The rite of burning effigies of the demon king Ravana, his son Meghnath, and brother Kumbhakaran is known as Ravan Dahan. The rite is performed on Dussehra or Vijayadashmi day. Across the country, the festivities are observed in a variety of ways. The Ravan Dahan commemorates Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. The festival commemorates the triumph of light over darkness. 

The tenth day of Navratri is known as Dusshera. The day commemorates the triumph of good over evil. Even in the present world, when someone thinks of evil, Ravana’s name comes to mind. Ravana has always been depicted in history as a horrible person with long horns and lustful nature. Though demon king Ravana is the epic Ramayana’s main antagonist, he stole someone’s bride to satisfy his passion. The winner has always been portrayed as a hero in epic stories, while the loser has always been portrayed as a villain.

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Ravan Dahan’s significance

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a major Hindu film festival held across the country. People in India commemorate the occasion with traditional fervor, dedication, and passion. The importance of light in people’s lives is symbolized by villages and cities being lighted up with bright and vibrant lights. Ravan Dahan is a significant aspect of the event since it symbolizes darkness giving way to light. On the day of Dussehra or Vijayadashmi, an effigy of Ravana is burned after nine days of Navratri are dedicated to offering prayers to Maa Durga. Lord Rama slew Ravana on the day of Vijayadashmi, according to the epic Ramayana.

The ritual of burning Ravana effigies began as a way to commemorate Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. A variety of cultural programs are also held in different sections of the country for the enjoyment of the public. Many places have a tradition of staging a play version of the Ramayana before burning Ravana’s effigy. The terms ‘Vijay’ and ‘Dashami’ are combined to form Vijaya Dashami. The words ‘Vijay’ and ‘Dashami’ denote triumph and tenth, respectively. Similarly, Dussehra is derived from the words ‘Dus’ and ‘Hera.’ ‘Dus’ means 10, while ‘Hara’ means ‘defeat.’ Ravan, the demon king, had ten heads, according to Hindu legend.

Lord Rama and Lanka’s monarch Ravana engaged in a ten-day fight, according to the Ramayana. Ravana, the demon king, had kidnapped Devi Sita, Lord Ram’s adored wife. When Ravan refused to release Devi Sita despite several attempts, Lord Rama was forced to declare war on him. Ram and Laxman assaulted Lanka with a massive army led by Hanuman, Sugrib, and Jambaban, and a battle occurred between Ram and Ravana. Lord Ram killed Ravana on the tenth day of the fight. This is why Vijaya Dashami, also known as Dussehra, is regarded as a holiday commemorating the triumph of good over evil. This is why, in most regions of the country, the Ram Leela is performed and a Ravan effigy is burned during Dussehra.

Some of the reasons why we should no longer burn Ravana effigies on Dussehra

When you think of Ravana, you think of evil. A monstrous demon with horns, lording over his pitiful subjects and consumed with lust. That is what history has taught us, and that is what the bulk of the populace understands. The Ramayana only came about because one man couldn’t control his love and had to kidnap someone’s wife. But, after all, don’t epics generally show us only one side of the story? History has always been told from the perspective of the victor, with the loser being presented as the villain. However, life is not all black and white as we are encouraged to believe, despite what the filtered versions of our genuine epics passed down from generation to generation demonstrate. Every character is a unique individual.

There is a lot that we Indians don’t know about Ravana. The only facts we know about him are that he had ten heads, controlled Lanka, could fly an airplane-like device, abducted Sita, and was defeated in combat by Ram. However, there is a lot more to a person’s personality than we realize. Ravana was half-Brahmin and half-demon because he was born to a Brahmin and a Demon. He was a voracious reader and a well-educated man. Ravana was well-versed in all of the shastras and Vedas, as well as science and mathematics. Though the vimana was originally Kubera’s (whose kingdom Ravana took) and forcibly captured by Ravana, it is thought to be the first flying machine.

Ravana was not only a skilled ruler, but he was also a well-educated guy. Yes, he was ambitious and had committed fratricide to gain the throne, but the people of Lanka adored him. He was a compassionate emperor who genuinely cared about his followers. Under his leadership, Lanka flourished. There was no poverty under Ravana’s rule, according to legend. Lanka was a gold-plated island. Even the poorest of the population ate off gold plates. Ravana was also a Veena maestro who enjoyed playing music. He was also well-versed in astrology and could deduce the implications of various celestial configurations. It is thought that he commanded the planets to be aligned at the moment of his son’s birth.

He was a dedicated spouse and loving father except for his yearning for Sita. In addition, Ravana did not touch Sita. While she was married to Rama, he also made no move to kidnap her or contact her. Soorpanakha simply abducted Sita to wreak revenge after being insulted by Rama and Lakshamana. Even in Ashok Van, where Sita was imprisoned, he never sought to compel her or use his strength against her. He was always nice to her, constantly imploring.

Ravana’s final tragedy was caused by his vanity and ego. Rama, on the other hand, was not as pure as white. Ravana wasn’t flawless, but he wasn’t completely evil either. We realize we haven’t done Ravana justice in this little article, but there is a lot more to him than we are aware of. In many places of India and the world, there exist temples devoted to Ravana.

Many tribes revere Ravana as a result of these facts, and on Dusshera, they stay at home on Ravan dahan to mourn and purify themselves by bathing. On the dashmi of shraddha paksha, some people perform  “shraddha” for Ravana.