What is Dussehra and Why it is Celebrated?

Dussehra Meaning

Also Known as Dasha-Hara, Dassera, and Durgotsav, this festival has its own unique meaning. It is a festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The word 'Dussehra' is made up of two Hindi words 'dus' and 'hara', where “dus” means ten and 'hara' is annihilated. Therefore, if these two words are combined, 'Dussehra' stands for the day when the ten evil faces (faced by Ravana) were destroyed by Lord Rama. The festival, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil, Dussehra, is one of the most notable Indian festivals. It is celebrated on the tenth day of Navratri. This festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana. This sacred festival is believed to be the incarnation of Lord Rama, who is considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Hindu trinity.

The festival has its own significance and distinctive features that make it different from the rest of the festivals celebrated in various nations of India. Go through this article to discover more fascinating Dussehra rituals and why do we celebrate the festival?


History of Dussehra

The festival of Dussehra describes its origin from the great Hindu epic Ramayana which states that Lord Rama, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, killed the ten-headed Satan Ravana in Satyuga, as Ravana abducted Lord Rama's wife Sita. Lord Rama was accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and a follower Hanuman with an army of monkeys who went all the way to Lanka (the kingdom of Ravana) to fight Ravana and bring Sita back. On his departure, Rama prayed to Durga to seek the blessings of the Goddess of courage and strength. Lord Rama finally killed Ravana and conquered evil. To celebrate this day, Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated.


The Significance of Dussehra in Indian Culture

Understanding the "Importance of Dussehra" is pivotal in appreciating its deep-rooted significance in Indian culture. Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is more than just a festival; it's an embodiment of India's rich cultural tapestry and millennia-old traditions. Rooted deeply in mythological tales and historical events, Dussehra signifies the perennial triumph of good over evil. This auspicious day marks the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana, an allegory that teaches us that righteousness, no matter the adversities, will always prevail. Across the length and breadth of India, Dussehra is celebrated with unmatched fervour. The effigies of Ravana, Meghnad, and Kumbhakarna are set ablaze, symbolising the obliteration of malevolence by virtue's radiant flame. In some regions, this day also commemorates the Goddess Durga's win over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura, reinforcing the might of divine feminine power. Moreover, Dussehra is not just a religious observance; it's a reminder. A reminder that every individual, irrespective of their background or belief, has the inner strength to combat the challenges life throws at them. As communities gather, sweets are shared, and stories are retold, the essence of Dussehra instils hope, courage, and the invincible spirit of perseverance in every heart. It's a festival that bridges the past with the present, guiding the way for a future where virtue always stands tall.

Why do we celebrate Dussehra?

The festival of Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil. Here how we celebrate Dussehra in different parts of India:

North India

In northern India, Dussehra signifies the victory of good over evil. The depiction of Lord Rama's life in Ram Leela begins ten days before the Dussehra festival. These are performed by many amateur and professional theatre groups in cities, villages, and suburbs of northern India. On the day of Dussehra, huge effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhakarna are lit in the Ram Leela Maidan amidst the carnival-like atmosphere. Amidst these celebrations, it's a tradition for many to give a gift for Dussehra to honour the occasion and share Dussehra wishes the joy with loved ones.

Dussehra celebration in Northern India

South India

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, Dussehra celebrations begin nine days before Dussehra. In this region, these nine holy days are dedicated to the worship of the three main deities of Hinduism. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in the first three days, as she is said to be the best of wealth and prosperity, while Saraswati is prayed for the next three days, which is called the dualism of knowledge and art. The last three days are dedicated to the reverence of Mother Goddess, known as Shakti, Durga. In the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, miniature statues and beautiful tableaux of dolls are set up in artificial stages in homes, traditionally known as 'Bommai Kolu'.

Dussehra celebration in Southern India

Eastern India

Dussehra is celebrated as the victory of the goddess Durga over a cruel and mighty satan named Mahishasura who had become so powerful that he had captured both heaven and earth. It is believed that after a long battle of nine days, the powerful goddess subdued her and killed her; Therefore, this day is celebrated as Vijayadashami. On this day, huge idols of Goddess Durga are immersed in rivers and seas with great reverence and are seen with pomp. In the state of Orissa, the festival is known as Vijoja Dashami. This day is celebrated as the culmination of Sharadiya Durga Puja.

Dussehra celebration in Eastern India

West India

In Maharashtra, Dussehra festival is related to various interesting legends besides Lord Rama. On the day of Dussehra, the flour tree is worshipped and its leaves are gifted to the near and dear ones, with Dussehra sweet gifts and sweets being considered a good omen. It is also believed that it was on this day that the Pandavas of the Mahabharata, after completing 12 years of exile, retrieved their weapons from under a Shami tree, where they had stored them for safekeeping. The nine days before Dussehra are celebrated here as Navratri. The idols of the Goddess installed on the first day of Navratri are immersed in water on Dussehra. Thus, the festival of Dussehra has multifaceted importance in various regions of India's multicultural land.

Dussehra celebration in Western India

Here we conclude our blog, as this day is celebrated as the victory of good over evil. Just like that, you forget all the worries behind and celebrate the day with your friends and family and exchange gifts with each other. Visit our website and find the best Dussehra gifts online.