myth and facts

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In the lunar month of Ashwin (usually in September or October) from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada (the next of the New moon day of Bhadrapada) to the Dashami or the tenth day of Ashwin,Hindus observe a 10 day ceremony of fast, rituals, celebrations, fiests to honor the mother Goddess and triumph of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana. Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Thus, it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. It is also called Navaratri(Nava-ratri= nine-nights).
The word Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit words “Dasha” & “hara” meaning removing the ten (10). This is the most auspicious festival in the Dakshinaayana or in the Southern hemisphere motion of the Sun.  In Sanskrit, 'Vijaya' means Victory and 'Dashami' means 10th day. 'Thus Vijaya Dashami' means victory on the 10th day.
The tenth day after Navratri is called Dussehra, on which number of fairs are organized throughout the northern India, burning effigies of Ravana.It is also called “Vijayadashmi” as this day marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. VijayaDashami is considered to be an auspicious day for the Indian householder, on which he worships, protects and preserves 'Shakti' (power). According to Scriptures, by worshipping the 'Shakti' on these nine-days the householders attain the threefold power i.e. physical, mental and spiritual, which helps him to progress in life without any difficulty.
On the day of Dussehra, statues of the Goddess Durga are submerged in the river waters.  These statues are made with the clay & the pooja is performed with turmeric and other pooja items, which are powerful disinfectants and are mixed in the river waters.  This makes water useful for the farmers & yields better crops.
Buses, trucks and huge machines in factories are all decorated and worshipped as Dussehra is also treated as Vishwakarma Divas - the National Labor Day of India. 
Dussehra in different parts of India
In most of the northern India (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Hariyana etc…) and some parts of Maharashtra Dussehra is celebrated more in honor of Rama.  During these 10 days many plays & dramas based on the epic of Ramayana are performed.  These are called Ramlila. 
In Bengal, Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja. Idols of the goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days, and on the tenth day immersed in a river or pond.  In Bengal, Assam & Orissa, Durga is also worshipped as Kali Mata as a symbol of Shakti (Power).
In Mysore - Karanataka, decorated elephants lead a colorful procession through the streets of the city.
In Gujrath, Rajasthan and most of Maharashtra during the Navaratri days the ladies & gents play a typical dance called Raas Garba every night.

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