Is Dussehra a Public Holiday?
Dussehra is observed as a public holiday in all states and territories of India. Therefore, schools, universities, colleges and general offices and shopping malls remain closed on this day. However, some businesses and retail stores may choose to operate during restrictive hours.
On the other hand, government offices, banks, post offices etc. remain closed on this day. Public transport services such as metros, buses, cabs, autos etc. can follow an altered time table and have reduced working hours on this day.
Dussehra in India: Astrological Significance
According to the Hindu Panchang, the festival of Dussehra falls on the Dashami tithi or Tenth Date in the month of Ashwin during the Shukla Paksha and Apaharan Kaal. This festival marks the triumph of ’Good over Evil’ since Lord Rama emerged victorious against the mighty Ravana by killing him.
This day emphasizes the importance of good deeds and righteous thoughts. The day of Dussehra is believed to be an auspicious day for initiating any religious activity, starting a business venture or admitting your kids to schools.
Dussehra in India: Mythological History & Legend
Dussehra history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. The festival of Dussehra heartily celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana, the Demon King. Also, this festival is connected with the epic Mahabharata. Let’s know the mythological legends behind this day:
Dussehra as per Ramayana
Dussehra is believed to be strongly associated with the tale of Ramayana. As it occurred, Ravana kidnapped Maa Sita, and after repeated requests made by Lord Rama, he refused to release her. This situation led to a war between both the parties, where Ravana was depicted as the King of Demons with several divine boons and blessings from the Gods and Lord Rama as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The war between the two lasted for about fourteen days. Ravana lost his brother Kumbhakarana and son Meghnad during the battle along with a large chunk of his army. On the last day, Lord Rama venerated Maa Durga, who revealed the secret of killing Dashanan, i.e. Ravana. On the last day, Lord Rama killed the Ten-Headed Ravana and established justice and Dharma. This day came to be known as Dussehra.
Dussehra as per Mahabharata
In the epic Mahabharata, the festival Dussehra has also gained high significance. It is believed that the Pandavas had hidden their weapons in a Shami tree before going to exile in the kingdom of Virata. During their exile, they lived a normal life in disguise but when Bhima killed Kichaka, Duryodhan planned to kill the Pandavas.
It was Arjuna, the great warrior, who helped Pandavas win over the Kaurava Army and defeat some of the distinguished warriors such as Drona, Bhishma, Atirathis, Karna, Ashwatthama and so on. The weapons he used during the battle were still hidden safely in the Shami tree. Therefore, he worshipped the tree and then moved on to fight his enemies.
One of the names of Arjuna was Vijaya, the Victorious, and this incident happened on the same day when Ravana was killed by Lord Rama. Hence, this day came to be known as Vijaya Dashami.
Dussehra Celebrations in India
Dussehra celebrations in India are carried out in full form in several states. Followers of Hinduism celebrate this day by carrying out puja rituals, fasting and special prayers. Melas, public gatherings and much more are organized on this day, and large effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Meghnad are erected on a large ground.
The effigy of Ravana consists of ten heads, as depicted in the epic Ramayana, and represent an emotion:
Ram Leela is performed on this day widely across cities in India, where the whole Ramayana is narrated through a dramatic adaptation. It is on the last day of Ram Leela, that falls on Dussehra, is when Ravana is killed and all the effigies are burnt.
Huge fireworks can be witnessed on this occasion, which marks the triumph of Good over Evil. This day is considered lucky for carrying out new personal or professional ventures and journeys. People also worship the Shami tree on the day of Dussehra.
Dussehra Puja Rituals
During the Aparahna Kaal on Dussehra, the Aparajita Puja is conducted with utmost devotion. Below is the puja rituals to be carried out:
- Find a place of worship either facing or in the Northeast direction.
- Clean that area thoroughly, male a sandalwood paste and make a Ashtadal Chakra, which is a ring of eight Lotus petals.
- Now, take a pledge or Sankalp to fulfill this puja for the welfare of yourself and your family.
- Next, invoke Maa Aparajita in the middle of the Lotus Chakra and chant the mantra: अपराजिताय नमः/aparajitaya namah.
- Now, invoke Maa Jaya on her right side by reciting the mantra: क्रियाशक्त्यै नमः/kriyāśaktyai namaḥ.
- Now to her left, recite the mantra उमायै नमः/ umāyai namaḥ and invoke Maa Vijaya.
