Unlike other cultural festivals of India, Dussehra is unique for its feminine divinity.
Falling in the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu Lunar calendar, Dussera is a culmination of Navarathri, the 9 nights signifying manifestations of goddess Shakthi.
The story of Dussehra is epitomized with the victory of Lord Rama (the good) over Ravana, the ten-headed demon (the evil). It is believed that Lord Rama sought blessings of goddess Durga for courage and strength to overcome the demon and finally killed him. The victory of good over evil is commemorated as Vijayadeshami.
The nine days of Navratri are classified as per the three basic qualities of tamas, rajas and sattva. The first three days are tamas, where the goddess is fierce, like Durga and Kali. The next three days are Lakshmi related – gentle but materially oriented goddesses. The last three days are dedicated to Saraswati, which is sattva. It is related to knowledge and enlightenment. The 10nth day signifies conquering all the three qualities and not investing in one of them, liberating oneself to the path of reverence and gratitude.
From East to West, North to South, the subcontinent witness diversity in celebrations. While in the East, the eye catching Pandals becomes the home of Durga; the West will swirl you into the mystical beats of Garba and Dandia signifying energy of Maa Shakthi. The North, dedicate to Jagarans honoring all the reincarnated forms of Godess Shakthi; while South worships Godess Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi with fascinating ritual Kolu Bomai. The mid-India witnesses celebrations of Ramleela; the dramatic folk re-enactment of the life of Rama.
It hardly matters if you are a traveller, foodie, spiritual speaker, or even an industrialist; the colours, vigour, verve, and vibrancy of this festival will take you into it’s arms no matter globally where you are pitched. The pomp and splendour of the celebrations extends from the food we eat to the clothing and accessories of the celebrant. Rich Indian garments like Sarees, Lehanga Choli and Sherwani in bright colour schemes with lots of dazzling embroidery and embellishments are used to display the festive spirit. Ethnic jewellery like maang tikkas, anklets, and bangles in metals of Gold and Silver are highly preferred. Feasting is a huge part of the celebrations. You can explore some of the tasty and lip-smacking dishes, all a part of festive cooking. A few of them include Sabudhana kichadi, Kuttu ki puri, mishti Dhoi, Jalebi, and maalpova.
Over the time, celebrations have taken a commercial tone. From temporary make shift tents to the Dandias on the floor are all sponsored by corporates. Home cooking has switched to restaurant buffets where you can relinquish on a variety of food from different parts of the country. In a way this has brought in large scale participation of people no matter what religion or place they belong to. This has helped retaining the strong culture and tradition of the country and inculcating them into the coming generations. Dussera is thus zealously celebrated worldwide in all it’s true essence of forgiveness, peace, harmony, and love.