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Dussehra 2016: India celebrates the victory of good over evil with Vijaya Dashami

One of the most awaited festivals of all time is 'Dussehra' or 'Vijayadashami', a festival which is celebrated with enthusiasm all across the nation signifying the victory of good over evil

Ravana Effigy on Vijayadashami. Wikimedia

October 11, 2016: India is known as the land of festivals, and the festive season starts as soon as the calendar reaches October. One of the most awaited festivals of all time is ‘Dussehra’ or ‘Vijayadashami’, a festival which is celebrated with enthusiasm all across the nation signifying the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated in a variety of ways in India and also in Nepal. The word dashami or Dussehra itself indicates 10, that is the celebration goes on for 10 days.

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Dussehra :Burning effigy of Ravana. Wikimedia

Hindu festival Dussehra celebrates the victory of good over evil by burning effigies of Ravana- the demon king. Devotees celebrate it with great pomp because Lord Rama proved that there is no place for social evils on earth by killing demon King Ravana. In Nepal, it is celebrated as ‘Dashain’.

On that very day, they take out a chariot carrying people enacting as Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. They pass through the crowd, and the person enacting as Ram aims an arrow to burn the effigies one by one which is known as ‘Ram Lila’.

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Durga Puja ,Wikimedia

The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura. Goddess Durga fought with the demon for ten days and nine nights. On the tenth day, Mahishasura was killed by Goddess Durga. This day is known as Vijayadasami, the word is derived from Sanskrit vijaya-dasami, that is, victory on the tenth day of the Hindu month.

During this time of the year, in South-Western parts of India ,especially Maharashtra and Gujarat, ‘Navratri’  is celebrated. Nav means 9 and ratri are nights, thus the festival is meant to be spread over nine nights. People gather together to play ‘Garba’,followed with several competitions held by organizers which continue till late night.

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In southern India, like Tamil Nadu and neighboring states ,they celebrate the Navratri by dividing those 9 days into 3 equal parts to respective goddesses ,Laxmi,Durga,Saraswati and pray for wealth ,education ,strength, and prosperity. They decorate their houses and steps with lamps and flowers in the evenings. People of Mysore have their unique style to celebrate it with pomp and pageantry.

– Prepared by Sommaya Singh of NewsGram. Twitter: @SinghSommaya

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.