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This festival is proof and a belief that no matter how big or strong the evil is, the good will always conquer it. It is a symbol of the fact that we all can conquer our negative traits with positive ones and change the world around us. One of the most significant festivals, Dusshera commemorates Lord Rama's victory over the 10-headed demon Ruler Ravana, who kidnapped Sita, Rama's wife. This day is also known as Vijayadashmi and it comes after the 9-day celebration of the Navratri fast. This day is celebrated by the dramatic enactment of Rama's life narrative known as Ram Lila.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
A Sanskrit term, Dusshera means dasha-'ten' and hara-'defeat' in the English language. This auspicious day falls on the 10th day of the month of Ashvina in the Hindu Calendar, which means the month of September or October as per the Gregorian calendar. This year the festival will be celebrated on 15 October, Friday.
In Hindu mythology, Ravana is shown with 10 heads and this day is celebrated as the removal of all 10 sins, bad qualities or human weaknesses. They are as follows-
1. Kama Vasana - (lust)
2. Krodha - (anger)
3. Moha - (attraction)
4. Lobha - (greed)
5. Mada - (over pride)
6. Matsara - (jealousy)
7. Swartha - (selfishness)
8. Anyaya- (injustice)
9. Amanavata - (cruelty)
10. Ahankara - (ego)
Dussehra 2021: History And Significance
According to Hindu mythology, Demon King Ravana abducted Lord Rama's wife which resulted in a huge conflict between them. Ravana was granted the blessing of indestructibility by Lord Brahma and therefore could not be killed. After a series of events, Lord Rama kills Ravana by firing an arrow through his belly button after a series of incidents. This also symbolises the fact that one should not remove the bad qualities individually or one by one, rather get rid of them at once and forever.
Therefore, every year, an effigy of Ravana is burned by the mocking killing of him by a person (who dresses as Lord Rama) in a public event and firecrackers are burnt after that to celebrate this day.
There are other legends associated with this day as well. In Mahabharata, this day also commentates Arjuna's single-handed victory over the whole Kaurava Army. Arjuna is also known as 'Vijaya' and therefore, the army is celebrated as the 'Vijaya Dashami'. On this day worshipping the Shami tree is very significant because it is believed that Arjuna hid his weapons inside this tree during his exile. In the southern parts of India, Shami Puja is also known as Banni Puja and Jammi Puja. In eastern regions of India, this day is also marked as Durga Puja and Sindoor Khela (women wear red saree and play with vermillion) is also organised on this day.