What is Dussehra?
The celebration of Dussehra celebrates the victory of Rama, the Hindu god, over Ravana, the demon king in the battle of good over evil. The tale tells of Lord Rama winning the lovely Sita to be his wife but she is then carried off by Ravana.
There is another set of Hindu myths which are celebrated during Dussehra. This is the Pandavas which was five brothers who fought against evil with a set of distinctive weapons. They hid their weapons within a Shami tree and went into exile. After a year, they returned and found their weapons still hidden in the same tree. They worshipped this Shami tree before going to battle and won the fight.
This festival is primarily in northern India but there are many different festivities throughout the country and each area celebrates differently.
When is Dusshera 2012?
Dussehra will be taking place on October 24, 2012. The date is based on the 10th day of Shukla Paksha (the bright half) of the month called Ashvin, according to the Hindu calendar.
How is Dussehra Celebrated?
The celebrations that take place throughout Dussehra can last up to 10 days and can include a variety of different events and celebrations. Common to all are special prayer meetings as well as food offerings that are made to the gods at temples or within people’s homes. There are outdoor fairs known as melas and large parades that have effigies of Ravana, which are then burnt in the evening at bonfires.
Household tools are blessed along with work related tools which are used to help produce an income. Traditional items would be pans and books but as times have progressed vehicles and laptops have also been included in the blessings.
As with any festivals, there is special food that is prepared which includes items such as luchi (a deep fried flat bread) as well as alur dom (spiced potato snack deep fried).
It is also believed that this is a lucky time to start any new venture, journey or project. People may exchange leaves taken from the Shami tree as a gift to symbolize the legend of the Pandavas brothers.
Travelling during Dussehra
If you are travelling in India at this time, be aware that any government offices, banks and post offices will be closed. Many stores and businesses may close for the day or reduce their hours. If you plan to use any public transportation, it is best to check ahead to see if they are operating and their hours.