Celebrations Purely Indian: Dussehra Part of Navrathri

snerfuStarred Page By snerfu, 2nd Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1q5le0vy/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

Dussehra is an Indian celebration, a festival marking the beginning of studies and of planting of crops. It also goes by the name of Vijayadashmi and it an integral unit of the ten-day Navrathri festival of India. Here you can see the various stories associated with these celebrations coming from old Indian folklore.

Sun that shall not rise

Come October and you would see India priming and primping itself for a celebration. It means in Sanskrit – the sun will not rise! Of course, people who understand Sanskrit and its import are very few. Culturally, according to old folklore good prevails over evil. One reference is to Lord Rama, who defeats Ravana, the demon king.

Ten-day battle

The second reference is to Goddess Durga who battles and overcomes Mahishasur demons. This goddess is supposed to have battled for 9 nights and 10 days to overcome the demons. Thus we have Dasha (ten) + Ahaha (day). Vijayadashmi has its roots in the same context — Dashmi is tenth lunar day of Hindu month Ashwin.

The ten heads of Ravana are supposed to represent the base emotions in man.
a) Mada
b) Loba
c) Moha
d) Amanavta
e) Anyaaya
f) Swartha
g) Ahankara
h) Matsara
i) Krodha
j) Kama Vasana
The second context refers to the Asura Mahishasura, who in the form of a buffalo created havoc on earth. Shakthi then came to form from the mouths of the Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as a very powerful and enchanting woman.

Pooja and parade

During Dussera, one finds melas and parades, along side poojas and prayer meetings in homes and temples throughout the land. Bonfires are made of effigies and special sweets are prepared. All Government offices remain closed in India. This festival is celebrated with much pomp and forms one of the important pillars of Hindu culture.

Vijayadashmi, the other popular name for Dussera festival, was given immense popularity during the 17th century reign of Mysore kings the Wodeyars.

Rain of gold coins

Lastly, another immensely popular story is that of King Raghuraja who had to give 140 million gold coins to Kautsa, in appreciation of the knowledge he exhibited in the king’s court. King Raghuraja appealed to Lord Kubera who then rained the gold coins from the heavens on Ayodhya.

Link to planting of crops

In some parts of India, people plant barley seeds on the first day of Dussehra. On the ninth day, these sprouts are removed and worn behind the ear or in their caps. This is supposed to bring good luck. In Kerala, the last three days of Navrathri is celebrated as Saraswathi Puja commemorating the goddesses Saraswathi. On this day, in Kerala, the festival Vidhyarambham (it means “beginning of learning”) or Ezhithiniruthu (it translates to “sit down to write”) is celebrated. This is the practice of making children begin their learning of Malayalam alphabets by their parents and grandparents. Children write one alphabet in rice or some grain.

In Tamilnadu, this festival sees the worship of the three goddesses, Lakshmi, Saraswathi and Shakthi. People undertake fasting for nine days. They dress up as different gods on each of the nine days and collect money for the temples. People get together to celebrate their friendship and culture.

Kharif crop is planted after Dussera. Planting of Rabi crop occurs after Diwali. Diwali is the prime festival of India. It is referred to as the festival of lamps. However, it is not so extensive as Dussehra festival that is celebrated over nine nights and ten days.

Celebration in Southern states

In the Southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and also in Andhra Pradesh, toy festival Golu is celebrated. Dolls are placed in tiers and people visit each others house to see these dolls. They are given sweets and savories.

Intrinsic cultural link of Dussehra to prosperity and tradition
Dussehra festival is thus closely associated to culture of India. It marks the planting season in some parts while all over the country, this festival marks the day when education begins for small children. All children in the country mark this day as the day they begin their education.

Ayoodha pooja also takes place at this time. It is the pooja when craftsmen and workers place their tools and implements (writers keep their pens) for pooja. They wait for evil to be destroyed and then at the most auspicious time they conduct rites to have a good beginning for the year.

Happy days are here again

Thus, this Indian celebration, Dussehra marks a turning point in the lives of Indian people. It ushers in peace and prosperity. These ten days also signify end to hard times since evil is destroyed (at least symbolically). Among the beliefs and traditions of Indians, Dussera thereby acquires enormous significance. Enchanting India is an exciting tourist destination.

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Tags

Celebration, Days, Dussehra, Festival, India, Pooja

Meet the author

author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Lovely...celebrations and binding traditions and believes...here... it is nearing harvest time, when we also have bonfires...and homecomings...sharing and gathering as those who went before us...wonderful informative share...thanks sneru

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author avatar snerfu
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Yes harvest festival is time for cakes and new recipes at our church too. However, Dussera has its own charm meaning it is like a winter bell.

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author avatar Sherri Granato
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Gorgeous photos! I love celebrations. How fun.

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Ha ha Sherri, Hope you have not brought any creatures of the night with you. Thanks for dropping by.

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author avatar Retired
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Excellent and informative. I've always loved Navaratri...jhving lived in Kerala for more than two decades. :) Namaskaram

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Namaskaram, Kerala has a healthy environment though job opportunities are few. Thank you rama devi nina for giving me the look up.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
2nd Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for sharing this lovely, informative article with suitable photos.

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Yes Mr Rama Rao, ever since I was a child, the sweets and lights always kept me life bright. I understand the significance of it all now.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Excellent article about this celebration!!

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Hi Phyl, Glad you could join in the celebration. By tradition we offer "sundal" to all visitors. Do not be surprised if you see barley leaves sticking out from behind my ear.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Snerfu, thank you so much for teaching me something new today. I love celebrations and having fun. I love these traditions. I can just see people working hard for the festivities. It's harvest time here and winter will shortly be upon us. Happiness to you!

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Why thank you Nancy. I see you are already in the spirit of celebrations. It is so different from place to place and therein lies the unity. Peace be with you too.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

"It is different from place to place
and therein lies the unity"...sheer poetry of reason snerfu well said!...the joy of the difference...love it!....you have indeed put the smile and the poetry in my very busy morning...:0)..now off I must dash to grocery shop...many thanks.

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author avatar snerfu
3rd Oct 2014 (#)

Wait a moment Ms Powers, while I bask in your camaraderie...okay you may go!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks Snerfu for this lovely share with apt images. Ladies love this time as they can strut about in all finery reconnecting with friends who are otherwise busy. There is more awareness among all religions now of the significance of the festivals mostly highlighting the sacrifices made by the good in their fight against evil and that does not seem to wane - in fact, the hatred is kept simmering by few - siva

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author avatar snerfu
5th Oct 2014 (#)

I can see the fire in your eyes Siva or are you just thinking about costs for Diwali? Just kidding, bursting crackers seems to be a privilege reserved only for a few lucky guys.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
14th Oct 2014 (#)

Nice post and full of interesting information about the great Indian festivals and cultural events in various times of the year

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author avatar snerfu
14th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks Mr Mc Costigan, I love festivals.

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