Dussehra, also known as Vijaya Dashami or Dashain, is a Hindu festival celebrated from Nepal to Pakistan on the tenth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashvin. It is a gazetted day in India, meaning that government offices, post offices, banks, and schools are closed on this day.

History of Dussehra

To understand Dussehra, one must know the Hindu epic of Ramayana. The story narrates how Lord Rama, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killed the demon Ravana.
Ravana had abducted Sita, the beautiful wife of Lord Rama. To rescue her, Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana assembled an army of monkeys and advanced toward Ravana’s kingdom. Rama planned to attack Ravana directly and liberate Sita from the demon’s grasp.
However, before doing so, he sought the blessings of Ma Durga, the goddess of power. With her blessings, he attacked and defeated the ten-headed demon king. Dussehra celebrates this victory.

Dussehra Customs & Traditions

People of the Hindu faith observe this festival in parts of Pakistan and throughout Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. It is often celebrated by offering special food to the gods at the participant’s home or a Hindu temple.
Large parades, known as melas, often feature effigies of the demon king Ravana. These effigies are typically burned on large bonfires on the final day of the festival.
Sometimes, the effigies are filled with fireworks that explode as they burn, believed to help drive away evil spirits. In many areas, it is customary to plant barley seeds in an earthenware pot on the first day of the festival. After nine days, the sprouts are collected and placed in men’s caps for good luck.
In other regions, a dramatization of the epic Ramayana is performed with actors in vibrant costumes. During these events, participants often prepare deep-fried flatbreads called luchis and deep-fried potato snacks known as alur dom.

Where is it celebrated?
India (Gazetted holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
October 12 Saturday
Next year (2025)
October 2 Thursday
Last year (2023)
October 24 Tuesday