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During childhood, I used to get excited (not happy though) seeing Raavana's effigy being burnt. People around used to dance and cheer. But for many years, not only I find it idiotic but also non-human.

Yes, Raavana did some bad Karma for which he (was privileged to) got killed by Lord Rama. Considering today's crimes, what he did is relatively less. Some may argue that in those times, it was unpardonable. But it can be counter-argued that, the effigies are being burnt in today's time.

We may assume that, actual "Raavana Dahan" is a symbol of burning out 10 bad qualities within ourselves. In such case neither there is a need of personifying Raavan alone nor such "insights" are conveyed to the people (dancing & cheering) around.

  1. How many years old is this tradition?
  2. In which scripture or book, is it prescribed to celebrate this event?
  3. Why such celebrations don't happen for others; e.g. Duryodhana?
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    People aren't merely celebrating Ravana's death (although the defeat of a major threat to the three worlds is worthy of celebration). They're also celebrating the greatness of Rama's accomplishment in defeating such a powerful demon. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 11 '15 at 5:36
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    I assume the reason it doesn't happen for Duryodhana is that he was human and he wasn't killed by an incarnation of Vishnu. The more salient question is why it doesn't happen for Hiranyakashipu, Mahabali, Narakasura, etc. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 11 '15 at 5:46
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    @Keshav - Mahabali was not killed and infact made sovereign king of lower worlds and was given a boon that Bali will be next Indra. So, you cannnot categorise Mahabali with Hiranyakasipu and Narakasura. BTW, Deepavali is celebrated due to destruction of Narakasura and victory of Lord Krishna. – user808 Aug 11 '15 at 7:57
  • @Krishna Yeah, you're right that Mahabali is alive and he'll be the next Indra. By the way, where did you get the idea that he became the ruler of the Patala Lokas. He certainly lives there, with a palace guarded by Vamana, but what scriptures mention him ruling? In any case, it's true that they celebrate the defeat of Narakasura, but iammind's question still stands as to why they don't burn him in effigy. – Keshav Srinivasan Aug 11 '15 at 14:35
  • @Keshav - i am not questioning iammind on effigy one. I remember reading in some principle 18 puranas, where it is mentioned bali was made the ruler one of lower regions. Dont remember exactly what those puranas are? – user808 Aug 11 '15 at 16:12

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