Know your festival and 15 best ways to celebrate Dusshera/ Vijayadashami with children!

Festive season in India is on! But this year with the pandemic situation around, the festivals look very different, silent and plain as compared to the previous year’s; resulting in dampening the festive spirit. Our Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has warned people to stay away from large congregations and diligently follow the guidelines issued by the government regarding precautions to be taken. He has also requested people to celebrate upcoming festivals at home, with their loved ones, instead of going out to fairs and pandals.

With most people venturing out in the market areas for festive shopping, we can only see to it that our social-distancing; wearing masks; hygiene levels and cough/sneeze protocols are well followed and doesn’t affect others. With health minister as well as a request made by our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, obeying the protocols will help us stop the Covid-19 spread.

For Indians, festive seasons being a traditional time, most of us shall be disheartened about not being able to spend this time with their family & friends. But, currently finding joy in these tough times is the only solution! Especially making our children enjoy the festivals will uplift their mood and create happy situation at home.

So, are you all ready and all set to celebrate Dussehra festival that is falling on October 25?

Here are some ways you can make this festival fun for your children-

1)     KNOW YOUR FESTIVAL

It is extremely essential for every child to first understand about the festivals- how did it occur, why is it significant to celebrate and so on… You could help them understand the concept or boost their knowledge through general conversation & discussion, making it interactive. Below are the basic information about the festival to share-

a) What is Dusshera? What is it’s importance?

The word ‘Dussehra’ is made up of two Hindi words ‘dus’ (ten) and ‘hara’ (defeat). It is celebrated after the nine pious days of Navratri & on the tenth day of lunar month Ashvin. Therefore, if these two words are combined, ‘Dussehra’ (also called Vijayadashami) stands for the day when the ten evil faces (of Ravana) were destroyed by Lord Rama. It is a festival that symbolizes the victory of good over evil!

b) Why is Dusshera celebrated in India?

The festival is celebrated in India with a lot of enthusiasm and in different ways but the essence remains the same — to mark the victory of good over evilThe festival of Dussehra describes its origin from the great Hindu epic Ramayana, which states that Lord Rama, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, killed the ten-headed Ravana in Satyuga, as Ravana (the demon king of Lanka) abducted Lord Rama’s wife Sita. 

On this day, huge effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnath and brother Kumbhakarana are burnt to symbolize the victory of good over evil. In Northern India, Dussehra is celebrated to commemorate the killing of Ravana by Lord Rama (who was accompanied by his brother Laxmana, Lord Hanuman and his army of vanars -monkeys). The festival is also a celebration of female divinity as it marks the killing of demon Mahishasura by the goddess Durga. That is why all the nine avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri. 

c) How many heads & arms does Ravana have?

Ravana is the mythical multi-headed demon-king of Lanka in Hindu mythology.

He is depicted with ten heads and twenty arms, giving him the name Dasamukha (10 faced) or Dasagriva (10 headed). Ravana’s 10 heads symbolizes the 6 Shastras & 4 Vedas, making him a great scholar and the most intelligent person of his time.

As per mythology, his 10 heads represent 10 qualities/emotions in human. They are-

i) Kama (lust)

ii) Krodha (anger),

iii) Moha (delusion)

iv) Lobha (greed), 

v)  Mada (pride),

vi) Maatsyasya (envy), 

vii) Manas (mind),

viii) Buddhi (intellect),

ix)  Chitta (will)

x)   Ahamkara (the ego).

2)  FUN ACTIVITIES TO DO WITH KIDS

i) Perform Saraswati Pujan

Dussehra Sarasvati Puja is a ceremony to offer worship, respect and affection to Sarasvati, the form of the Mother Goddess that personifies Knowledge and by extension all forms of learning, including poetry, music, languages, schooling, books etc. Saraswati Pujan is nothing but doing Puja of books which are the symbol of Goddess Saraswati. It is one of the important Indian traditions that teach children to respect their books and treat them next to Goddess Saraswati.

ii) Exchanging Apta (Bauhinia) Leaves with Friends and Family Members

Exchanging Apta or Bauhinia leaves with friends and family members is also one of the oldest traditions of Dussehra celebration. These leaves are considered as the symbol of gold. 

iii) Making an Effigy of Ravana and Shooting It

The significance of making an effigy and shooting it is promising oneself to destroy all the bad qualities from within himself or herself. In this activity, you can either draw image of Ravana or take a printout. You will require 5 plastic bottles & a ball. Stick the images on each of the bottles. Now let your child roll the ball and knock off each of the ravanas.

iv) Making Rangoli

You can use traditional Rangoli colors or use petals of different flowers to make it even more exciting for children. 

v) Decorating a Kalash

Kalash is used during various Pujas….. so, carry out this creative activity of decorating a Kalash with your child.

vi) Craft Activity

You can make Hanuman or Ravana face mask for kids

vii) Maze Activity

Kids will enjoy this rescue game.

viii) WordSearch

Play this word hunting game along with your children, they will enjoy finding & exploring the new terms.

ix) Making Sweets

Making sweets are one of the important aspects of celebrating any festival in India. So simple sweets like Kheer, Chocolate Pedas can be made along with children.

x) Dressing-Up in Traditional Outfits

One of the interesting ways to make this festival even more colorful and exciting is by dressing-up in traditional outfits.

xi)  Coloring Activity

Kids can color different themed pages viz. Ramayana, Durga Puja or decorate an Elephant (they form the core of the Mysore Dasara procession on the Vijayadashami day)

xii) Decorate your home with handmade decors

Paper flowers, DIY lamps, Wall Hangings can be along with children.

xiii) Make your own Puja Thali

xiv) Read books/ Watch Videos

 Make your children read Indian Mythological books on Ramayana and Dussehra or you can show them the related video’s.

xv) Teaching kids to make the spiritual sumbol Om or Swastik

So, what is the significance of Dusshera in your life? What activities have you planned to do with kids during dusshera, do share your ideas.

Here’s wishing our readers a Happy Dusshera, VIJAYADASHAMI & DURGA ASHTAMI !

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