Vijaya Dashami literally means the celebration of righteousness over evil which is
celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin. Find out about the origin
of the festival and its celebration in India.
The tenth day of the
Hindu lunar month of Ashwin is
celebrated as Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra. It marks the end of the Maha Navratri or the nine days of Durga Puja. The day is basically the celebration of the
victory of the Mother Goddess over evil demons named Shumbh and Nishumbh. So it
is a celebration of righteousness over evil and according to legends the day is
marked by several other such victories of good and other factors.
Hindus celebrate this
festival worldwide by observing social gatherings and offering sweets and gifts
to relatives, friends and neighbours. The festivity also marks the beginning of
the harvest season and prayers are said and rituals are observed to invoke
blessings from Mother Earth for a good harvest, peace and prosperity to all.
The Origin of the Festival
refer to a number of stories related to Vijaya Dashami, let us have a look at some of them.
The Culmination of Navaratri - According to
this story, Shakti or Parvati the wife of Shiva defeats and kills the demon
called Mahishasura after a nine-day long battle. According to the Skanda
Purana, this is the victory of the Mother Goddess who acquires power and energy
to defeat and vanquish all evil from the face of the earth and protect her progenies
from every misery.
The Victory of Lord Ram - Vajayadashami also celebrates the victory of
Lord Ram over Ravana as cited in the epic Ramayana. This is when Lord Ram rescues his wife Sita
who was abducted by Ravana and imprisoned in Lanka. Effigies of Ravana are
burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. This marks the celebration of
Dussehra all over India.
End of Exile of the Pandavas - According to Mahabharata, Vijaya Dashami also marks the end of â€śAgyatvasâ€ť or exile in disguise for the Pandavas.
They were to spend twelve years in exile and the thirteenth year in disguise
after the elder Pandave, the defeat of Yudhisthir in the game of dice with his Kaurava
cousin, Duryodhana. On this day, the Pandavas completed their thirteen years of
exile and came about to claim their rightful kingdoms.
Vijaya Dashami (Dussehra) Celebrations
In northern India, it
is a ritual to plant barley seeds in earthen pots on the first day of Ashwin month or the beginning on the
Navaratri. On the tenth day, these sprouts are taken out and used and planted
as symbols of luck, they are called â€śNoratratsâ€ť
due to their nine-night old age.
In the southern part
of India Vijaya Dashami is celebrated with the worship of Chamundeshwari or
Durga. Colourful toys of gods and goddesses are built and exhibited to mark the
celebration which is known as â€śGoluâ€ť
in Tamil Nadu and â€śBombe Habbaâ€ť in
Karnataka. In Kerala, Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge is worshipped
on the day of Vijaya Dashami and young children are introduced to education on
this auspicious day.
Dussehra Celebrations In Eastern India and
Bengal - Vijaya Dashami marks
the culmination of the five days of Durga Puja. The idol of the mother goddess
is worshipped for five days and on this day, Durga is believed to leave for her
husband, Shivaâ€™s abode in the Himalayas. The idol is immersed in the Ganges on
this day and the festivities of greeting each other and distributing sweets
begin. The young seek the blessings of the elders on this occasion.
In fact, the principal
motif of Vijaya Dashami is to mark the victory of good over evil and promote
social bonding. Apart from the Hindus, people from all religions become a part
of the festivities as sweets are distributed to one and all and gifts are exchanged.
People pray for peace and prosperity and celebrate the commencement of a
fruitful harvest season.