Dussehra which in India is also known as Vijayadashmi or Dasara festival is a popular Indian festival. This day marks completion of the 9 day long Navratri celebration. According to the Hindu calendar, Dussehra festival falls on "Dasa" or the tenth day in the Hindu month of Ashvin. It is a full moon day i.e. Poornima and falls majorly in the month of September or October.
DUSSEHRA DATE AND TIME
Dussehra will be celebrated on 30th September 2017 this year.
Dussehra festival is joyously celebrated for varied reasons in every part of the country. It holds a distinct significance for various sections of Indian society. In Northern and Western India, it is observed to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. The demon Ravana was killed by Lord Rama for abducting his wife Sita after a 10 day long battle. In Eastern India, this festival marks an end to the glorious "Durga Puja" festival where the victory or "Vijaya" of Goddess Durga over the demon buffalo to reinstate Dharma is revered and remembered.
In every part of India, this jubilant festival is seen as an epitome of the victory of good over evil. Also Vijayadashmi celebrations are coupled with the beginning of Diwali preparations which comes 20 days post this festival.
Dasara is celebrated with absolute devotion and fervor in every part of India. However, this festival is associated with various traditions and rituals in different states and cities.
In Northern side of the country, the celebrations of this day begins on Navratri itself. Dussehra celebrations majorly begin a month prior to the actual festival where the cities light up with fairs, plays and decoration among others. Plays based on Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas are enacted in every nook and corner of the city where the story of Lord Rama, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman and their win over Ravana is colorfully depicted with narrations, recitals and songs in a span of 10 days. On the 10th day of "Ramlila" effigies of Ravana are burnt amidst cheers of spectators representing the victory of good over evil.
In Western India, people revere both Lord Rama and Goddess Durga and laud their victories. In Gujarat, some people also observe fasts and visits temples. In Maharashtra, processions are carried out with songs and dance where people carry the idols of the deities, that they have placed in their homes on the 1st day of Navratri and immerse them in water and bid goodbye.
In Eastern India, especially in West Bengal, Durga Puja or Navratri is considered as the biggest festival which is celebrated for 9 long days. Vijayadashmi is the tenth day on which people carry large clay statues of Goddess Durga to the river in a huge procession and bid her farewell with devotional songs and recitals.
Vijayadashmi celebrations involve various customs and traditions in Southern India. Here, this festival is majorly dedicated the goddess of knowledge and learning, Goddess Saraswati. People often initiate their education in cultural fields such as classical dance or music on this day and also pay respect to their teachers. In Tamil Nadu, 9 days of this festival are dedicated to three goddesses; the initial three days to Goddess Lakshmi, following three days to Goddess Saraswati and the final three days to Goddess Durga.
In some parts of India, people perform Aparajita Puja and Shami Puja on Vijayadashmi
Shami Puja is basically performing puja of the Shami tree which is majorly found in North East India. It was traditionally done by warriors (Kshatriyas) on the day of Vijayadashmi.
People offer prayers to Goddess Aparajita on this day. It is believed that Lord Rama took the blessings of Goddess Aparajita, the goddess of victory before going to the battle to defeat Ravana. This puja will be done at the time of Aparahna Muhurat.