Dussehra - Dasara or 'Vijayadashami' is celebrated as the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and also the triumph of Goddess Durga over a demon called 'Mahishasura'. Dussehra Festival is celebrated every year usually in September/October. Dussehra or Vijayadashami is the most popular of Indian festivals that holds sway in all parts of the country. Dussehra prominently stands out as a festival that reinforces the power of goodness over evil. For Hindus, it is a most favourable time to observe fast, perform rituals and celebrate. The festival is marked by a nine-day worship of Maa Shakti or five-day puja of Maa Durga which is brought to an invigorating end on the tenth day, celebrated as 'Dussehra'. In West Bengal dussehra is also known as 'Durga Puja', in Mysore 'Dasara' and in Gujarat 'Navratri.'
When is Dussehra in 2023?
The auspicious festival of Dussehra is celebrated annually on the tenth day of Ashwin (month) in Hindu Religion.
Dussehra 2023 Date: October 24, 2023
'Ramlila' is inextricably woven with Dussehra celebration and is religiously performed every year. It is an episode or scene-oriented performance from the Ramayana and is rich in songs, dialogues and action. Ramlila is a very interactive art form as the audience can participate in impromptu singing and narration. 'Ramlila' is noted for some critical scenes such as the Lanka battle scene and dialogues between Gods. Volunteers involve themselves in everything from doing up the stage, designing masks and creating the effigies.
Bonfires and fireworks abound on Dussehra, within residential colonies as well as public places. The burning of effigies of Ravana is a spectacular event.
Dussehra Celebrations in India
While all of West Bengal is synonymous with Durga Puja festivities and celebration, Kolkata remains the most prized place for partaking of this glorious puja. Experiencing the resounding effects of the 'dhaak', and uplifting vibrations during the powerful mantra chantings add quite another dimension to one's spiritual aura. It is believed that Goddess Durga visits her maiden home at this time of the year. A typical scene during Durga Puja is a montage of crowded streets, shops offering heavy puja discounts, huge pandals with novels designs, and interesting lighting ideas. The food stalls at the puja pandals hog the limelight for their delectable spread of the state cuisine, but the biggest draw is the holy 'prasad' offered to Maa Durga. The immersion of the idol of Goddess Durga is also carried out respectfully.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat is the main centre for Navratri puja and Dussehra celebration coinciding with Durga Puja. Dedicated to the nine aspects of Maa Shakti, devotees observe sunrise to sunset nine day fast and fast-breaking rituals. The dance festival 'Dandia raas', a nine-day unique musical extravaganza with its rich display of colorful costumes and catchy tunes is fully enjoyed by natives and tourists alike. Kullu in Himachal Pradesh state is known for its grand celebration in the valley region. Vijaya Dashmi festival carries on for seven days here.
Delhi witnesses grand participation of people during Dussehra festival. Thought initially prominent pandals were restricted to traditional places like Chittaranjan Park and Kalibari, the growing number of Ramlila programmes and community puja pandals are growing. The Ramlila ground is a set venue for the programme, and preparations are made much in advance for effigy burning, fireworks and cultural programmes.
In Uttar Pradesh, Ram Nagar, about 15 km from Varanasi, has established itself as a site for novel way of conducting Ramlila, with high quality stage production values for as long as a month. The venue attracts a lot of tourists from abroad.
In south India, 'Dashara' is celebrated in a very royal manner and is one of the oldest customs being followed till date. On this day, the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari is taken out in a procession that sees huge participation from devotees across South India. Palaces and important buildings glimmer with lights and decoration.
Dussehra Date in Upcoming Years
Dussehra 2023 Date - October 24 (Tuesday)
Dussehra 2024 Date - October 12 (Saturday)
Dussehra 2025 Date - October 2 (Thursday)