Dussehra (Vijaya Dasami, Dasara, or Dashain) is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. , which is marked on the 10th day of the bright half (Shukla Paksha) of the month of Ashvin (Ashwayuja), according to the Hindu calendar. In the months of Ashwin and kartik, Hindus observe a 10 day ceremony of fast, rituals, celebrations, fiests to honor the mother Goddess and triumph of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana.
Dussehra also symbolizes the triumph of warrior Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura. Thus, it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. This year it falls on 14th October, 2013.
Dussehra can also be interpreted as "Dasa-Hara", which means the cutting of the ten heads of Ravana. On this day, Ram, killed the great demon Ravan, who had abducted Ram's wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. Ram, along with his brother Lakshman and devoted follower Hanuman, and an army of monkeys fought a great battle to rescue his lovely wife Sita. The war against Ravan lasted for ten days. Sita had been returned to her husband Ram and they returned to Ayodhya in triumph and glory.
Dussehra is the tenth day after Navratri. It marks the end of the nine days of Navratri. Dussehra is also known as Vijaya dashami, celebrates the homecoming of Lord Rama the hero of the epic Ramayana, after he rescued his wife Sita from Ravana, the king of Lanka.
It is a gazetted holiday in India. There are many local celebrations in some areas in India that can last for up to 10 days that includes:
• Performances of the Ramlila of the epic Ramayana, in Northern India.
• A large festival and procession including the goddess Chamundeshwari on a throne mounted on elephants in the town of Mysore in Karnataka.
• The blessing of household and work-related tools, such as books, computers, cooking pans and vehicles in Karnataka.
• The preparation of special foods, including luchi (deep fried flat bread) and alur dom (deep fried spiced potato snacks), in Bengal. The nine day festival is known as Durga Puja.
• On the tenth day (Dussehra or Vijay Dasami), larger than life effigies of Ravana, his son and brother - Meghnadh and Kumbhakarna are set to fire.