Vijaya Dashami, also known as Dussehra, is a prominent Hindu festival celebrated every year to mark the victory of good over evil. It is one of the most popular and fervently celebrated festivals in India. Here is everything you need to know about Vijaya Dashami 2021!
Vijaya Dashami is a composite of two words: “Vijaya,” meaning victory, and “Dashami” which means tenth, connoting the festival on the tenth day celebrating the triumph of good over evil.
Date and Time
Vijaya Dashami is observed on the tenth day in the Hindu Calendar month of Ashvin, which usually falls in the months of September and October. This year, Vijaya Dashmi will fall on Friday, October 15. The Vijay Muhurat or the auspicious moment to proceed with the aarti or prayers will be 2:02 p.m. to 2:47 p.m. IST.
The Aparahna puja time: 01:16 p.m. to 03:33 p.m.
Dashami Tithi Begins – 06:52 PM on Oct 14, 2021
Dashami Tithi Ends – 06:02 PM on Oct 15, 2021
Shravana Nakshatra Begins – 09:36 AM on Oct 14, 2021
Shravana Nakshatra Ends – 09:16 AM on Oct 15, 2021
Shami Puja, Aparajita Puja and Seema Avalanghan are some of the rituals which are followed on the day of Vijayadashami. According to the Hindu division of the day, these rituals should be done during Aparahna time.
Vijaya Dashami is celebrated across India for several different reasons. For instance, in the southern, eastern, north-eastern, and northern parts of India, the festival marks the end of Durga Puja, commemorating the triumph of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. On the other hand, in the central, western, and central parts of India, the festival is called Dussehra.
In these regions, the festival is celebrated as the victory of Lord Rama over evil Ravana.
The legend has it that Ravana abducts Sita, the wife of Rama, and takes her to Lanka. In a deadly and catastrophic battle between Rama and Ravana, the latter is killed. Consequently, Dharma is restored on Earth.
In another mythology, Goddess Durga kills Mahishasura and establishes peace on Earth. Here too, the battle between the Goddess and the demon takes place for ten days. On the tenth day, the Goddess Durga kills Mahishasura and the day is celebrated as Vijayadashmi meaning the ‘victory on the tenth day’.
The nine days that precede Vijayadashami are dedicated to a particular avatar or manifestation of Goddess Durga. The festival played a legendary role in the 14th-century Vijayanagara Empire, where it was known as Mahanavami. The festivities included athletic competitions, singing and dancing, fireworks, a pageantry military parade, and charitable giving to the public. The Italian traveller Niccolò de’ Conti described the festival’s intensity and prominence as a grand event aided by royal support.
In the South of India, Vijayadashami is celebrated in a variety of ways. Celebrations range from worshiping Goddess Durga, lighting up temples and major forts such as at Mysore, to exhibiting colorful figurines, known as golu. The event reveres Durga as the warrior goddess, some ancient texts also refer to her as Chamundeshwari.
Another significant and noteworthy tradition of several South Indian regions is the devotion to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and fortune. On this day, people also clean and worship their instruments, tools of work, and implements of livelihood to remember the two goddesses.
In Goa, this festival is locally known as Dasro in Konkani. Taranga which are sacred umbrellas that symbolize the village deities play an important role in the festivities. The dance of the Tarangas is held and organized at various temples. One interesting ritual called Seemollanghan of the deities is also held on this day. For this, people follow a token ritual of crossing the border of their village, and the idols of deities are carried in a grand procession. The tradition can be traced to ancient times when kings used to cross the border of their kingdom to declare war on the neighboring kingdoms. After Seemollanghan, there is another tradition wherein people exchange Aaptyachi pana which are leaves that symbolize gold and the ritual symbolizes an exchange of gold.
In Maharashtra, this festival has been especially important. Shivaji, a national figure who had challenged the Mughal Empire and established a Hindu kingdom in western and central India in the 17th-century, deployed his soldiers to assist farmers and provide adequate irrigation to guarantee food supplies. After monsoons, on Vijayadashami, these soldiers would leave their villages and reassemble to serve in the military, re-arm and obtain their deployment orders, then proceed to the frontiers for active duty.
In North Maharashtra, this festival is known as Dasara. On this day, people wear new clothes and touch the feet of their elders and deities of the village temple. Further, the deities installed on the first day of Navratri are immersed in water. The observers visit each other and exchange sweets and gifts.