|Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is one of the most
important festivals celebrated in various forms, across India. It is also referred to as Navratri and Durgotsav.|
Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara meaning "remover of bad fate" meaning remover of ten heads of Ravana. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu autumn lunar month of Ashvin, or Ashwayuja which falls in September or October of the Western calendar. The first nine days are celebrated as Maha Navratri and culminates on the tenth day as Dussehra.
The day marks the victory of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasur. It is a day when devotees worship Goddess Shakti who represents strength, ability and courage. This day also celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
In India, the harvest season begins at this time and so the Mother Goddess is invoked to start the new harvest season and reactivate the vigor and fertility of the soil. This is done through religious performances and rituals which are thought to invoke cosmic forces that rejuvenate the soil. Many people of the Hindu faith observe Dussehra through social gatherings and food offerings to the gods at home and in temples.
Mythology & Celebration across India:
Every region has its own tale, although somewhere they are all linked to a common belief. According to legends, there was once a demon called Mahishasura. Through severe penance, he procured from Lord Brahma, creator of the world, the boon that no man or deity or animal would be able to kill him. So it was that when the Gods failed to contain the havoc Mahishasura was wreaking on the world, they created Durga, a powerful female form with 10 arms. All the Gods gave her their most potent weapons. In essence, each God gave a bit of himself to the feminine form, who emerged superiorly endowed. Thus empowered, Durga went forth into battle and conquered Mahishasura. It is this famous victory that is re-enacted and celebrated during Dussehra for the general betterment of people.