India is a land of many diversified religions, the most important being Hinduism.
Hinduism believes in polytheism. It has many gods, which are worshipped by the people. Each god is celebrated on a particular day, according to the Hindu calendar. This results in Hindu festivals all year round.
While all the festivals are celebrated in our country, the most significant one is Dussehra. It is celebrated for 10 continuous days marked with lots of poojas, celebrations and grandeur.
People observe fasts and gorge on delicious festival food. Families, big and small, come together to take part in the festivities. Even people from other religion do take part in the festivities. This shows that there is unity even in diversity in our country.
Significance Of Dussehra:
Dussehra is very important in Hinduism. The festival originates in the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Dussehra marks the War between Lord Ram and the evil King Ravana.
The evil king had kidnapped the lord's beloved wife Sita. Thus, Lord Ram waged a war against him. The fight went on for ten days, at the end of which, Lord Ram turned out victorious. This day is celebrated as Vijayadashmi, marking the victory of Good over Evil.
On the day of Dussehra, Ravana's effigies are burnt everywhere, signifying the victory of Good over Evil.
Another legend about Dussehra is as follows:
There once was a man who performed rigorous penance to please Lord Brahma.
Lord Brahma became impressed on him and granted him a wish. The person wished to become the most powerful being on the lands and the skies. He wished to be undefeatable by anyone.
Thus, the great 'Mahishasura' or the Buffalo-king was born. No sooner was he granted his wish than he started pillaging the earth and killing innocent lives. This unsettled the Gods but they could not do anything. The Gods wanted to get rid of him.
They created a Woman with superpowers from all of the Gods. She was a Goddess of power and light. She possessed the most powerful weapons gifted to her by each of the Gods. She was the great Goddess Durga, who had ten hands. She defeated the Evil Mahishasura and gained victory over him.
This is the reason why Goddess Durga is the most worshipped Goddess during Dussehra. Invoking her powers through prayer is said to remove all the obstacles in the worshipper's life. She is the epitome of Triumph of good over evil. Her divine presence helps her worshippers obtain immense power.
With the essence being the same, the festival is celebrated with a little variation throughout the country.
The northern part of India celebrates Dussehra by burning effigies of Ravana and staging plays based on the events of Ramayana. In Gujarat, all the nine days of Navratri are grandly celebrated by wearing colourful costumes and playing garba. West Bengal sees major worshipping of all the avatars of Maa Durga on each day of the Navratri.
South India celebrates the festival by dedicating three days each for Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga, who are the Goddesses of Wealth, Knowledge and Power. The Mysore Dussehra festival is famous in the whole country with the royal family carrying out grand processions with pomp and grandeur. People from near and far come to witness this exotic display of religion and culture.
No matter what the festival, the whole country comes to celebrate it and this is exactly what makes the festivals of India unique and popular throughout the world.