Vijaya Dasami, is a Hindu Festival, celebrated according to the Hindu calendar, Ashvin. This is celebrated every year on the tenth day or the last day of Navaratri. It is observed on the full moon day, according to the Hindu calendar and tend to fall in the month of September or October. This festival is celebrated for various reasons across the country. This festival marks the end of the Durga Puja, where Goddess Durga is considered to have destroyed the demon ‘Mahishasura’, which marks the destruction of evil.
In Southern, Western regions of the country, Vijaya Dasami marks the end of Durga Puja. However, in Northern parts of the country, Vijaya Dasami or Dussehra marks the end of Ramlila, where Lord Ram defeats Ravana, a demon who was controlling Sri Lanka and captured Devi Sita. During this celebration, an idol of Ravana, with his ten heads is burnt, symbolizing the destruction of evil. In Western parts of the country, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated by immersing God and Goddess statues that are kept in pandals, in rivers and oceans. This festival also marks the beginning of celebration for Diwali, the festival of lights.
Vijaya Dasami, is named according to the festival, where ‘Vijaya’ means ‘Victory’ and ‘Dasami’ means ‘Tenth’. This represents the victory of good in the tenth day over evil. This festival is widely celebrated in Northern, Southern, Western part of the region and also it is celebrated in Nepal, which is a Hindu country. Even though, the main reason for celebration, is victory of Good over Evil, it is celebrated with different formalities, in different regions.
Celebrations in Northern India
In most of Northern India, Dasara literally means the tenth day and is celebrated in honor of Lord Rama. Many dramas, musical chants, stage shows are organized during this festival season and Ramlila, is enacted on stage. This festival marks the destruction of Rakshas Ravana and his siblings Kumbhakarna and Meghanada, in the hands of Lord Ram. It is said that Ravana, kidnapped Devi Sita, wife of Lord Ram, which led to this war and destruction of Ravana and his family. During this festival, a person dressed as Lord Ram burns the statue of Ravana, marking the destruction of Evil.
Celebrations in Himachal Pradesh
In Himachal Pradesh, Kullu Dussehra is celebrated in the Kullu valley and this festival is considered as a symbol of victory of Good over evil, by Raghu Nath. This festival is celebrated like other regions of India. However, the special feature of this festival is the arrival of floats containing God and Goddess statues from nearby regions.
Celebrations in Southern India
In Southern India, Vijaya Dasami is celebrated in numerous ways. One of the most famous ways is arranging idols of God, Goddesses, etc in steps, named ‘Golu’. However, in the 14th century, in Vijayanagara Empire, it was celebrated as ‘Mahanavami’. This festival includes many competitions like singing, dancing, fireworks, etc. All the important places are well lit with festive lights.
Celebration in Western India
In the Western part of the country, the Durga Puja comes to an end and the tenth day of Durga Puja is marked as Vijaya Dasami or Dasara. The idols of deities are carried with dance and songs, to the river and the ocean and they are immersed as a form of saying Goodbye to the God and the Goddesses.
Celebrations in Nepal
In Nepal, Vijaya Dasami follows the festival of Dashain. During this period, youngsters visit the elders of the family and receive their blessings. Elders and teachers, welcome their youngsters and mark their head with Tilak and bless them for victory.