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Dasara

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Navratri Golu

Golu display during Navratri

Dashera, (Dasara), also called Navaratri, is among the most important festivals celebrated in India. Unlike the festival of Dussera - "the festival of joy," this is celebrated for 10 days in some parts of the subcontinent.[1] Navratri in Gujarat holds a special significance and the Rasa and Garba dances by men and women of all sects are done to please the Goddess.The Dashera in Gujarat are followed by 9 nights of singing and dancing.

Significance

The Festival of Dussehra concludes the festival of Navaratri, and the holy day also commemorates the triumph of good over evil.[2] Dasha-hara in Sanskrit means the "remover of bad fate". Forms of celebrations can take on a wide variety of manifestations, ranging from worshipping the goddess Chamundeshwari (Durga) to exhibiting colorful toys on the day of bombe habba in Karnataka.

There is a legend related to the exhibition of toys that is known as "Bombe habba" in Karnataka and Golu (spelled Kolu in some regions) in Tamil Nadu. Since the goddess Durga needed tremendous power, all other gods and goddesses transferred their power to Goddess Durga and they all stood still as statues. To respect the self-sacrifice of these deities during the festival days, Hindus revere morities (small statues representing gods and goddesses) that are in the shape of particular gods and goddesses.

The festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwini month (around October) according to the Shaka Hindu Calendar. This is one of the 3 and a half days in the Hindu Lunar calendar, whose every moment is considered auspicious. On the last day (Dashera day), the morities installed on the first day of the Navaratri are immersed in water. This day also marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. People visit each other and exchange sweets. On this day, people worship the Aapta tree and exchange its leaves (known as golden leaves) as symbols of gold, and wish each other a bright prosperous future. There is a legend involving Raghuraja , an ancestor of Rama, Aapta tree and Kuber. There is also another legend about the Shami tree where the Pandava hid their weapons during their exile. In Maharashtra, people also ritually cross the border of their village or town. This ceremony is known as seemollanghan.

Annual festival finale

The last day of all the celebrations is Vijaya Dashami. In Mysore there is a tradition of holding a grand procession through the streets of the city with the idol of the goddess Chamundeshwari riding in a golden Ambaari (elephant-seat). For many centuries, presiding over the 10-day festivities was an important sovereign ritual during the Kingdom of Mysore. Many cultural events are held at the main Palace in Mysore. During the post-independence period, the provincial government of Karnataka has taken over the tradition and continues the celebration every year.

The Dashera is a mark of victory of the great Hindu God Rama (Ramachandra, son of Dasharatha (The King)), for his victory over Ravana in the Ramayana. When Rama had returned to Ayodhya after a very long period, there was a celebration for the victory over Ravana. Also on this day, the Pandavas returned to their home. They had hidden their weapons in trees (which is called Aapta in Marathi). This tree then got famous as the golden tree and on this festival people exchange leaves of this tree as a celebration of happiness and victory over evil. People do pooja of books, gadgets, vehicles and weapons on this day. It is one of days where every moment (muhurtha in Marathi) is considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar. People usually buy new things and celebrate Dasara with great joy and happiness.

References

See also

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