Celebrating Dasara in Karnataka and How to get your child involved in the festivities!

Dasara celebrates the Hindu God Rama's victory over the demon king Ravana and the triumph of good over evil. In the epic Ramayana, Lord Rama wins the lovely Sita for his wife, only to have her carried off by Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.


Eventually Lord Rama rescues his wife Sita with the help of Hanuman and the Monkey Army. The war is supposed to have taken place over 10 days with Ravan being killed on the 10th day by Lord Rama and hence Dasara is celebrated for 10 days.


There is also another significance of Dasara, it is said that Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahisasura and thus the last day of Dasara is celebrated as Vijayadashmi.


Different states celebrate Dasara in their own unique way, in Karnataka Dasara is celebrated with a lot of festivities, here are few traditions followed and how you can involve your little one in learning the significance of Dasara.


1. Traditional Practice: - Preparations &Decorations

One of the main traditions followed in Karnataka is, the houses and God's room are all spruced up and decorated. The doors are decorated with flowers and mango leaves called "Thorana". Beautiful Rangolis are drawn in front of the house gate and front door. The threshold of the front door is decorated with "Arishina" (Haldi) and Kumkuma (Kumkum).

Getting the kids involved:
Dasara is one festival in which kids will really love helping out and being a part of the preparations and festivities. Get your little one to help you in the cleaning by tiding up his/her toys and room. They can also help in the rangoli by adding color powder inside the designs.

 


2. Traditional Practice: - Ayudha Puje

The 9th day of Dasara is celebrated as "Ayudha Puje" in which all the vehicles, weapons and tools are prayed too. The Puja is considered a meaningful custom, the focus is on one's profession and its related tools and connotes that a higher power, or divine force is working behind it to help us succeed in our work. There have been some changes in this practice keeping in mind the era of technology, people pray to computers and related items as well. Some families in Karnataka also have a small practice of offering food and clothes to their ancestors.

Getting the kids involved:
One of the most common sights during this day is seeing vehicles being washed and decorated with flowers, haldi and kumkum. Teach your child to wash his/her cycle and decorate it for the Puja and also help elders in decorating the family vehicle. After the prayers it's auspicious to start the car or bike and drive over lemons strategically kept under the wheels.

 


3. Traditional Practice: - Saraswati Puje

Last day of Dasara ends with worship to Goddess Saraswati by praying to books and anything that brings knowledge. It's also considered auspicious for small children to start their journey of education on this day by making them write the "OM" letter on a slate after offering prayers to Goddess.

Getting kids involved:
Make your child arrange his/her books for the Puja, also explain the significance and meaning behind it. One can also take them shopping to buy new educative books or CDs.

 


4. Traditional Practice: - Dasara Doll Festival

Some families follow a tradition during these 10 days of Dasara called "Dasara Bombe Habba" or "Gombe" or "Golu". This just means Darasa Doll Festival. The Dasara Doll Festival is celebrated in Karnataka through an exhibition of various dolls and figurines arranged as per custom. Various dolls, as per the theme decided by the women in the family, are decorated and arranged on a 7, 9, 11 tiers or steps. The dolls range from gods, goddesses, animals, wife and husband dolls etc. They usually depict a story, everything from wooden dolls to clay dolls are showcased.
Everyday prayers are offered to the dolls. Married women are invited to come over for "Arishina- Kumkuma" which is sacred for married women in Karnataka.

Getting kids involved:
Kids will love helping in arranging the dolls. You can even encourage them to make their own dolls. They can be involved in decorating the dolls and laying them out to depict a story. Teach your child to explain the theme or the story behind it to the guests who come over.

 

 

If you aren't celebrating Dasara this year, but still want to experience it then a fun family trip to Mysore will be ideal. In Mysore, Dasara is celebrated in a grand manner since many years. The children will love seeing the Mysore palace all lit up and in its shining glory. Also one can witness the famous "Jumbo Savari" where in an idol of Goddess Durga is carried on top a decorated elephant.

 

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