Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/38

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THE DASAHRA: AN AUTUMN FESTIVAL OF THE HINDUS.

KV \V. CROOKE.

{Read at the Meeting, \%tli November, 1914.)

The Dasahra, which I propose to discuss in this paper, is the counterpart of the Holi, or vernal fire festival of the Hindus, described in a previous communication to this Journal.^

There are two festivals known under this name. The first is that celebrated in Bengal in the month Jyaishtha, or June, which commemorates the descent of the river Ganges from heaven. Crowds assemble with offerings of flowers, fruit, and grain on the banks of the sacred river. Bathing in it at the auspicious moment is believed to remove the sins committed during ten re-incarnations. Though this festival is in many ways interesting, we are not at present concerned with it.

The festival of the same name now under consideration is celebrated throughout Northern, Western, Central, and in parts of Southern, India. It usually takes place in the early part of October, and corresponds to what is known in Bengal as the Durga Puja, or worship of the goddess Durga, one of the many forms of the Mother goddess, com- monly known as Devi, consort of the god Siva ; and to the Ramlila, or mystery play recording the exploits of the deified hero, Rama. Owing to the eccentricity of the Hindu luni-solar calendar, it is not easy to fix the date in our ' \'oI. x\v. p. 55 sq.