Victory of Rama
As per the Ramayana, Ram
did "chandi-puja" to invoke the blessings of Durga to kill
Ravana. Ravana the 10 headed demon had
abducted Lord Rama's wife to his capital city of Lanka. Lord Ram with
the help of his brother Laxman and Hanuman, rescued Sita from Lanka.
Dassera marks the triumph of Lord Ram's victory. After
vanquishing him, Ram with Seeta and Laxman returned victorious to his
kingdom of Ayodhya on Dassera day.
The Burning of
the effigy of Ravana
On Dassera, the
tenth day the celebration of good over evil is marked by burning the
effigy of Ravana. The statue of the 10 headed demon Ravana is made of
wood, hay etc with fireworks inside. The celebrations begin around
sunset, families and friends gather in the evening and then the statue
is set on fire. People shoot arrows on the effigy. The effigy burns up
with a huge display of fireworks, which is an exciting event for kids
and adults alike.
In all parts of India "Ram
Leela" is performed which are the stories from the Ramayana. These
stories are about Hanuman and his burning tail, Ravana's abduction of
Sita, Ram's victory over Ravana and the rescue of Sita by Hanuman and
Goddess Durga is also commonly
known as Kali, Bhavani, Amba and Chandika. Goddess Durga
represents two forms of female energy - one mild and protective and the
other fierce and destructive. She stands independent, and is worshipped
in her own right.
This reinforces the interpretation of rites performed
during Navaratri as those originating in a festival eulogizing fertility
Another story tells this day as a
celebration of the victory of Durga over the demon Mahishasura. This
is how she came about. The gods in heaven decided to create an
all-powerful being to kill the demon king Mahishasur who was ready to
attack them. With a stream of lightning from the mouths of Brahma,
Vishnu and Mahesh a beautiful, magnificent woman with ten hands was
created. Then all the gods furnished her with their special weapons. She
then destroyed King Mahishasur. The image of Durga, the Eternal Mother
destroying the demon, Mahishasur on Chamundi Hills near Mysore is
symbolic of the final confrontation of the spiritual urge of man with
his baser passions.
it is celebrated ?
Dassera is a time of holiday feasting and family
New Ventures : It is a time-honored belief that a new venture
started on this day, is bound to be successful. Also on this day tools,
writing instruments, machines, household articles, children's school
books are placed before the idol of Durga and worshipped.
Exchange of "Aptya Chi Pane" : Families have a ritual
of exchanging "Shami leaves" or "aptya chi pane".
These are heart shaped leaves and are bought in a dried form from the
local floral markets. The leaves are exchanged among relatives &
friends as gold by saying "Sone Gya Sonyasarakhe Raha" which
means take gold and be like gold.
A puja thaali containing rice, mithai, a coconut and fruits is decorated
and placed before the idol. The prasad is then distributed to family members.
of married women: Traditionally during Navratri in many
households married (fertile) women are invited for puja. They are doted
upon and are given fruits and small gifts followed by a delicious meal.
Its a way to celebrate fertility in women.
This festival is
celebrated in different ways in different parts of India.
communities also worship Durga who invoke her blessings because this
festival coincides with the period of rest and leisure after their
strenuous work in the fields. The farmers with her blessings wait with
tremendous hopes for a bountiful harvest.
In eastern India the Durga Pooja festival which is part of Navaratri,
is the principal festival and is celebrated with gaiety and devotion
through public ceremonies (Sarvajanik of Sarbojanin Durga Puja). For
these ceremonies Pundals (temporary public booths) are erected. The
ceremonies are conducted amidst grand prayers and mass feeding.,
In southern India
celebrations constitute a display of images of various gods and toys at
home for nine days. In northern India, on the tenth day (Dassera) giant
effigies of Ravana. Kumbhakarna and Meghnad (Lord Rama's enemies), are
The Garba Dance dance in western India is performed around a pot
containing a lamp. The word "Garba" by which the pot as well
as the dance is known is etymologically close to the word Garba meaning
womb. In this context the lamp in the pot, symbolically represent life
within a womb. Another prevalent practice is of sowing pulses, cereals
and other seeds on the first day of this festival in a pot, which is
watered for nine days at the end of which the seeds sprout. This pot is
worshipped throughout the nine days. This custom is also indicative of
fertility worship. The dances start after 10 p.m. and many a times they
continue up to the small hours of the morning.
parties are organized in great gala in many of the clubs, homes, hotels
and organizations. It is more a social event and meant purely for
celebrating the fun part of the festival of Navratri. Many organizations
invite famous "Bollywood" stars and make the vent ...eventful.
There are special bands that play music especially for this event.
Organizing "garba" or "dandia" dances here in the
US hindu temples and/or homes is becoming very popular by the many
Indo-American Cultural Societies. It is a great way to bring culture and
in India, it's the most looked forward to event for the young as they
can dance all night long and show off their Indian outfits and
accessories. Dressed in exquisitely embroidered, set in mirrors 'Choli',
'Ghagra' and 'Bandhani' dupattas the women adorn themselves with
beautiful jewelry including anklets. Men dress in formal as well as
informal Chudidar Kurta. Garba is a dance danced in a circle, by
clapping your hands on a very catchy rhythmic tune.
is the same dance with 2 sticks held in the hand.