Dussehra is a 10-day long Hindu festival celebrated mostly in Northern and Eastern India. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It’s the pinnacle of Navratri where we pray to goddess Shakti and her 9 avatars Each avatar. Navratri starts in the Asin month of the Hindu Calendar and starts at ekam (day 1). On the 10th day, the celebration is of the Vijaydashmi festival or Dusshera. Dusshera is of 2 words Dus (means 10) Hera(mean defeat). There are 2 legends associated with these festivals. We will try to cover the details about dussehra in English.
why we celebrate dussehra?
The two legends associated with Dasara are from Ramayan or of Goddess Durga. One of the stories associated is from Ramayan, Lord Ram (seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu) defeated Raavan and got back his wife goddess Sita. So, as a symbolic tribute, we still have Ramlila and Ravan Dahan(ritualistic burning of demon king Ravan).
The other legend is of Goddess Durga (who is the avatar of Goddess Shakti) where Goddess kills Demon Mahisasur. This is one of the reasons for the Dasara festival is a celebration.
In this article, we will be looking at various ways of how to celebrate Dussehra festival at home but before that let’s discuss some AboutDussehra in English in diﬀerent parts of India.
The Durga Puja or festival of Dasara is the identity of the state. The state of Bengal is transformed during this time and various theme-based pandals come up with Durga Ji idols. The Bengali households are buzzing with activity and at their home, on the 8th day that is astmi they fast through the day, and in the evening they socialize in the pandals.
On the 10th day, they have a very special kinda Holi but with sindoor only. This is exclusively done by the women of the family.
Navratri is a community festival. And Gujarat leads the way in Navratri. With Navratri color full dresses and dandiya, I think Bollywood doesn’t justify this festival at all. So, very importantly before Navratri the Gujrati household clear up their house. Then, the next thing is Ghat Staphana on the first day of Navratri. This is very important as we invite the goddess Durga to our homes to worship her over the next 9 days. The Kalash is full of water and some other holy things. And then around the Kalash, we sow some barley seeds which germinate over 9 days. Garba is an extremely important part of Gujrati Navratri. It’s a folk form of worshipping the goddess Durga.
Lord Ram has another name, Lord Raghunath. This 7 day-long festival is celebrated in Kullu with thousands participating in the festivals.
What to do for Dussehra in Delhi? Ram Leela in Delhi, one of the major attraction of Delhi, it is so huge with millions of people gathering to see the Ram Lila and Ravan Dahan. In Delhi, each household keeps Kalash and mostly all of them keep Mata ki chowki where the neighbors and family members gather together for bhajans and worshipping Goddess Durga the entire night. About Dussehra in English
Southern India is also not far behind. Although they celebrate it diﬀerently but the feeling of worship is common. Tamil Nadu celebrates it through Golu ( a festival of Dolls) or Kolu, they pray to Goddess Durga, Saraswati, and Laxmi. Some households also have Ramayan recitals during these 9 days. People visit each other homes since the festival is associated with women the women gift each other articles related to matrimonial symbols.
In Tamil Nadu
In Tamilnadu, there is also another version of Dusshera called Kulasekarapattinam Dasara. It’s a very local version and it’s celebrated around Mutharamman Temple. The unique aspect of this festival is a special trance dance in which people dress up really uniquely and sway to traditional beats.
Mysore Dusshera is unique to Mysore where the royal family worships Goddess Chamundeswari (an avatar of Goddess Durga) for the killing of demon Mahisasur. The Mysore palace is illuminated with thousands of lights from 7 pm to 10 pm every day throughout the festival.
Telangana floral festival
Telangana floral festival also called Bathukamma Panduga is also celebrated during this time. Bathukamma means Goddess coming to life. The women of the house in order to celebrate Goddess arrival makes diﬀerent kind of decoration from the flowers. That’s Dusshera of Telangana for you.
Dushera or Vijaydasmi festival is truly unique as these festivals mostly bring people together in masses. Where we come we celebrate and rejoice as a group. In the individual household, there are various ways we celebrate Dussehra.
How we celebrate Dussehra
How we celebrate Dussehra is basically like in some eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand, UP people usually have Kalash sthapana and a priest or pandit comes to do Pooja or read the book of Goddess Durga. So for 9 days, diﬀerent forms of Goddess are worshipped.
On the 8th day of the Pooja, all the household calls small girls usually 9 in numbers, and worship them as 9 avatars of the goddess shakti. Then on the 9th day, there is havan and we ask the goddess to bless us and thank her for coming to our home when invited.
In the Northern state Mata ki Chowki is considered to be auspicious in any home. People stay up all night worshipping goddess Shakti with bhajans, Aarti, etc. Just like above on the 8th Day of the festival, they also worship small girls as an avatar of Goddess Durga.
The irony of the situation is that where we love and worship Goddess Durga who is a woman India is one of the highly unsafe country for women and girls. Where on 1 day we worship small girls as roop or version of Goddess herself, we also rank highest in female foeticide.
About Dussehra in English
As we have tried to give you details About Dussehra in English but here are Some other ways of Why we Celebrate Dussehra.
Recital of Ramayan
We are lucky to have grandparents, who had told us Stories of Ramayan and other mythological events but in today’s fast-paced world these stories are lost somewhere. These 9 days will be a very good time to recite these stories to your loved ones and children.
What to do this Dussehra 2021? :
Because of Covid-19, the festivals will be a little dull this year, so you and your friends can dress up as diﬀerent characters of Ramayan and have your own little Ramlila. You can involve children and your society members also. Be safe and maintain social distancing.
Burn your own Ravan
You can make paper Ravan and burn them on your own. Or you can paint your own Ravan and have a Ravan Dahan. Remember it is symbolic but in practical life, Ravan is no one else but the bad habits you have so while you are doing Ravan Dahan make sure that you also burn one bad habit of your along with it in the fire.
Preparing a feast
After all, Dussehra is a festival that symbolizes the victory of good over bad. So whenever there is a victory good food automatically becomes a part of it. So how can we have a celebration without good food? It’s time to go traditional with food and indulge so while some households will make poori, black chickpeas curry, and semolina dessert in southern states we may find idli, dosa, avial, sambhar, etc.
Home decoration for Dusshera
Like any festival, the decoration is integral and since I have discussed this in detail in our other article discussing ideas of how to decorate your house this Navratri I will not bore you to death here. If you really want to read that article click here.
Navratri or Dusshera 2020 is just around the corner and I have tried to cover extensively Dusshera celebration throughout India and its various states. You will also find some ideas on how Dusshera is celebrated at home for 2020. We hope that you like our article and in case if I have missed out on anything please feel free to comment we would love to hear from you and showcase your idea as well. So here Is my take on Detailed About Dussehra in English & why we celebrate Dussehra & How to Celebrate Dussehra festival at home in this lockdown.
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