- Then perform the Shodashopachara Puja ritual and chant the below mantras:
- अपराजिताय नमः/aparājitāya namaḥ
- जयायै नमः/jayāyai namaḥ
- विजयायै नमः/vijayāyai namaḥ
- Then, venerate the deities and pray for them to accept your worship.
- After this, the ritual of Immersion or Visarjan must be performed while chanting the mantra:
हारेण तु विचित्रेण भास्वत्कनकमेखला। अपराजिता भद्ररता करोतु विजयं मम।
hāreṇa tu vicitreṇa bhāsvatkanakamekhalā। aparājitā bhadraratā karotu vijayaṃ mama।
Apart from conducting the Aparajita Puja on Vijayadashami, other popular rituals are also carried out:
1. Any auspicious or significant task can be carried out during the Vijay Muhurat, which begins when the Sun sets on the day of Dussehra.
2. Warriors, mainly Kshatriyas, perform the ritual of worshiping their weapon on this day, which is known as Ayudh Puja.
3. Maa Saraswati is venerated by the Brahmins on this day.
4. The grand Durga Puja in West Bengal comes to an end on this day.
5. Ledgers and accounting books are worshipped by Vaishyas.
Dussehra in India & Its Regional Variations
Most Northern states in India celebrate this day with great enthusiasm. One of the famous events organized before Dussehra is Ram Leela, which is a dramatic stage depiction of Ramayana that goes on for ten days overall. On the last day of Ram Leela, i.e. Dussehra, huge effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarana and Indrajit or Meghnad are burnt.
However, in some states such as Varanasi, the entire story of Ramayana is acted out on stage by artists, which goes on for almost a month. This event is carried out in almost every part of the country, and attracts thousands of viewers. Kullu Dussehra in Himachal Pradesh is one of the outstanding events notably known for its parades and fairs and
Mysore Dasara in Karnataka is one of the eye-catchy events organized on the day of Dussehra. It serves as one of the major tourist attractions, where the forts are lighted up and decorated with flowers and colorful figurines etc.
In some Southern states, Maa Saraswati is venerated on this day. People clean and worship the work tools, and instruments and invoke the Goddess. Kids are also admitted to schools on the day of Vijayadasami.
Maharashtra celebrates this day as Dasara, and locals immerse the deities placed on the first day of Navratri on this day. In Goa, this festival is observed as Dasro, where the victory of Maa Durga over Mahishasur, a demon, is celebrated.
Maa Durga and Lord Ram are venerated on the day of Dussehra in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Fasting and celebrations are common on this day, as a local dance form known as Dandiya Raas is organized in several cities of Gujarat.
Vijaya Dasami or Dussehra is observed in Western states as Bijoya Dashomi. Maa Durga is highly venerated during the nine days of Navratri, after which on the tenth day, her idol is carried out in full process and drums and immersed in water with proper rituals and respect.
Women play Sindoor Khela and apply vermillion on each other’s faces as a sign of á long, happy married life.
Dussehra Symbols in India
Things or items that symbolize the spirit of Dussehra are:
- Effigies made of either paper or wood. Three effigies are burnt on Dussehra, which are of Ravana the King, his brother Kumbhalarana and son Meghnad.
- Grand fireworks
- The last day of Ram Leela, where Rama finally killed Ravana by firing an arrow.
- Red or Black Teeka applied on people’s foreheads. Black teeka is applied from a burnt log of wood of the effigy of Ravana. People usually take a piece of burnt wood home to drive away the evil from their houses.
|2019||Tue||8 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2020||Sun||25 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2021||Fri||15 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2022||Wed||5 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2023||Tue||24 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2024||Sat||12 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
|2025||Thu||2 October||Dussehra||Gazetted Holiday|
1. Can you eat non-veg on Dussehra?
Since Dussehra is regarded as a holy and religious festival in Hinduism, consuming meat is prohibited.
2. Is Dussehra a bank holiday in India as well?
Yes, Dussehra is a gazetted holiday in India, which means that the banks remain closed. Hence, it is a bank holiday.
3. Is Ravana worshipped in India?
Ravana the King is worshipped in six different places in India:
1. Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh)
2. Bisrakh (Uttar Pradesh)
3. Gadchiroli (Maharashtra)
4. Kangra (Himachal Pradesh)
5. Mandya and Kolar (Karnataka)
6. Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
4. Who revealed the secret of killing Ravana to Lord Ram?
Maa Durga revealed the secret of killing Ravana to Lord Ram.
From the above information, it is evident that the festival of Dussehra or Vijayadashmi 2023 in India is celebrated on Tuesday, 24 October with grandeur and excitement. We hope you have liked this article on Dussehra in India. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.