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Dussehra literally means the tenth day that marks the end of the nine days of Navratri. The festival of Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashmi, is one of the fascinating festivals of India and is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm for ten continuous days. The first nine nights are spent in the worship of goddess Durga and hence these nights are known as Navaratri. This festival falls in the month of Ashwin (Sep - Oct).
Dussehra can also be interpreted as "Dasa-Hara", which means the cutting of the ten heads of Ravana. The 'Ramleela', a folk play, retelling the story of the life of Rama, is enacted for the nine days of Navratri ending on Dussera, the day Rama slays Ravana. Songs are sung in praise of Rama and people in thousands witness this traditional theater with its exaggerated costumes, jewelry, makeup and drama. Effigies of Ravana are set ablaze, signifying the victory of good over evil. In modern times it calls for efforts to destroy the demon of our ego, and radiate peace and love.
Dussehra festival has immense mythological significance. As per Ramayan, Ram did Chandi-Puja and invoked the blessings of Durga to kill Ravana, the ten-headed king of Lanka who had abducted Sita. Durga divulged the secret to Ram how he could kill Ravana. Then after vanquishing him, Ram with Sita and Laxman returned victorious to his kingdom of Ayodhya.