When is Dussehra 2021? Date of Indian festival, origins, how it is celebrated and how it marks end of Navrati

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a major Hindu festival that marks the end of Navratri

Dussehra takes place every year, but what is the Indian festival, why is it celebrated and what date will it land on this year?

Here’s what you need to know.

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What is Dussehra?

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a major Hindu festival that marks the end of Navratri.

The festival is celebrated as the victory of Lord Rama over Ravan, and also celebrates the triumph of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishadura.

The name Dussehra is derived from the Sanskrit words dasha (ten) and hara (defeat).

It signifies the victory of Ram over Ravan, who was the 10-headed demon king.

Dussehra also marks the culmination of the nine-day Navratri festival. For many, it also marks the beginning of preparation for the Diwali festival - when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya - which falls 20 days after Dussehra.

What is Navrati?

Navaratri is another highly celebrated Hindu festival that symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It takes place at the beginning of October around harvest time and is celebrated for nine days. Navratri is also known as Durga Puja.

During this period, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped as three different manifestations of Shakti, or cosmic energy.

When is Dussehra 2021?

This year, Dussehra will be celebrated on Friday 15 October.

This year, the Vijay Muhurat time is reportedly from 14:02pm to 14:47 pm, while the Aparahna Puja time will start at 13.16pm and end at 15:33 pm.

The Dashami Tithi begins at 18:52 pm on 14 October and ends at 18.02pm on 15 October.

How is Dussehra celebrated?

‘Shami puja’, ‘Aparajita puja’ and ‘Seema avalanghan’ are just some of the rituals that are performed during the festival.

Effigies of Ravana - and sometimes his son Meghand and brother Kumbhkaran - are also burned by many to signify the destruction of evil, along with firework celebrations.

Hindu devotees in North India organise Ramleela, which is a theatrical enactment of Lord Ram’s life story. This takes place in the days leading to and on Dussehra itself.

Those in West Bengal usually celebrate the occasion as Durga Puja festival to mark the Goddess’s victory over demon Mahishasur.

In Gujarat, people celebrate the festival through garba, which is the famous folk dance of the state. During both Navratri and on Dussehra itself, people wear colorful clothes and celebrate the festival.

In South India, people bring home idols of Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati, and married women visit each other’s houses and exchange gifts such as coconut, betel nuts and money.