Vijay Dashami literally means the celebration of righteousness over evil which is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu lunar month
of Ashwin. It marks the end of the Maha Navaratri or
the nine days of Durga Puja. The day is basically the celebration of the victory of the Mother Goddess over evil demons named Shumbh
and Nishumbh. So it is a celebration of righteousness over evil and according to legends the day is marked by several other such victories
of good and other factors.
Hindus celebrate this festival worldwide by observing social gatherings and offering sweets and gifts to relatives, friends and neighbours. The festivity also marks the beginning of the harvest season and prayers are said and rituals are observed to invoke blessings from Mother Earth for a good harvest, peace and prosperity to all.
The Origin of the Festival
The Culmination of Navaratri - According to this story, Shakti or Parvati the wife of Shiva defeats and kills the demon called Mahishasura after a nine-day long battle. According to the Skanda Purana, this is the victory of the Mother Goddess who acquires power and energy to defeat and vanquish all evil from the face of the earth and protect her progenies from every misery.
The Victory of Lord Ram - Vajayadashami also celebrates the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana as cited in the epic Ramayana. This is when Lord Ram rescues his wife Sita who was abducted by Ravana and imprisoned in Lanka. Effigies of Ravana are burnt to mark the victory of good over evil. This marks the celebration of Dussehra all over India.
End of Exile of the Pandavas - According to Mahabharata, Vijaya Dashami also marks the end of “Agyatvas” or exile in disguise for the Pandavas. They were to spend twelve years in exile and the thirteenth year in disguise after the elder Pandave, the defeat of Yudhisthir in the game of dice with his Kaurava cousin, Duryodhana. On this day, the Pandavas completed their thirteen years of exile and came about to claim their rightful kingdoms.