Vijayadasami, also known as Dasara , is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. It is observed on the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October. Vijayadashami is celebrated as victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana and also triumph of Goddess Durga over the buffalo Demon Mahishasura.
Vijayadashami is a composite of two words “Vijaya” and “Dashami”, which respectively mean “victory” and “tenth”, connoting the festival on the tenth day celebrating the victory of good over evil. The same Hindu festival-related term, however, takes different forms in different regions of India and Nepal, as well as among Hindu minorities found elsewhere.
Vijayadasami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. In the eastern and northeastern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga’s victory over the buffalo demon to help restore Dharma. In the northern, southern and western states, the festival is synonymously called Dussehra (also spelled Dasara, Dashahara). In these regions, it marks the end of “Ramlila” and remembers god Rama’s victory over the demon Ravana, or alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi such as Durga or Saraswati.
Vijayadasami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye. Elsewhere, on Dasara, the towering effigies of Ravana symbolizing the evil is burnt with fireworks marking evil’s destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami.
vijayadashami also celebrates the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana as cited in the epic Ramayana. This is when Lord Ram rescues his wife Sita who was abducted by Ravana and imprisoned in Lanka. Effigies of Ravana are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. This marks the celebration of Dussehra all over India.
Hindus celebrate this festival worldwide by observing social gatherings and offering sweets and gifts to relatives, friends and neighbours. The festivity also marks the beginning of the harvest season and prayers are said and rituals are observed to invoke blessings from Mother Earth for a good harvest, peace and prosperity to all.