“Everyday sun rises to give us the message that darkness will always be beaten by light. We need to reinstate our belief in the supernatural rule that no matter what, finally, the goodwill triumph over the evil!”
Legends Behind Dussehra
Dussehra is a significant Hindu festival celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm. Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day in the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar, after the 9 days of Navratri.
The most popular legend has it that Ram (the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), on this day in Satyug (Golden Age), killed the king of Lanka, the great demon Raavan, who had abducted Ram’s wife Sita. This day is also called ‘Vijayadashami’ to mark the tenth day of the war that culminated in the victory of Ram (Good) over Raavan (Evil).
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Another legend tells that Arjun, one of the Pandav princes, had hidden his weapons in a tree before his 1-year ‘agyaatvaas’, and worshipped them on his return on the day of Dussehra before using them again. Hence, he began the tradition of worshipping weapons, vehicles, tools, machinery, account books and stationery on the day of Dussehra.
Another such legend symbolizes Dussehra with the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon. The festival of Dussehra also marks the end of the Navratri celebrations (9 nights celebration dedicated to the worship of 9 forms of Goddess/’Devi’ with music and dance) and the immersion of Durga idols which are worshiped for nine days prior to Dussehra.
Various Forms of Dussehra Celebrations
- The preparations for Dussehra start weeks in advance. Many drama schools and acting troupes enact ‘Ram Lila’ (the saga of Lord Ram) on stage for ten days. Elaborate processions are taken to the Ram Lila grounds on the tenth day, where the cracker-stuffed effigies of Raavan, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanad are set on fire amidst a crowded Dussehra fair.
- In Mysore, the celebrations continue for a 10-day period. Renowned musicians of Karnataka and other regions perform in front of the illuminated Mysore Palace. The Palace is opened for public and the royal throne is displayed. Folk dance performances and doll shows are organized. Sports and wrestling competitions are held. A two-month-long Dussehra Exhibition and a Food and Film festival are organized. A Dussehra procession is carried out on the tenth day consisting of floats, mounted guards in royal livery, police bands, folk artists and musicians. The procession is followed by a torch light procession in the evening with a stunning display of fireworks.
- In Bengal, the 10 days of Navratri and Dussehra are celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’. Enormous pandals are set up to worship the idols of Goddess Durga for nine days. On the tenth day, after a procession, the idols are immersed in a river or pond.
During the 9 days of Navratri, the streets sparkle with disco lights in the evenings and “bhajans” are sung in praise of ‘Maa Durga’ and other Gods and Goddesses. People decorate their entrances with “torans” and flower-studded strings. Several fairs are also organized during these ten days’ festival all over India.
Dress Ideas for Dussehra
Men and women dress up in traditional attire. While women generally dress up in bright lehenga-choli, sarees, Punjabi-suits, etc., men wear dhoti-kurta, kurta-pajama or sherwani, with a traditional stole around their neck.
Games for Dussehra Celebrations
Organize an event or host a few games for the entertainment of residents in your society. Such social get-togethers help people know each other and build comradeship with their neighbors.
- Cultural programs: Cultural programs add color and zest to the festival. You can volunteer to organize a cultural program for the entertainment of adults & children in your neighborhood.
- Musical Chair: Musical chair is quite popular as a game that can engage people from all age groups.
- Tambola: Tambola is played on a basic principle. The organizer/caller calls the Number/CUE one at a time and players need to strike Numbers on their tickets. Tambola/Houzee can be played in many different ways depending on the competency level of the target audience.
- Action game (Dumb Charades): It is a fun game that people from all age groups enjoy.
- Know thy neighbor: A game that helps you know more about your neighbors.
- Drawing and Colouring competition: Find some artists in your society by conducting a drawing and coloring competition.
Dussehra Gift Ideas
Festive occasions are a time to deck up in the best of clothes. Pick a traditional attire or a designer-one to gift.
Gifting sweets is a traditional way of sharing the festive merriment. You can also opt for gift hampers consisting of assorted sweets, baked items, juices, etc. However, make sure that the person being gifted is neither a diabetic nor on a low-fat diet!
Women around the world love jewelry. From bangles, rings, pendants, bracelets, chains to earrings, everything is considered a good gift. You can even choose a designer watch for your lady.
Gold/silver coins with images of Goddess Lakshmi or Lord Ganesha are also received very well as they are considered to bring happiness and prosperity. Other such auspicious items are adorned idols of Gods and Goddesses like Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, Lakshmi-Ganesha or a silver platter to worship (‘aarti ki thali’).
Decorative items, gift hampers, pooja accessories etc.
Songs to play on Dussehra
Music is known to enrich every occasion. Get a playlist ready for the day in advance.
Indian Bollywood Songs to play on Dussehra
- Hey Ram Hey Ram by Jagjeet Singh
- Payoji Meine Ram Ratan by Lata Mangeshkar
- Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu by Lata Mangeshkar
- Mangal Bhawan Amangal Hari – Aarti
- Aaja Re Aaja Mere Ram Raghuraai by Asha Bonsle
- Hare Ram from film Bhool Bulaiya by Neeraj Shridhar
- Hare Rama Hare Krishna from film Hare Rama Hare Krishna and by Asha Bhonsle and Usha Iyer
- Jag Mein Sunder Do Hai Naam by Anup Jalota
- Ram Ka Naam Badnam from film Hare Rama Hare Krishna by Kishore Kumar
- Rom Rom Mein Basane Wale Ram by Asha Bonsle
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