Dassera is one of the
most popular festivals of India which lasts for ten days. It is celebrated
in different ways in different parts of the country. In North India, it is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami,
celebrating the victory of Lord Rama over the mighty warrior Ravana. In Bengal, it is Durga Puja and in Gujarat is
celebrated as Navratra, festival of nine nights.
In North India and now also in most parts of western India too, Ram Lila, the story of Lord Rama is
enacted by young boys and teenage artists for ten complete days.
Giant effigies of
Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarana and his son Meghnadha are erected on an open
ground and on the tenth day, the artist donning the role of Lord Rama shoots
arrows into these effigies which explode as they are stuffed with fire crackers
and shouts of “Ramchandraji ki Jai” are
heard among the huge crowds which come to witness this hugely popular event.
In entire South India, this festival marks the slaying of
Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon slained by Goddess Durga, a manifestation
of Goddess Parvati in Hindu mythology. The chants of Goddess are heard in each
and every household for the period of nine days.
people buy leaves of the Kanchan or Apta
tree which are considered to be symbols of gold and are shared among the relatives
and friends on the day of Dassera among cries of “God God bola, sandu naka, bandu naka” meaning speak sweet words and
make friendships and most importantly do not fight.
In Bengal, Dassera is considered to be the biggest festival and people celebrate
with pomp, gay and gaiety. The goddess Durga is the most loved deity of the
Bengalis and they consider her to be a daughter who comes to visit them from
the home of her in-laws in the Himalayas
On the tenth day, they take her out in a procession and immerse
her in the Hooghly river. This tradition of Bengalis is now
followed in most parts of western India which previously was not followed.
In Gujarat, Navratra or festival of nine nights has
acquired immense importance and has a special significance. The gujarathis
celebrate this festival with paying obeisance to Goddess Amba, considered to be
the manifestation of Goddess Shakthi. For, nine days and nights, a garbo, a lamp is kept burning before
the platform on which a pot prepared of earth containing wheat and barley are
kept. The garba dance is then
performed around this garbo for nine
nights. This garba dance have been
reformed in years and has turned into a big festival known as “dandiya festival” a dance form which is
played with sticks with big names jumping into the leagues of
professional garba and dandiya singers.
Also, recently they have also been modified as “disco dandiyas” for the new generation.
Thus, I bow humbly in
front of Goddess Durga, Goddess Laxmi and Goddess Saraswathi and pray for
everybody on this grand occasion of Dassera. “Jai Mata Di”