‘Nav’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Thus, ‘Navratri’ means ‘nine nights’. “Navratri” is one of the most important festivals of Hindus, celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm & excitement all across the country. Mythological & traditionally associated with Goddess “Maa Durga” & worshipping her nine incarnations. The festival holds significance in north India, West Bengal, as well as the central, South India and western regions of the country.
Navratri comes 4 times in a year
A) Magh Navratri
B) Vasant Navratri
C) Ashad Navratri
D) Maha Navratri out of these four only two navratri’s are celebrated commonly in devotee’s “Vasant” & “Maha Navratri”.
Navratri in India witnesses myriad forms of devotion across the country while retaining the common underlying theme of good over evil. In Jammu, the “Vaishno Devi” sees a huge rise in the number of devotees making their way to during Navratri. In Himachal Pradesh, the “Navratri Mela” marks the auspicious occasion of Navratri. In West Bengal, men and women celebrate “Durga Puja’” with great devotion and reverence and worship Goddess Durga destroying the demon ‘Mahishasura’. “Dussehra” which coincides with the tenth day of Navratri sees nation-wide celebration.
Navratri celebrated for two major myths :-
1) Battle of good over Devil ( Northern belief ) &
2) Lord Shiva’s dance of destruction –Tandav (Eastern belief).
Mythology also states All the 9 days of Navratri with its own importance & different form to worship Goddess Durga. The 1st three days of Navratri are devoted to the worship of the Goddess Durga. This is the period, when her energy and power are worshipped. Each day is dedicated to a different appearance of Durga.
i) Kumari, the girl child, is worshipped on the first day of the festival.
ii) Parvati, a young woman, The destructive aspects of Goddess Durga symbolize the commitment to acquire triumph over all the evil tendencies is worshipped on the second day.
iii) Goddess Kali is worshipped, who represents the woman who has reached the stage of maturity.
The 4th, 5th & 6thh day of Navratri are dedicated to the worship of “Lakshmi” the goddess of prosperity and peace. The 7th & 8th day is dedicated to worshipping “Saraswati” the goddess of art and knowledge. Prayers are offered with an aim to seek spiritual knowledge. The 9th day is the final day of Navratri celebrations. It is also known as “Mahanavami”
Another interesting fact about Navratri is some strictly believe in holding fast for all 9 days, most people fast only on the first and the last days, & a few just abstain from consuming alcohol, onion, garlic or non-vegetarian items. Interestingly, the festival chalks out a strict list of food items that one can consume while fasting.
Dandiya & Garba Rass are the popular highlights of the festival, all 9 days people from all the religion get involved in the activity. Largely celebrated in Gujrat & popular in some part of Maharashtra. Where in Bengal “Durga Puja” celebrated like “Diwali”.
Authored by: Prafful Sarda
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