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India is a country of festivals and most of the occasions celebrated here have a significant meaning attached to it. Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is another such occasion that has a notable interpretation to it. It is observed in the month of Ashvin, according to the Hindu calendar, which as per the Gregorian months falls during the months of September and October. This year Dussehra will be celebrated on September 30.
While the core of the festivities remains the same — which is celebrating the triumph of good over evil, it is celebrated differently and for different reasons in various parts of the country. In the northern region, it is popularly known as Dussehra and marks the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana. Whereas in the eastern and north-eastern regions, the festivities is known as Vijayadashami and marks the end of Durga Puja when people reminisce the conquest of goddess Durga over demon god Mahishasura.
In North India, Dussehra is celebrated exactly 20 days before Diwali the festival of lights. Believers pray for prosperity, happiness and well-being of their family members during this time and the ten days before Dussehra are considered auspicious to begin new ventures, journeys or projects. Performances of Ramlila, a dramatic re-enactment of Ramayana, takes place during the nine days leading up to Dussehra and form an important part of the festivities. On Dussehra, that is the tenth day, effigies of Ravana and his brothers Kumbhakarna and Meghanada are burnt.
Vijayadashami, is celebrated at the end of Navaratri mostly in the eastern part of India. Processions of devotees immerse the idols of goddess Durga in ocean or river water on this day. The procession is blended with elaborate prayers, music, dance and recitals. People adorn themselves in vibrant clothes and visit relatives before the celebrations begin.
While Dussehra is celebrated across the north of India, cities like Ayodhya, Vrindavan, Almora, Satna, Varanasi, Madhubani and other cities of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar see heightened celebrations. Interestingly the festivities in Himachal Pradesh is known as Kullu Dasara and that in Nepal is called Dashain.