So I had an off today. A Holiday which I made most of in some way: I studied. Yaaay! Well, not the most interesting thing to do but in the present circumstances with my exams pretty near? Seems a decent bet. Anyways moving on, It was Dussehra today. Just one of those Awesome holidays you get off during Winter here. Now for all those who don’t know what Dussehra is, Dussehra comes from the Sanskrit word Dasha-hara meaning remover of ten which refers to Ram’s defeat of the ten-headed Demon King, Ravan.
Now it’s a classical good-over-evil tale, a tale that actually happened and it’s been a part of our ancient folklore ever since. The whole saga? termed as Ramayana. Now before I tell you what happens in Dussehra and for it to actually make sense? I’ll give you a brief overview about it.
Ram and Sita : The Ideal Royal Couple
Ram, the prince of Ayodhya (In India) and his wife Sita are the ideal royal couple. Ram is brave, wise and dutiful, and Sita is beautiful, generous and saintly. Sita gets introduced to Ram at a ceremony called ‘Swayamvara’, organized by her father Janaka, the king of Mithila to identify a suitable bridegroom for her lovely daughter. Princes from various kingdoms are invited and challenge to string a giant bow. Only the mighty Ram could lift the bow, string it and even break it into two halves. This leads Sita to garland Ram as her husband.
Intrigues in the Royal Family
Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya, had three wives and four sons. Rama was the eldest and his mother was Kaushalya. Bharat was the son of his second and favorite wife, Kaikeyi. The other two were twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan from his third wife Sumitra. While Ram is all set for coronation, his step-mother, Dasharatha’s second wife, Kaikeyi, wants her son, Bharat, to become king. Before the aged king could hand over his crown to his eldest son Ram, Dasarath is destined to die. And instead of being crowned king of Ayodhya, Ram is sent into exile in the forest for fourteen year by an intrigue in the palace and a quirk of fate.
Ram is Banished for Fourteen Years
Ram goes to the forest, accompanied by wife Sita and brother Lakshman, and they live as recluses among the hermits that lead a life of meditative retreat in the deep woods. Bharat, whose mother’s evil plot won him the throne, goes to meet Ram in the forest and pleads him to return to the capital. As Ram declines to break his vow given to his deceased father, Bharat is compelled to go back to Ayodhya with his sandals, which he places on the throne as the symbol of Ram’s continuing monarchy.
Ram Fights Ravan, Rescues Sita
While Ram, his wife and brother are living a simple yet happy life in the forest, tragedy strikes! Henceforth, the plot revolves around the abduction of Sita by the demon king Ravan, the ten-headed ruler of Lanka, and Rama’s pursuit to rescue her, aided by Lakshman and the mighty monkey-general Hanuman. Sita is held captive in the island as Ravan tries to persuade her to marry him. Ram assembles an army of allies comprising mainly of monkeys under the brave Hanuman. They together with this army at their disposal send them off in all four directions, until they finally get to know that she’s in Lanka (Now Sri Lanka). They build a bridge across the Sea made of just stones and boulders. They attack Ravan’s army, and after a fierce battle, succeed in killing the demon king and freeing Sita, reuniting her with Ram.
That there? In a summed up version is what it’s all about. Obviously way more interesting and dramatic than that and captivating to say the least. So yes, Dussehra is all about the victory of Good-over-evil and the day when Ram killed Ravan. To celebrate that? People first make effigies or Ravan, huge ones!! Complete with the ten heads and try to make it look mean and evil , alongside Ravan’s evil brothers, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran (Interesting backstory to that as well) but yea, then these effigies are burnt and you have firecrackers and people just watch them go down and celebrate. Dramatic? you bet.
I used to go watch them burn when I was a kid. It’s pretty awesome feeling, seeing them get lit on fire and trust me , they are HUGE. Sometimes, they put fircrackers in them and it starts blowing up 😀 Either ways, even though I hate the pollution it causes? It’s a welcome holiday at the end of the day.
Till next time? So long 😀