EDISON, NJ – The 19th Dusshera festival was celebrated at Papaianni Park in Edison, New Jersey, by the Indo American Festivals.
The festival featured dance performances and a Ramleela enacted by members of Navrang Dance Academy which is run by Varsha Naik.
The festival also saw many vendors selling colorful clothing, stunning jewelry, decorative artifacts and scrumptious Italian and Indian food like pasta, bhel, Italian ice and popcorn, not to mention the traditional Dussehra favorite: fafda and jalebi.
The night ended with the burning of Ravana’s effigy to commemorate the festival. Dusshera, also known as Vijayadashami, is the celebration of good over evil.
The Festival was inaugurated by the chief guest, South Indian actress Aditi Agarwal, along with Esha Vyas, Mayor Lankey, Senator Thompson, EBC Radio’s Alka and Arvind Agarwal, Upendra Chivakula, accompanied by Chairperson Chanchal Gupta, Raj Mittal, President and Vice President Atul Sharma of Indo American Festivals.
For the first time in 19 years the actual Dusshera festival happened to be on the same day as the event.
The Dushahra festival was originally started in 1999 by the Founder and Chairman, Mangal Gupta in New Jersey and has since grown exponentially to become the Annual Grand Dusshera Festival, but not without the overwhelming support of the committee members and volunteers who have been working continuously for several months to make this event possible.
Traditionally, the 10-day long festival starts the day after the 9-day long festival of Navratri, which worships the Goddess Durga and ends on the 10th day or Dashami which is observed on a full moon day.
While each state in India has its own type of celebration, the significance of the festival remains the same.
According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama fought against the nine-headed demon Ravana for 10 days because he had kidnapped his wife Sita and defeated him to rescue her.
To enact this great victory, every year during the festival, a Ramleela is played in every town in India and now elsewhere in the world where Indians have settled.