Significance of Dussehra

The very mention of Dussehra evokes joy and enthusiasm. This ten-day grand celebration, primarily for Hindus but embraced by all, typically occurs in September or October, coinciding with the transition to autumn. During this season, the sky transforms into vivid blue with fluffy white clouds, and a gentle coolness graces the fresh wind.

History behind the Celebration of Dussehra

To truly comprehend the significance of Dussehra, we must delve into Hindu mythology, as documented in our ancient scriptures like the Puranas. The tale unfolds with the demon Mahishasura, an evil minotaur, receiving a boon from Lord Brahma, which grants him immunity from being killed by any male in the universe. Disregarding females as a potential threat, he exploited his newfound power to launch an assault on heaven, nearly defeating all the gods. To counter this menace, the gods turned to Adi Shakti, the female goddess of power, who assumed the form of Devi Durga with her ten arms. It took ten days of intense battle, putting the survival of every being in the universe at stake, but eventually, Devi, the Goddess, emerged victorious. The simple conclusion: “Good always triumphs over evil.” Yet, there is more to it. Dussehra exemplifies ultimate women empowerment. Maybe, to prove this, a part of the ritual is ‘Kumari Puja’, where a girl under the age of ten years is chosen by the Hindu purohit so that she can be worshipped as a Goddess.

The significance of Dussehra

Dussehra is celebrated with diverse significance, reflecting India’s rich culture and traditions. In the eastern part of India, it is known as Durga Puja, while the central region celebrates it as Dussehra, with Lord Rama worshipping Devi Durga to vanquish the ten-headed demon Ravana. In other parts of India, it is referred to as Navaratri. Regardless of whether it’s Devi Durga riding a lion or Devi Amba astride a tiger, the message remains consistent: the Goddess had to intervene to rescue and protect the world, symbolising the triumph of righteousness over evil.

Millions of people commemorate this festival over ten days. During the first nine days of Navaratri, people abstain from consuming tamasic foods like onions, garlic, non-vegetarian fare, and alcohol. Throughout the night, “Jagran ” takes place, with individuals chanting mantras and singing praises for the Goddess. Women, especially from households and neighbourhoods, participate fervently, and the air reverberates with the chant of “Jai Mata Di.”

On the final day of the celebration, enormous effigies of Ravana, often towering over 10-15 feet, are set ablaze to symbolise the victory over evil. In Durga Puja pandals, women express their reverence for the Goddess by offering sweets and celebrate women’s empowerment by applying red vermillion to each other. The colour red signifies purity, strength, love, and womanhood. The atmosphere on the tenth day takes on a sombre tone as it brings curtains down to the festival and the bittersweet farewell to the beloved Goddess affectionately known as “Uma.” Women shed tears as though parting with their own daughters returning to their in-laws’ home. This poignant ritual blurs the boundaries between divinity and humanity, uniting them as a singular entity.

Conclusion

For Indians, Dussehra goes beyond buying new clothes, indulging in delicacies, or taking a break from daily mundane routines. It is a festival dedicated to celebrating women and their attributes, their strength, and their strategic prowess in conquering life’s battles. It also symbolises a mother’s love and protection, capable of addressing any challenge with her two hands—whether confronting injustice or nurturing a child with unwavering love. Dussehra is a recognition of the multifaceted roles that women play in life as they confront their personal demons each day and emerge victorious.