Dussehra also referred to Vijayadashami, a Hindu festival which signifies the triumph of good over evil will be widely celebrated today across India. The festival is held on the tenth day after the nine nights of Navratri. NT BUZZ speaks to few Hindus in Goa and finds out more about their celebrations
Ramandeep Kaur | NT BUZZ
The festival of Dussehra is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and is celebrated with much fervour across the country with different states following a different set of customs and rituals.
According to a popular Hindu belief, it marks the epic battle of the Ramayana when Ram and his man return from exile following the defeat of Ravana in Lanka, but for Bengalis it marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. On this day, the Bengali tradition sees the end of five-day long Durga Puja culminating in the immersion of the clay statute of the Goddess while the Gujaratis associate the festival with the energetic dance called ‘dandiya’ over the nine nights of Navratri. Nikita Chodankar, Vasco says: “On the auspicious day of Dussehra, I visit various temples and buy something new that I wished to purchase over a long period of time.”
During the festival, dandiya dance is organised by various Gujarati and Rajasthani communities in Goa.
General Secretary, Sarvajanik Durga Puja Samiti in Fatorda, Manik Dey who is originally from Kolkata and has been living in Goa for the past 25 year says that they will have a Bengali folk music programme followed by dandiya at Samrat Garden opposite Ravindra Bhavan. He adds: “However, the immersion of the clay statue of the Goddess Durga this year will be on October 1 because this year Dussehra is on Saturday and we do not immerse idols on Tuesdays and Saturdays.” On Dussehra the Samiti will have ‘mahaprasad’ for general public between 1p.m. and 3 p.m. at Samrat Garden.
Whereas on this occasion, president of Vasco Garbi Gujarati Samaj, Kanubhai Lakhani says that they will also have a cultural programme at Mormugoa Port Trust Institute, Vasco.
The all-important marigold
What also catches everyone’s attention on this day, is the yellow and orange marigold flowers. They are seen everywhere, in the form of garlands with torans made of the flowers adorning the vehicles and the entrances of shops and homes. Dussehra is considered an auspicious day to launch new ventures, buy a new vehicle and the like. These are then blessed and garlanded. “We pay respect to various things that are precious and important to us including books, electronic equipments and vehicles with marigold flowers,” says Nikita.
Prajot Malvankar from Siolim says that he celebrates the occasion by performing a puja of the equipments that they use such as vehicles or farming tools. Some use marigold flowers to make flower rangolis or for decorative purposes.
The markets have already received large number of bright yellow and orange marigold flowers associated with the festival but this year one will experience a huge hike in the price of marigold flowers due to the rains which have in turn led to a shortage of flowers. The flowers which are supplied from places such as Bangalore, Pune, Kohapur and Hubli are being sold at price ranging from `100-`200 per kg, while the garlands are sold for `50 to `60 per meter. Vendor Ashraf Shaikh says: “I am selling flowers for `150 kg and 1 meter for 40-50.” He adds that the remaining flowers are either thrown away or taken by the municipality.
These flowers are supplied on a daily basis and will be sold for another 2 to 3 days in the market. Vendor, Tanvir Khan says: “Last year, the price was 120 per kg but this year I have to sell at `200 per kilo as there is shortage of flowers due to the untimely rains.”
Though there is increase in the price of flowers the vendors are getting a good response. Another vendor, Radha Naik, who has been selling flowers for the last 40 years, says: “The prices have increased but people are still buying because they need the flowers and cannot do without garlands which are used extensively during Dussehra.”
However, one of the vendors Mohammad Iqbal says that the prices are same as last year and he has been selling the flowers at the rate of `100 to `120 per kilogram.