Dussehra: A Joyous Festival Celebrating Good Over Evil
Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a vibrant and joyous festival celebrated in India. It holds tremendous importance in Hindu mythology and tradition. This event commemorates the triumph of good over evil and teaches us important lessons about morality, bravery, and the victory of good deeds. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Dussehra festival is, why Dussehra is celebrated, and the fascinating story of Dussehra in a way that kids can easily comprehend and admire.
What is the Dussehra festival?
Dussehra is a major Hindu festival celebrated throughout India and South Asia. It has a religious and cultural significance, and it usually takes place in September or October, depending on the lunar calendar. This event conveys a message of righteousness, courage, and virtue’s victory. It is an occasion for spiritual reflection, artistic expression, and communal celebration, making it one of the most highly anticipated festivals in India.
The Story of Dussehra
Once upon a time in ancient India, a giant and powerful demon king named Ravana ruled. He was brilliant, strong, and had ten heads, making him practically unchallenged. Ravana controlled the country of Lanka and possessed enormous authority.
Ravana’s arrogance and savagery were staggering. He kidnapped Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, one of Hindu mythology’s most renowned gods. Rama set off on a journey to rescue Sita from Ravana’s control, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana, devotee Hanuman and assisted by an army of monkeys.
The Battle Starts
The battle between Rama and Ravana was epic, like something out of a grand thrilling experience. It fought for days, with both sides demonstrating extraordinary bravery and courage. Rama battled bravely, guided by his constant commitment to morality and truth.
As the battle entered its climax, Rama realised that he needed a powerful weapon to defeat Ravana. He appealed to the god Shiva and was granted a heavenly arrow known as the “Brahmastra.” Rama directed this huge weapon towards Ravana, and a strong flash of energy hit the demon king. Ravana had been defeated, and good had triumphed over evil.
The Triumph of Goodness
The fall of Ravana brought happiness to the people of Lanka, who had suffered under his rule. They celebrated and greeted Rama’s return with extended arms. Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana returned to their kingdom of Ayodhya, where the people celebrated their triumph with spectacular celebrations, the burning of lamps, and the explosion of fireworks. Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra on this day.
How is Dussehra Celebrated?
Dussehra is celebrated as a symbol of the victory of good over evil, and the story of Rama’s victory is played out in various parts of India during this festival. Here are a few significant highlights of the Dussehra celebrations:
- Ramlila: People perform dramatic plays of scenes from the Ramayana, the epic tale of Rama, Sita, and Ravana. These plays, known as “Ramlila,” help kids and adults alike learn about the story of Dussehra.
- Dussehra Processions: Many towns and cities hold grand processions where statues of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna, and his son Meghnad are ignited to represent the victory of good over evil.
- Sweets and Treats: During the festivities, delicious sweets such as jalebi, laddoos, and gulab jamun are created and enjoyed with friends and family.
- Different Names: Dussehra is known by several names throughout India. In the east, it is known as “Vijayadashami,” whereas in the south, it is known as “Dasara.” The purpose of the event, however, remains the same – the triumph of virtue over evil.
- Ten Days of Festival: Dussehra is not just a one-day celebration. It marks the end of “Navratri” (nine nights), a ten-day festival during which various depictions of the goddess Durga are worshipped. During this time, devotees ask her blessings for strength and safety. Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day.
- Diverse Celebrations: Dussehra highlights India’s cultural diversity. Kullu Dussehra is celebrated for a week in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, Bommai Kolu in Tamil Nadu whereas Durga Puja is held in the state of West Bengal.
- Fairs & Carnivals: Dussehra is associated with fairs and carnivals in some places, which feature rides, games, food stalls, and different types of entertainment. These activities create a joyful and cheerful ambience to the celebration, making it an enjoyable experience for children.
- Celebrations of Culture: Dussehra is a time for cultural acts such as traditional dances, music, and storytelling. It brings together communities to celebrate their heritage and customs.
- Religious Observance: On Dussehra, many people go to temples and ask for divine blessings and guidance for a successful and virtuous life. It is a time for introspection, refreshment, and spiritual development.
- Feasting: Like many festivals in India, Dussehra is an occasion for friends and family to come together and enjoy delicious traditional treats and dishes.
- Creative Expression: Dussehra often inspires artists to create elaborate rangoli designs, which are vibrant designs made on the ground using coloured powders, petals of flowers, or grain. During the festival, these designs constitute a form of creative expression.
- Ravana’s 10 Heads: Ravana, the demon king, is sometimes represented with 10 heads, which symbolise his vast knowledge and strength. It also depicts his hubris and ego, which eventually led to his demise.
- Environmental Concerns: During Dussehra, several communities are embracing eco-friendly practices. Effigies of Ravana, which were historically fashioned of environmentally hazardous materials, are now being crafted with biodegradable materials.
- Global Celebrations: Dussehra is a festival observed not only in India but also by Indian communities globally. It is a time for Indians living overseas to reconnect with their cultural heritage and celebrate with their friends and neighbours.
Dussehra is not just a festival but a rich tapestry of cultures, stories, and principles that bring communities together. It is a time to rejoice in the triumph of good over evil, to seek blessings for a successful future, and to revel in the vivid culture and celebrations that make this festival so unique.
In fostering a holistic learning environment, EuroKids played a pivotal role in helping students learn about the rich culture and festivals of India. Through a combination of interactive storytelling, and cultural celebrations, EuroKids ensures that young learners not only grasp the significance of festivals like Dussehra but also appreciate the values and traditions they represent.
By imparting these lessons, EuroKids not only prepares children for academic success but also instals a deep appreciation for the diverse cultural tapestry that makes India unique, fostering a sense of unity and understanding among the youngest members of our society.