Festivals > Hindu Festivals > Dussehra

Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami is a festival celebrated across India and is known for the victory of good over evil.This festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin Month. In north India,the festival commemorates the victory of Rama, prince of Ayodhya and avatara of Vishnu, over Ravana, the lord of Lanka who had abducted Rama's wife, Sita Devi. The festival is celebrated with much gusto. Crackers are burnt, and huge melas or fetes are organised. The Ramlila - an abriged dramatization of the Ramayana - is enacted with much public fervour all over northern India during the period of the festivities. The burning of the effigies of Ravana on Vijayadashami,signifying the victory of good over evil, brings the festivities to a colourful close.

Dusshera or Dussehra is the grand culmination of the 10-day annual festival of Navaratras also called Navaratris. It is also the largest festival of Nepal and celebrated by Hindu and non-Hindu as well.The highlight of the tenth day is the burning of the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Indrajit. It is customary to fill the effigies with firecrackers so that the message that good triumphs over evil is heard loud and clear. Dussehra coincides with Durga Puja, which is a ten-day worship of Goddess Durga. In different parts of the country, different goddesses are worshipped during this period.

Dusshera or Navarathri is one of the most popular festivals of India. This 10-day long festival is celebrated in September- October. During these 10-days, Goddess Durga is worshipped for Navarathri (nine nights), and on the 10th day - Vijayadasami, Goddess Saraswati is worshipped.

Dusshera is the anniversary of the victory of Durga over the buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura, giving the goddess her name Mahishasura-mardini (the slayer of Mahishasura). Dusshera also commemorates the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana of Lanka. However, either way the theme of the festival is the victory of good over evil.

Dusshera was celebrated mainly as a royal festival. As the war-goddess, Durga was worshipped by Kshatriya rulers in ancient and medieval India. Many of these kings selected Dusshera to invoke the blessings of Durga and start military operations. Dusshera celebrations differ throughout the country.