Vijayadashami or Dussehra marks the victory of Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu’s avatar, over Ravana, the demon king with ten heads. The celebrations are conducted between September and October, which falls on Ashvina month’s tenth day. It is when a full moon appears and is often known as shukla paksha or bright fortnight and co-occurs with Navratri or festivals of nine nights.
In Hindu culture, other regional names and variations of Dussehra are Vijayadahsami, Dashain, Dashahra, or Dasara. The festivity brings faith that the negativity and evil forces are destroyed when they burn Ravana’s statue every year on this day, marking the beginning of positivity and a new era. The rituals followed on Dussehra, including, Aparajita puja, Seema avalanghan, and Shami puja.
Vijayadashami Or Dussehra Date 2023
Vijaydashmi or Dussehra muhurat, and the date for 2023 is as follows:
- Shravana nakshatra beginning muhurat- 06:44 PM on October 22, 2023
- Shravana nakshatra ending muhurat- 05:14 PM on October 22, 2023
- Aparaharna puja muhurat- 01:13 PM to 03:28 PM, October 24, 2023
- Vijay muhurat- 01:58 PM to 02:43 PM, October 24, 2023
- Dashami tithi muhurat begining- 05:44 PM on October 23, 2024
- Dashami tithi ending muhurat- 03:14 PM on October 24, 2024
Historical And Mythological Significance
The Story of Lord Rama And Ravana
Lord Rama and the demon Ravana are among the most common legends associated with the Dussehra festival. As mentioned in Ramayana, demon king Ravana Kidnapped Sita, Rama’s wife, when Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Lakshamana were in exile for fourteen years. Demong King Ravana took Sita to Lanka in his kingdom.
Then, Lakshamana, Lord Rama’s brother, Hanumana, and their monkey army battled against Lord Ravana’s people. Lord Rama killed the demon king in the battle and rescued his wife, Sita. The victory over evil has been marked as Vijaydashami or Dusshera since then, and people burn Ravana statues along with his brothers Kubhkarana and Meghnath.
The Story of Goddess Durga And Mahishasura
Another legend is of the ten-day battle of Goddess Durga against Mahishasura, the buffalo demon who made people on Earth terrified. When the deities could not defeat the demon, they requested Goddess Durga to defeat the Mahishasura demon.
Goddess Durga continued a fierce battle with Mahishasura demon for ten days and defeated him. Peace was restored on Earth after the demon was killed. The nine nights are observed as Navratri and Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon leads to Dussehra.
Regional Celebrations of Dussehra
Dussehra follows the Navratri’s nine days on the tenth day when people in the North Indian region get together to watch the performances of Ramlila, where Lord Rama’s story is beautifully played by artists yearly. While the story ends, the character playing lord Rama burns Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghnad’s effigy to depict victory over evil forces.
Jamni puja or Banni puja, often called Shami puja, is observed in the South Indian regions of Dussehra. The farewell of Goddess Durga is observed on Dusshera when people display Golu (doll). When the effect of Dashami is there, people perform visarjana or submerging of the Goddess in water during Pratahkala or Aparahna period. Ayudha Puja (worship of instruments and tools) is also conducted at many places to express honour and gratitude to deities.
The west Indian region observes Dandiya and Garba, the folk dances during Navaratri when the idols are placed in their areas on Navratri’s first day. The processions and immersion of idols are on the tenth day of Dussehra.
The east Indian region celebrates Bijoya Dhashami or Dussehra after the Durga Puja celebrations. The idols are immersed on the tenth day, marking a vast procession. Sindoor Khela is performed by married women on the last day when they apply Vermillion on each other while greeting, and the immersion of Goddess Durga is after this ritual.
Customs And Traditions
Some of the customs and traditions observed on Dussehra include the following:
- Fasting and feasting
- Special prayers and rituals
- Exchange of gifts and sweets
- Wearing traditional attire
Special Foods And Delicacies on Vijayadashami
Many special foods and delicacies are prepared during the nine days of Navratri. The tenth day that marks victory over evil or negativity is celebrated by offering the following foods and delicacies to devotees and deities:
- Sabudana Khichdi
- Chana Sundal
- Other regional specialties include basundi, masala bhaath (rice), kanda bhaji, sevaiiyan, paal payasam, katachi amti, puran poli, and many more
Although technological advancement has made some people diminish cultures and traditions, preserving traditions is crucial in modern times. Adapting to the evolving world is good when the traditions and cultures are followed along with the advancement. Like many other festivals, Dussehra demonstrates spreading peace and connectivity among people and communities. Dussehra is a victory over negativity and evil that spreads joy and happiness among people and communities.