On 1st January, every year, every kid peeps into the new calendar to find out when Dassera is. September or October, Dassera is always a festival of holidays to kids. We all know that Dassera is the festival celebrated on the death of Ravan. Also, Dassera is observed as the triumph of Mother Durga over the tyranny of Mahishur. Below are the ten little things about Dassera, that many of us don’t know. Let us look into them.
1. Etymology of Dassera
Dassera is also known asVijaya Dashami, Dasara and Nava-Ratri. The word Dassera has its origin in Sanskrit. DaVijaya Dashami, Dasara and Nava-Ratri. Sha is the name of Dashanan Ravan cut into short while hara is defeat. Altogether Dassera is “Defeat of Ravan.”
Also in Sanskrit Dasha is ten and Ahaha is a day. So, Dasha + Ahaha = Dasharahaha = Dasharaha is a ten-day festival. And Nava-Ratri is nothing but a festival celebrated for nine nights. Whereas Vijaya means Victory and Dashami are the tenth days of lunar calendar of Hindus.
2. Where is it Celebrated?
Dassera is celebrated all over the world these days, but conventionally it is practised in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and also Bangladesh.
3. Exhibition of Dolls – Bommala Koluvu
The demon king Mahishasur coming into the pride of the boons given by Bharma, the creator crushed the world with his tyranny. To put an end to his atrocities, all devathas amalgamated their powers into a supreme power. The powerless devathas stood still to watch the war. In this memory, various states of India set up an exhibition of dolls during the ten-day festival.
4. Significance of Shami Puja and Ayudha Puja
It is believed that Pandavas, the five exiled princes of Hasthinapur hid their weapons on Shami tree before entering the Masthya Kingdom of Virat to complete their Agnyatawas. After a year of Agnyatawas, Pandavas recovered their weapons on this day. Since then Shami tree and weapons are worshiped on this day.
5. Guru Dakshina of Kausta
Kausta, the son of Brahmin named Devdutta, after learning Vedas from his guru Vartantu, expressed his desire o give him his fees (guru dakshina) for teaching him. When compelled by Kausta, Vartantu asked for 140 million gold coins.
Poor Kausta felt it be a test for his devotion towards guru and approached King Raghu of Ayodhya. Raghu was left with no money as he was performing Vishwajit Yagna. He asked Kubera, the wealth god for the sum and Kubera rained gold coins over Shanu and Aapati tree. Kausta paid guru dakshina with this money and the leftover gold was distributed among the people of Ayodhya. In remembrance of this, we pluck leaves of Aapati and give it to friends and family as gold. In some place, Shami leaves are also distributed.
6. Emperor Ashoka opts Buddhism
History says that Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka seeing the aftermath of the battle of Kalinga converted to Buddhism that preached Ahimsa to him on this auspicious day.
7. The Flower Festival – Bathukamma
It is said that Goddess Durga, after the battle fell asleep due to fatigue ‘Aswayuja Padyami’. The devotees entreated her to wake up saying Bathukamma which means “come back to life mother” in Telugu, and she woke up on the Dasami, which is celebrated as Dussehra. In this memory, a 9-day flower festival is celebrated in Telangana.
8. Ramlila in North
In these 10 days of festival dramas based on Ramayana, known as Ramlila are performed. In the evening, the effigies of Ravan, his brother Khumbhkarn and his son Meghnath are burnt.
9. Khetri – Punjabi’s Custom
Punjabis sow pulses, cereals and other seeds in a pot on the first day of Navaratri. They water it for nine days at the end of which the seeds sprout. This tradition called, “Khetri” signifies prosperity and abundance. On the tenth day, the shoots which are about 3 – 5 inches in length is submerged in water after prayers. They believe that this custom gives a fruitful harvest.
10. Indian Roller
Indian Roller or Neelakanti (Hindi) or Pala Pitta (Telugu) that is considered to be sacred is worshipped on this day. It is believed that watching this bird on this day restrains all sins.