Dussehra (less commonly transliterated as Dussera or Dassera) or Vijaya Dashami is one of the important Hindu festivals. It is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm in India every year in the month of Ashwin (September / October). It marks the triumph of Lord Rama over asura king Ravana, the victory of good over evil. This is the day when Rama killed Ravana and freed his wife Sita after leading an army of monkeys. The army of monkeys also has an interesting tale behind it. It is mentioned in some scriptures that Sage Narada was supposedly an avowed bachelor, but every time he would see a beautiful lady he felt enchanted; but his destiny would be such that he was always left behind by the lady in favour of someone else. Once he tried to impress a princess, without realizing his face was turned by his own mentor Gods into that of a monkey. Lord Vishnu laughed at seeing Narada's lost battle, and did the fault of making Narada realize what he was looking like. Narada in a fit of anger, told Vishnu that in his TretaYug (One of the Yugas) reincarnation of Rama, Vishnu would have to take help from the same animal (monkey) in order to reaffirm his pride and glory after winning over the Demon. The building of bridge between Rameswaram and Lanka in Ramayana is the oldest mention of the shallow waters on Strait between India and Sri Lanka although it was named as Adam's Bridge by the British to suit their convenience of reference.
On this day, the effigies of Ravana and Meghanad are burnt; which are stuffed with crackers. Especially children enjoy seeing this because of the beautiful fireworks on the ground. The festival which is thought as the 'Victory of Good over Evil' & "Entry of God' is celebrated in wonderful style decorating the entrances of houses & shops with flower studded strings called 'Torans' (Floral Gateways) & worshipping vehicles, machineries, books, weapons & also tools.
This is also the festival marking end of Navratri and the immersion of Durga idols which are worshipped for nine days prior to Dussehra. Dussehra is also the day when many families start formal education of their kids. The practise has been so old, that in some parts of Kerala, even after conversions to Christianity, some members of the community continued this tradition. In 2004, many churches in Kerala formally adopted the same tradition of introducing young children to education on Dussehra day.
Dussehra is celebrated in various ways in different parts of South Asia. In Bengal, the festival is celebrated as Durga Puja, while in Tamil Nadu, the festival incorporates worship of the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Shakti.