Oktoberfest – Oriental Style

No! This has nothing to do with the annual German festival, Oktoberfest, but it’s that time of year back in South Asia when India is alive with its time-honored festival – Dussehra! What’s that you might ask? Let’s dig into a bit of history for a moment.


In a nutshell, Dussehra is a joyous festival in India, celebrated after nine sacred nights of Sharad Navratri. Following Navratri, on the tenth day is Dussehra, which is also known as Vijayadashami. That signal event celebrates the triumph of good over evil, as on that day the Lord Rama – the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu – killed the 10-headed demon Ravana, and Goddess Durga killed the buffalo demon Mahishashur.  That’s quite a mouthful to swallow, but bear with me as we untangle the mysterious other – but ever present – world of Indian mythology in everyday life.

People all over India enjoy celebrating Dussehra with great enthusiasm. Indeed, it is an auspicious day for its people. As a result of the fact that the actual day is calculated according to the Lunar Calendar, its celebratory date depends on the year. Thus, this year – 2016 – the festival was celebrated in India on October the 11th.

Other points to note are that –

  •  Dussehra is also well known by the name of Vijayadashmi, which means “victory on the tenth day.”
  • Dussehra is also celebrated with great enthusiasm in other neighboring countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Malaysia.
  • The large effigies of the demons Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath are burnt on that day amid the noisy setting off of myriad firecrackers.

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Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas


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