Thursday, 25 October 2012

Festivals of India in the month of October

Bijoya Dashami and Dashera

Friends, Yesterday (26.10.2012) was Bijoya Dashami; the curtains were finally drawn on the five-day long Durga Puja festival, millions of Bengalis across India will brave the crowds and go to nearby ghats (bank of river) to immerse idols of goddess Durga with her four children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesha. Devotees irrespective of men, women and children are joining long processions to bid their farewell to Ma Durga as the water beckons her. In the recent years however, most of the community pujas have started postponing the farewell as long as possible to arrange a grand send-off later.

Visarjan or immersion

Vijayadashami is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated in various forms, across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Visarjan or immersion of the Goddess marks the official end of Puja, with the priest removing the ghot (clay pot) on which the pranpratistha was done. The mirror ceremony across the country takes place in the morning with a mirror being floated in a pot of water and a glimpse of the Devi’s reflection is seen as she departs. The mirror is then upturned and the thread around the four sticks surrounding the ghot broken.

Some revellers carry a symbolic clay Neel Kontho Pakhi - a bird with a blue neck - with them during the immersion ceremony. It is the carryover of a practice in the times of the zamindars, or big landowners, who used to set free these birds before immersion.

Sindur-khela (Sindir-play)

Before visarjan, women bid adieu to Ma, her children and their mounts with sweets, betel leaf and sindur. This is called boron. After putting sindur (symbol of marred, some red powder) on the goddesses, married women smear each other with it. They pray for the well-being of their families and the long lives of their husbands before the deity. The tradition comes from the Bengali custom where married women would apply sindur on each other when one of them was leaving home. Indian mythology says that Durga Puja celebrates the annual descent of the goddess and her four children to her parental abode on earth. The goddess stays for four days to eradicate all evil from earth and on the fifth day of Dashami begins her return journey to her husband Lord Shiva's abode at Mount Kailash in the Himalayas.


Schoolgoers were seen at the pandals with their books and pens in the belief that the goddess would bless them with a good academic record. After the immersion begins a period when Bengalis wish each other 'Shubho Bijoya' and visit each other's places with sweets.

 Sweets of Bijaya Dashami:

Naru of sugar



The name Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit Dasha-hara literally means remover of ten referring to Lord Rama's victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. The day also marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demons Mahishasur. The name Vijayadashami is also derived from the Sanskrit words "Vijaya-dashmi" literally meaning the victory on the dashmi (Dashmi being the tenth lunar day of the Hindu calendar month).


Local customs inevitably colour the forms and interpretation that the festival receives regionally, but Rama's victory is always the centrepiece of the celebrations.
On this day, the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghanad are burnt; which are stuffed with crackers. In burning these effigies the people are asked to burn the evil within them, and thus follow the path of virtue and goodness. Especially children enjoy seeing this because of the beautiful fireworks on the ground. The festival which is thought as the 'Victory of Good over Evil' & "Return of God from Exile'.

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