Dussehra: Date, Significance, Puja Rituals, and More

Indian Astrology | 13-Apr-2024

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When we think of Dussehra, we first remember the ten-faced demon Ravana. Dussehra is closely interlinked with Ramlila, who tells us the whole story of Ramayana in play form. Burning of Ravana effigies, sky shot fireworks and big pandals organizing Dussehra mela. In general terms, we know that it is the day when lord Rama killed Ravana after fighting a fierce battle with him. Ravanva, though a scholar, abducted Sita Mata and wanted to marry her, which ultimately led to his end at the hands of lord Rama. There are several legends and stories about Ravana abducting Sita and his subsequent death at the hands of Lord Rama. Many stories state Ravana abducted purposely to be killed by Lord Rama.

In this article, we will tell you the Dussehra date 2024, timing, significance, popular legends, and relevance of the Dussehra celebration. Join us to discover fascinating information about Dussehra 2024.

Dussehra 2024 - Date and Puja Time

In 2024, Dussehra will be celebrated on 12th October, Saturday.

The Dussehra festival or Vijyadashmi is celebrated on the dashmi tithi of Shukla paksha in Aswin month as per Hindu calendar.The Dussehra time usually falls in the month of September or October. Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of nine-day long Sharad Navratri festival. It also marks the ending of the Sharad Navratri.

Dussehra Puja Time

Vijay Muhurat = 02:05 PM to 02:50 PM

Aparahan Puja Time = 01:18 PM to 03:36 PM

Why Do we celebrate Dussehra?

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, signifies the victory of good over evil forces. The festival is also an opportunity to worship the divine feminine, Maa Durga, the eternal power- Shakti, who protects and sustains life on Earth.

The Dussehra festival lasts ten days, with the last day being Dussehra or Vijayadashami. The first nine days are called Navratri and represent the three fundamental qualities of human nature - Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva. The first three days are dedicated to the aggressive form of the feminine divine, like Durga or Kali, which represents Tamas. The next three days are related to Rajas, gentler but focused on material possessions and represented by the goddess Lakshmi. The last three days represent Sattva, which is related to knowledge and enlightenment, and is represented by the goddess Saraswati.

Dussehra symbolizes that going beyond these qualities will liberate you from the cycle of life and death, leading to Moksha. The tenth and final day marks the celebration of winning these three basic qualities- Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Dussehra or Vijayadashami reminds us that gratitude, like Hanuman, leads to success and victory, while pride leads to a fall, like Ravana.

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Legends behind Dussehra celebration

One popular legend is about the fierce battle between Lord Rama and Ravana. According to the Epic Ramayana, the battle continued for ten days. Ravana was defeated and killed on the tenth day of the fight. Thus, the legend spreads the message that good always wins.

Demon King Ravana ruled Lanka. He was a great scholar but a cruel and proud king. He abducted Sita Maiya, Lord Rama's beloved spouse. Mata Sita refused to marry him and was kept in imprisonment. Finally, she was released when Lord Rama killed Ravana, gathering a large monkey army, or Vanar Sena. Lord Hanuman and Sugreeva were the chiefs of the army.

Another popular legend is associated with Goddess Durga, who killed the demon king Mahishasura on this day. She fought a fierce battle with Mahishasura that lasted for ten days. On the tenth day, she killed Mahishasura and saved the universe.

According to legend, Lord Rama conducted the "Chandi Homa" ritual to seek blessings from Goddess Durga. The goddess revealed to him the secret of how Ravana could be defeated. It was with the power and knowledge bestowed upon him by the goddess that Lord Rama could defeat Ravana.

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on Dussehra, and it is considered auspicious to begin formal learning on this day. On the ninth day of Sharad Navratri, students place their books before Saraswati mata and seek her blessings by offering prayers and singing shlokas. On the tenth day, after performing Saraswati puja, they take their books back, now charged with positive energies.

Another legend states that the Pandavas returned to their empire after serving an exile. Thus, Vijayadashami is all about new beginnings and victory. It is why starting anything new on this day is considered auspicious. Check Out Vedic Astrology Software.

Dussehra Celebrations

In North India especially, Ramlila or the depiction of Ramayna in a play is the main highlight of Dussehra celebrations. Different depictions of Lord Rama life including Ram Janam, Ram vivah, Ram vanvas, Rama yudh with Ravana, Rama coming back to Ayodhya, Bharat Milap etc. all are enacted in pious manner which helps people to get aquaited with rama principles and noble ideas.

People also keep fasts on nine days of Navratri in reverence of goddess Durga. People perform puja rituals and a special kanya pujan is performed on the eighth or the ninth day of Navratri. In kanya pujan nine small girls depicting navdurga are fed with special prasadam made of halwa, puri and chana. Huge langars and bhandara are organized to appease goddess durga.

In many parts of the country, there is a tradition of burning effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna, and Meghanatha as a symbol of the victory of good over evil. During this time, cultural programs and processions are organized and outdoor fairs are held, where people can enjoy various festivities.

On this day, Durga devotees also immerse idols of Goddess Durga in water bodies.

Rituals on Dussehra

According to Vedic astrology, performing Shami tree puja, puja of goddess Aparajita, and Seema Avalanghan, which means expansion across the border or overcoming your limitations, are especially beneficent. However, one should perform these rituals during Aparahan puja time (mentioned above) as per Hindu Panchangam.

Why Ravana abducted Sita Mata?

According to the common legend, Ravana abducted Sita to take revenge for his sister Shuparnakha, whose ears and nose were cut by Rama and Laxmana. After listening to the exaggerations narrated by her sister about the beauty of Sita, he became attracted to her. However, many other legends state that Ravana intentionally abducted Sita so that Lord Rama could kill him, which would ultimately result in Ravana's moksha or liberation. Ravana kept Sita as a prisoner in Ashok Vatika for six months but did not marry her forcibly because he was waiting for Lord Rama to come and fight with him. Ravana believed that getting killed by Lord Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, would grant him emancipation. Anyone who dies at the hands of Lord Vishnu is sure to get liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth.