga was able to get the upper hand in the battle and killed the demon, saving mankind and the gods alike. This battle became the symbol of the victory of righteousness over the wrong. This is an integral part of Dussehra story. This day is observed as Vijayadashami in eastern India and Karnataka. The celebrations in Mysore are especially lavish as it was believed that the demon Goddess Durga defeated belonged to Mysore.
- The Legend of Rama: Especially in North India, the epic Ramayana is cited as the legend behind Dussehra. Rama was the incarnation of god Vishnu, who was hailed as the most virtuous man in their country. However, he was a victim of a conspiracy and as a result, he along with his wife and brother were exiled for fourteen years. He is especially known for the fact that instead of voicing his disagreement to this unnecessary torture, he went along with it just so he could keep his father’s promise, thus making him the perfect image of a righteous man. Fast forward to the story and his wife, Sita, was tricked and kidnapped by the demon king Ravana. Rama went to rescue her along with his brother, Hanuman and his army of monkeys and engaged the demon in a bloody battle. On the tenth day, he was able to kill the demon king and Dussehra is celebrated on this occasion as a symbol of the victory of good over evil. Dussehra can be derived from ‘Dasa Hara’, which means slaying the ten heads. The demon king in the epic, Ravana, had ten heads.
- Legend of Shami Tree: While talking about epics, it is interesting to note that Dussehra has some roots in the great epic Mahabharata. It is said that, when the Pandavas were defeated in the game of gambling with the Kauravas, they were exiled from the kingdom for thirteen years, out of which twelve years were supposed to be spent in the forest and the last year in concealment. To go incognito, they had to conceal their weapons as they were very well known throughout the kingdom. They hid the weapons under a Shami tree. After the period of exile was over, they went to the Shami tree and prayed to it before retrieving their weapons. Since it is believed that this happened on the day of Dashami, this day came to be known as Vijayadashami as the Pandavas completed their period of exile. There is a tradition to hug each other under the Shami tree and exchange its leaves on Dussehra. It is probably because of this legend.
- Legend of Kausta: Kausta was the son of a Brahmin named Devadatta. After completing his studies, he requested his teacher to ask for Gurudakshina. Although initially reluctant, Sage Vararantu relented seeing his pupil’s stubbornness and asked him a sum of one hundred and forty gold coins to test him.
The determined boy went to request monetary help from King Raghu of Ayodhya but the king’s treasury was empty. So, taking a deadline of three days from the boy, the king went to god Indra for help. Indra asked the treasurer of the gods, Kuber to shower money on the Shanu and Aapti trees near the kingdom. As a result, Kausta was able to give Gurudakshina to his teacher. It is believed that this incident happened on the day of Dussehra so, people of Ayodhya present each other leaves of Aapti leaves as a sign of prosperity.
Some Customs And Rituals Associated With Dussehra
Dussehra has its own unique set of rituals that set it apart from other festivals.
- It is a typical West Bengal custom to colour each other with Vermilion on the day of visarjan (emersion of the idol of the goddess in water). This ritual is known as Sindur Khela. It is performed by married women to ensure that their marital lives are blissful. There is also a get-together and people give each other gifts.
- In Tamil Nadu, the day of Vijayadashami is celebrated along with Vidyarambam (beginning of education) so, the goddess Saraswati is worshipped on this day. This day is considered as a sacred day for the children to begin their education. Books, slates, pens any tool associated with learning are also worshipped on this day.
- In North India, a grand feast is arranged for the daughters and sons-in-law of the family. The daughters perform the ritual called Teeka, which is quite similar to Raksha Bandhan but differs in the way that the brothers do not have to gift their sisters in return. Meat and hard liquor can be served in the feast.
- The epic Ramayana is performed in many places in the North. The end of the Ram Leela is the day of the Dussehra and huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Khumbhakarna are burnt.
Sweet Dussehra SMS
Since it is such an important festival, people all over the country celebrate it with great zeal. There is lots of delicious food, pious rituals and people send each other gifts and wishes of goodwill. It is very important that you make your family know how much you care for them by a token of affection. The most popular ways of sending your good wishes are through gifts, greeting cards, and Dussehra SMS wishes. Here is a list of happy Dussehra quotes that you can message your loved ones on the occasion of this grand festival.
- May the goddess slay every evil that might come to harm you. Happy Dussehra!
- Let us celebrate the triumph of good over evil together. Wish you a happy Vijayadashami.
- May you have the Goddess’s divine protection. Wishing you and your family a happy Durga Puja.
- Praying to Goddess Durga for your happiness and prosperity. May all your hardships burn from the light of the Vijayadashami.
- On this auspicious occasion, I wish you and your family a very happy Dussehra.
- Sending Dussehra to your way. Let the joy of festivity embrace you.
- I wish you good health and happy life. May the Goddess shower her blessings on you and your life becomes free from all the evils that cause you hardship.
- A virtual hug to my brother. May your Dussehra be a wonderful one.
- I pray this Dussehra brings you lots of good luck and prosperity. Happy Durga Pooja!
- Lord Rama defeated the evil on this great day. May this day help you remember the potential you have, that you are capable of defeating the demons that trouble you. Happy Durga Pooja.
Essays on Dussehra
Here are some Dussehra essays to give you some ideas for your assignments. These Dussehra essays are just a few examples, you can find much more online.
- Dussehra is one of the most important festivals in India. It is generally celebrated in September and October. This day marks the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. Ram Leelas are held in places of India. These can last up to ten days. Lots of people gather in the Ram Leela grounds to watch the effigies of the demon king Ravana, his son Meghnad and his brother Khumbhakarna are burned. This symbolizes the victory of good over the evil. People look forward to these events with great anticipation. Fireworks and cheers fill the night sky.
- Dussehra is a major festival for the Hindus. It is celebrated in India, Nepal and Dussehra symbolize the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated with pomp and gaiety in many parts of India.
Ram Leelas are conducted in most parts of North India on the occasion of Dussehra while worshipping the idols of goddess Durga is most predominant in the western parts of India. People visit each other’s houses and bring gifts on the occasion of the festival.
This is a joyous occasion for everyone and feasts are held and people wear new clothes.
Dussehra is an important festival for every Indian. Besides being an occasion to have a great time with your family and loved ones, it teaches you an important lesson, “Evil can be defeated.” There are no demons that you cannot defeat. Good would always prevail over the evil so do not give up. Have a wonderful time with your family this Dussehra.