Vijayadashami or Dussehra or Dasara, is one of the most important festivals celebrated in various forms, across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara meaning “remover of bad fate” meaning remover of ten heads of Ravana’s.
It is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu autumn lunar month of Ashvin (September or October) from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada – the day after the new moon which falls in Bhadrapada, to the Dashami – the tenth day of Ashvin.
It is a day when devotees worship Goddess Shakti representing strength, ability and courage. It is said that the demons (Asuras) were very powerful and ambitious and continually tried to defeat the Devas, or Gods, and capture Heaven. Mahishasura was the most powerful demon out of them and under his leadership, demons defeated the Devas. Goddess Durga riding on a Lion fought Mahishasura and all the other demons for nine days and nights. Finally on the tenth day of Ashvin shukla paksha, Mahishasura was defeated and killed by Goddess Durga and since then the day marks the victory of Goddess Durga over such demons.
This day also celebrates the victory of Lord Ram (the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu) over the demon king Ravana. It is said that Ravana had kidnapped Lord Ram’s wife Mata Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. Lord Ram, his brother Lakshmana, their follower Hanuman and an army of bears and monkeys fought a great battle to rescue Mata Sita.
People perform Ram Leela – a drama which narrates the story Ram and Ravana and how Lord Rama killed Ravana. To celebrate this victory, on this day an effigy of Ravana is burnt at many places in India. This event is known as Ravan Dahan which symbolizes triumph over evil.
Dussehra 2017 Date :
In 2017, Dussehra or Vijayadashami will be celebrated on Saturday, 30 September, 2017.