Origin of Vijayadasami:
Vijayadasami, also known as Dussehra is one of the major Hindu festivals. The name “Vijayadashami” is derived from Sanskrit words which mean victory (Vjaya) on the dashami (Dashmi is the tenth lunar day in the Hindu calendar). Hence, it occurs on the tenth day after Mahalaya Amavasya, which mostly occurs in the month of September or October. Mahalaya Amavasya is the first New Moon after the Autumn Equinox (in the northern hemisphere).
There are various myths associated with Vijayadasami. One is associated with the Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. Ravana abducted Ram’s wife, Sita and held captive, hoping to win her love. However, devoted Sita resolutely fought the ordeals and waited to be united with Ram. An epic war was fought between Ram and Ravana for ten days. Finally, Ram defeated Ravana on the tenth day of the war and rescued Sita.
And another myth is associated with the defeat of the demon Mahisasura by Goddess Durga. Mahisasura is one of the powerful demons, who defeated the Devas, and the World was crushed under his tyranny. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva combined their powers from which appeared a beautiful female Goddess, Durga. Durga fought Mahisasura which lasted for ten days. On the tenth day, Mahsasura was killed by Durga.
The myths all signify one important thing that is the triumph of good over evil. There are also other stories associated with the festival Vijayadasami. However, all stories covey a message of peace, love and compassion. If people kept this message in mind, there will be peace and harmony all around.
Vijayadasami is celebrated in various forms throughout the country. In North India, people celebrate by burning the model statues of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakarna. It usually starts with the play of the epic Ramayana, and a chariot carrying Ram, Sita and Lakshaman passes through the crowd and the persons who enacts as Rama will shoot the arrow to burn the statues.
In Gujarat, people gather and dance every night of the Navratri. Even shows and competitions are organized. Women present in their best attires with beautifully decorated earthen pots and dance till night.
In south India, the days are divided equally to worship three goddesses, Dura, Lakshmi and Saraswati. People decorate their houses fully with lamps and flowers in the evenings. Other famous places of Vijayadasami celebrations in India are Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, Kolkata and Orissa. People visit holy places wearing new clothes, prepare traditional food at home and celebrate with their friends and families. Also, major buildings are decorated with lights and colors across the city.
Hope this article helped you to learn more about the festival Vijayadasami.