With the advent of the festive season of Navratri, people started preparing for Dussehra with full enthusiasm. This year the auspicious day will be observed on October 24.
Dussehra is a festival of colors, lights, sweets, fun, and frolic. This day is observed exactly 20 days before the grand festival of lights, Diwali. This special occasion holds several stories and meanings. To brief you through the same, we are here to let you know all about this special day.
Dussehra 2023 Date & Shubh Muhurat
Abhijit Muhurat– 11:42 AM to 12:00 PM on 24 October
Dashami Tithi starts– 05:44 PM on 23 October
Dashami Tithi ends– 03:14 PM on 24 October
Puja Time– 1:19 PM to 3:37 PM on 24 October
The history of Dussehra dates back to 5114 BC when Lord Rama achieved his glorious victory over Ravana. Lord Rama is considered to be the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and it was on the 10th day of Vijayadashami that he killed the ten-headed demon.
In order to fight Ravana and rescue his wife, Sita, Lord Rama created his team along with his younger brother Lakshman and Hanuman, his followers.
The first Durga Puja celebrations have been said to have been observed during 1500 BC in Dinajpur and Malda. While going to the war, Lord Rama offered his prayers to Goddess Durga and worshipped her which ended up in his victory. Durga Puja celebrations also mark Goddess Durga’s killing of the demon Mahishasura.
This festival has more than one significance. It is celebrated for different reasons in different states.
For instance, in West Bengal, this festival is celebrated for the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Idols of Maa Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Lord Kartikeya are carried around the state in a procession with music and chanting. Women are seen applying vermilion and colors are spread all over the place. They celebrate this day as Bijoy Dashami.
In other states, it is celebrated as Vijayadashami, where we celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana, who took hostage of his wife, Sita. it is believed that before leaving for war, Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga for his victory and was showered with her blessings. Also, Arjun had defeated all the Kuru soldiers on this day.
In all of the above, this day is celebrated to mark the glorious victory of good over evil.
Happy Dussehra Puja Vidhi
On the day of Dussehra, Shami Puja, Aparajita Puja, and Seema Avalanghan are a few Puja rituals that are followed during the Aparahan time.
Another reason that this day is celebrated is that when the Pandavas were defeated by Kauravas, they were exiled for 12 years. They had kept all their weapons hidden in a Shami tree inside a hole.
On this day, after their exile was completed, they took out their weapons and won the battle with Kauravas. And this is one reason that the Shami tree is worshipped on Dussehra and Shami Puja is performed.
On the day of Dussehra, after worshiping Lord Shri Ram and Goddess Durga, offer water to the root of the Shami tree. After this, offer red-colored flowers, and fruits. Then light a lamp made of ghee or sesame oil and keep the wick of molly in it.
After this, after applying sandalwood and kumkum, show incense and incense sticks. With folded hands, convey your grief in front of Shami and pray for his deliverance.
Laying a white cloth, with the tip of a knife engrave the name of the opponent in the four corners and do the same in the center of the cloth. Now write the name with green petha from bottom to top with your index finger with the help of Kajal.
Cut the petha with a sharp knife in the middle where the name is written. turn the white parts of the parts cut also black with kajal. Put ingredients like black meat, black sesame, black mustard, and black nail in between the green petha and wrap it up in a white cloth.
After sunset, keep the cloth under a tap of water and let the water flow. saying the name in your mind, let your work be accomplished. Then light a lamp in front of Maa Aparajita for 40 days and recite mantras, lighting the lamp for 40 continuous days. the Aparajita Puja is considered to help you in defeating your enemies.
Weapons worshipped on Vijayadashami
Worshipping during the Vijaya Muhurat is considered very auspicious on this day. It is believed that Lord Rama worshipped during this time before leaving for war against Ravana.
Kshatriyas and other warriors worship all their weapons or ‘astra’ on this day. In the morning, everyone should get up take a bath and wear clean clothes. After this, they should take out all the weapons for worshipping and clean them with holy water.
They should also apply tilak turmeric or kumkum on the weapons. Lord Rama and Goddess Durga should then be worshipped. this puja makes sure to remove all your obstacles and hurdles in life.
Also, keep coins and roli, rice, flowers, and dry dates in two separate bowls. Keep banana, radish, gwarphalli, jaggery, and rice. Light the diya and incense sticks.
How is Dussehra Celebrated?
In Northern India, one of the most famous occurrences during Dussehra is the Ramleela, in which the artists enact the Ramayana. This is especially popular in Varanasi, Agra, and the rest of UP.
People also sow barley seeds on the first day of Navratri which completely grows by the 10th day. They are then plucked and gifted to each other for good luck and prosperity. Men also put these leaves behind their ears on this day.
In Himachal Pradesh, the 17th-Century tradition of Kullu Dussehra is celebrated that lasts for seven days.
Burning of the effigies of Ravana is also another popular way of celebrating Dussehra. This day also marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter.
In West Bengal, it is a festival of color. On this day, people participate in the visarjan of the idol. Before immersing it, women apply vermilion on the idol and also on each other and bless each other for a happy married life. This ritual is called the ‘Sindoor Khela.
In Odisha, this festival is celebrated with great fervor and counts this day greater than even Diwali. They celebrate it for ten days. On this day, married women make special delicacies which include Pakhal (water-soaked rice), Pitha (baked sweet), and fried fish. After their offerings, they carry the idol of Goddess Durga for Visarjan, called the Bisarjan Jatra. After this, Ravan Podi is performed by burning the effigies of Ravana.
Things to do on Dussehra
Dussehra is considered to be a very auspicious occasion when you can indulge in starting anything new:
You can buy electronics, vehicles, and gold ornaments on this day.
You should worship the Shami tree on the occasion of Dussehra which is considered very auspicious.
Dussehra is also an auspicious day to start a new job or work.
There are also some people who keep the ashes of burnt Ravana effigy auspicious.
Apart from this, you can also visit the famous fair that is organized on this day but since after the pandemic everything is virtual, you can perform a little Ravana Dahan ceremony in your own house and celebrate the victory of good over evil.