Dusshera or Vijaydashami, an important Hindu festival, will be celebrated on October 8th in the year 2019. The day falls on the tenth day of the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. The festival is celebrated for varied reasons in different parts of India and marks the end of Navaratri every year.
Across the country, thousands of dance and drama plays called ‘Ram Lila’ based on the Ramayan and Ramcharitmanas are performed at outdoor fairs. Effigies of the demons Ravan, Kumbhakarn and Meghanath are burnt on bonfires in the evening of Vijayadashami-Dussehra.
Vijayadashami is celebrated in the south, east and northeast of India to mark the victory of Goddess Durga over buffalo demon Mahishasura. The north and western region of India celebrates Dusshera to mark the victory of Lord Rama over the King Ravana.
In Gujarat, both goddess Durga and god Rama are revered for their victory over evil. Fasting and prayers at temples are common. It is celebrated with a regional dance called Dandiya Raas and Garba where people dance through the night.
There are various ways the day is celebrated in different parts of India. Regions which celebrate Durga Puja, mostly eastern and northeastern India, for the nine days before Vijayadashami carry the clay statue of the Goddess Durga and immerse it in a river or any other water bodies.
In the south where the previous nine days are celebrated as Golu in which dolls or figurines are displayed, on the day of Vijaydashami, one of the figurines is symbolically put to sleep and the remaining dolls are dismantled and packed for the next year.
The western and northern India, the day is celebrated by dance and plays based on Ramayana scripture and an effigy of Ravana along with Kumbhakarna and Meghanada is burned.
There are other ways the day is celebrated across India by various communities in India and Hindu diaspora. The UNESCO in 2018 termed the performance arts during the Dusshera festival has one of the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.