The Blazing of Ravana
The festival lasts ten days, and most communities celebrate it with
great ostentation. During
the festival, the Ramleela, or the story of Rama, is enacted by professional dance
companies and amateur troupes. On the last day of the festival, young men and small boys,
dressed as Rama, his brother Lakshman, Ravana, and other players in the drama, proceed
through the streets of the community as part of a float that is sometimes quite elaborate.
Rama and Ravana engage in battle; Ravana is defeated.
Then Rama fires an arrow into
the huge effigies of Meghnath and Kumbhakarna, stuffed -- as is the effigy of Ravana --
with crackers and explosives; finally an arrow is shot into Ravana's effigy, to the
encouraging shouts of "Ramchandra ki jai", "Victory to Rama", and a
large explosion ripples through the sky