Dussehra 2022: Celebrations take over India’s streets

Millions of Indians are celebrating Dussehra – an important Hindu festival – as fears about the Covid-19 pandemic have subsided.

For the past two years, celebrations were either muted or altogether cancelled.

Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which roughly falls between the months of September and October.

The festival celebrates Hindu god Ram’s vanquishing of the 10-headed demon king Ravan, and symbolises the triumph of good over evil.

Dussehra is celebrated throughout India with different rituals and activities.

Celebrations last for many days and are marked by songs, dances and large processions.

People visit family and friends, exchange sweets and gifts, and wear traditional outfits.

Colourful effigies of Hindu demon king Ravana seen for sale ahead of Dussehra Festival at Titarpur Village.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Thousands of Ravan effigies are burnt during Dussehra
Men holding umbrellas with lights wait before the start of a religious procession on the occasion of 'Dussehra' festival in Allahabad on September 21, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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In several regions, colourful processions are held to mark the festival

In some places such as Gujarat, the festival is preceded by nine nights of dancing – or Navratri – where people wear colourful clothes and perform traditional dances with small sticks – dandiyas – and synchronised claps.

On the 10th day, effigies of Ravan, his brother and son are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. Large crowds gather to watch this spectacle and erupt into cheers as crackling flames engulf the effigies.

Sometimes, firecrackers are lit in tandem, but over the past couple of years, environmentalists and politicians have been urging people to refrain from lighting fireworks due to the rising levels of air pollution.

In northern India, Ramlila – a theatrical performance based on Ram’s life – is performed in cities and towns. Performers dress up as different characters from the Hindu epic Ramayan and enact scenes in front of large crowds.

Artists perform in the roles of Sita (R), the wife of Hindu god Rama (L), in the 'Ramlila,' a 10-day enactment of the life of Hindu deity Rama which culminates in the festival of Dussehra, organised by Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Ramlila performances often have elaborate props and special effects
People play garba and dandiya during Navratri festival at Falguni Pathak Dandiya 2022 on Tuesday night, at Kandivali, on September 28, 2022 in Mumbai, India.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Thousands of people participate in the Navratri dance festival
People watch the burning of an effigy of the Ravan on the occasion of Dussehra festival celebration at Durgiana Dussehra ground, on October 15, 2021 in Amritsar, India.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Huge crowds gather to watch the burning of Ravan’s effigies

The festival also marks the end of Durga Puja and commemorates goddess Durga’s slaying of the buffalo demon Mahishasur.

People set up elaborate stage decorations known as “pandals” that draw large crowds. These pandals showcase designs based on a variety of themes, ranging from politics to important paintings.

Dussehra also marks the beginning of preparations for Diwali – a festival of lights – which is held 20 days later.

Devotees gather in a pandal to offer prayers to the idol of Hindu goddess Durga during the 'Durga Puja' festival in Allahabad on October 2, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Durga Puja pandals feature mesmerising decorations
An idol of the Hindu Goddess Durga at the a community durga puja ahead Durga Puja Festival in Kolkata,India on September 30,2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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At the end of the festival, idols of goddess Durga are immersed in water bodies

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