Friday, September 03, 2004

Durga Puja celebration

Dussehra (tenth day) is celebrated throughout India. It is celebrated as Navaratri in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, as Durga Puja in West Bengal. It is an occasion to commemorate Rama’s epic victory over Ravana, who kidnapped Sita. While the occasion marks the triumph of Lord Rama over the demon king, Ravana. It is also a metaphor for victory of good over evil. So when the effigy is being burnt, people are also trying to cleanse themselves of the evil within them.

In North India, on Dussehra or the Vijayadasmi day, effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Meghnath are placed in open grounds (maidans). One person donning the robes of Rama, who arrives at the venue with wife Sita and Lakshman in tow, shoots arrows of fire at the effigies. These effigies are stuffed with inflammable material. So when the arrow strikes the target, there is a noisy blast and the effigies are razed to the ground and people clap and cheer loudly in celebration.

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