, also called Vijayadashami, in Hinduism, holiday marking the triumph of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, over the 10-headed demon king Ravana, who abducted Rama’s wife, Sita. The festival’s name is derived from the Sanskrit words dasha (“ten”) and hara (“defeat”). Symbolizing the victory of good over evil, Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Ashvina (September–October), the seventh month of the Hindu calendar, with the appearance of the full moon, an event called the “bright fortnight” (shukla paksha). Dussehra coincides with the culmination of the nine-day Navaratri festival.
Vijayadashami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of South Asia. In the southern, eastern, northeastern, and some northern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to restore and protect dharma.
In the northern, central 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 Ravan.
On the very same occasion, Arjuna alone decimated more than 100,000 soldiers and defeated all Kuru warriors including Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Karna and Kripa, a significant example of victory of good (Dharma) over evil (Adharma). Alternatively, it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi, such as Durga or Saraswati.
Vijayadashami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean front that involve carrying clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed in the water for dissolution and farewell.
Elsewhere, on Dussehra, towering effigies of Ravan, symbolizing evil, are burnt with fireworks, marking evil's destruction.
The festival also starts the preparations for Diwali, the important festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after Vijayadashami.