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.
This year ‘Vijayadashami’- the day of triumph is celebrated on Sunday, 25th October with great pleasure following all the COVID19 norms to control the spread of the virus.
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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. Due to COVID19, the celebrations have seen a huge decline in making the festivals worth celebrating, no pandals were allowed, no huge gathering allowed to make Dussehra.
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’.
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-Dashami, 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 by several competitions held by organizers which continue till late night. Due to COVID19 celebrations were disrupted, there were no Garba nights, no other competitions to enjoy and celebrate the festival this year.
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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.
(The article is modified on October 25, 2020, It was originally written on October 11, 2016.)