Edinburgh’s Dusherra Festival returns to Calton Hill this Sunday, 9 October, with a free programme of traditional and contemporary Indian musical and dance performances, fireworks and the triumphant burning of three huge effigies.
Edinburgh’s Dusherra (pronounced Duss-ehhh-ra), is the flagship event of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum (SIAF) and an important Indian Festival commemorating a ten-day war between the gods and demons and the subsequent triumph of Lord Rama over the 10-headed demon king Ravana, who abducted Rama’s wife Sita.
Traditionally Dusherra occurs on the night of the full moon and proclaims a universal message to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
“2022 marks the 28th anniversary of the SIAF," said Nirav Mehta, Vice President of SIAF. "We look forward to welcoming people from across Scotland to Dusherra to celebrate with us on this occasion and to help us spread Indian cultural awareness and values across a wide cross section of the country’s population."
He added: "Edinburgh Dusherra will showcase the performances of more than 125 artists ranging from amateurs to professionals in a 5 hour extravaganza including the dance drama of Ramlila and a spectacular finale fireworks. There will be different marquees for dance and music, a separate area dedicated for kids’ activities and stalls providing delicious Indian food.”
The mix of Scottish and Indian music and dance includes Edinburgh Bhangra Crew, Bharti Ashram, Junoon and the Bengali group Ram Lila.
The festivities include family activities and a firework display at at 8pm with the symbolic setting ablaze of three effigies crafted and created by volunteers from The Shed in Muirhouse. The three effigies are of Ravana, Meghnada (Ravana’s son) and Kumbhkarana (Ravana’s brother) to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Dusherra coincides with the culmination of the nine-day Navratri festival and with the tenth day of the Durga Puja festival. It marks the beginning of preparation for Diwali which this year will take place in Edinburgh on Sunday 6 November.
“Dusherra remains a key event in Edinburgh’s civic calendar and provides an opportunity for Hindus, and all other faiths, and communities, to come together to celebrate Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana. There is a fantastic programme this year with free activities for all the family and I’m very much looking forward to its return,” said Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Robert Aldridge.