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.
- How many years old is this tradition?
- In which scripture or book, is it prescribed to celebrate this event?
- Why such celebrations don't happen for others; e.g. Duryodhana?