One of the most popular Hindu festivals, Dussehra, commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over the mighty demon king of Lanka, Ravana. The legend associated with this festival is that Lord Rama (the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) headed towards Lanka, to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana. Together with his brother Laxman and a troupe of monkeys led by his devotee Hanuman, he got into a war with Ravana which lasted for nine days and victoriously defeated the ten-headed demon king on the tenth day. This day came to be known as Vijaydashmi or Dussehra (meaning victory attained on the tenth day).
The festival of Dussehra is celebrated to acknowledge the victory of good over evil. The celebrations of Dussehra begin from the very first day of Navratri and continue till the tenth day. A special programme called “Ramlila”, which is the dramatic enactment of the great epic, Ramayana, is organised in various parts of the country. This continues for the nine days of Navratri and finally on the tenth day (Dussehra), actors dressed up as Rama and Laxman act out the final moments of the battle and shoot flaming arrows at the giant effigies of ten-headed Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghnad which are placed in vast open grounds (where huge crowds gather to witness this act of burning the evil). This is followed by extravagant fireworks.
How to celebrate Dussehra at home?
Dussehra being an important Hindu festival, is celebrated with great enthusiasm in all parts of the country. You too can celebrate this festival at home with your family. Here are some tips to celebrate Dussehra at home:
• Dress up your children as various characters from the Ramayana and prepare them to perform the famous scenes from the Ramayana.
• Recite the stories of the legendary king Rama to your children.
• Tell them that Dussehra is celebrated to honour the victory of the good over the evil.
• Take your children to the local fairs/melas and have them watch the “Ramlila”.
• Buy them swords, dhanusha, gadda, masks of various characters etc.
• Motivate children to use their creative skills to make Dussehra crafts like a bow and arrow and similar crafts.
• Play recitations and hymns highlighting the life story of Lord Rama.
• You can also bring small effigies of Ravana from the markets (if available) and burn them in a nearby ground.
So, enjoy the day with your child at home and take every opportunity to teach them that truth always wins.