Navratri, meaning nine (Nava) and nights (ratri), is a nine-night and ten-day long festival dedicated to Goddess Durga, the consort of Lord Shiva. The Mother Goddess symbolizes feminine power and is also hailed as Shakti (power). Though Navratri is celebrated four times a year (during seasonal transitions), the one observed in the Hindu month of Ashwin is the most popular.
India is quite often referred to as the land of festivals.
The nine days of the Navratri festival are celebrated with great excitement and devotion. They are nine glorious days to cherish the mother goddess Durga.
This beautiful festival is celebrated differently in various parts of India. It is a time when all members of the family, as well as friends and relatives, come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The word ‘Navaratri’ is formed by combining two words, ‘nav’ meaning ‘nine’ and ‘Ratri’ translating to ‘nights’, thus meaning ‘nine nights’. This festival is alternatively called ‘Sharad Navratri’ and ‘Durga Puja’ as well. Let us find out what makes this festival so important.
The nine days of Navratri are more than just about immense devotion and delicious food. Instead, it is a celebration of good being triumphant over evil. It is also a remembrance of the power of women. Each day of Navaratri celebrates a different form of Mother Divine.
The nine days of Navratri are considered divine for the Hindu community. Each day holds a special meaning, with each form of the goddess Durga being worshipped. Let us read the story behind the reason Navratri is celebrated.
Lord Brahma, also called ‘The Creator’ in Hinduism, gave immortality to the demon Mahishasura, but with a catch; he was told that he was only immortal until a woman defeated him. With this in mind, Mahishasura attacked the Trilok (three worlds): Earth, Heaven, and Hell. All the gods got together and fought him but had no luck.
Finally, the three gods, Lord Brahma (the creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver), and Lord Shiva (the destroyer), created the mighty goddess Durga. The goddess Durga fought the demon Mahishasura for 15 long days, through which the devil kept transforming himself into other forms. When he became a buffalo goddess, Durga ended his life with her Trishul (trident).
The auspicious festival of Navratri seems to be very exciting. The remembrance of Mother Divine needs to be carried out according to the form celebrated each day. Let us learn about the significance of Navratri.
Each of the nine days of Navratri is celebrated to worship the different divine forms of the goddess Durga. On the first day, the glory of goddess Shailputri is celebrated. On the second day of Navratri, the worship of the goddess Brahmacharini takes place. The third day is observed to worship the divine goddess Chandraghanta. Following this day is the day when goddess Kushmanda is remembered. The fifth day is the celebration of the goddess Skandamata. The glory of the goddess Katyayani is celebrated on the sixth day. The seventh day is the celebration of goddess Kaalratri. The eighth day is for the worship of the goddess Mahagauri. On the ninth last day, the goddess Siddhidatri is remembered and celebrated.
With a festival as necessary as Navratri, it becomes important to know when to celebrate it. You can join the grand festivities and probably enjoy performing Garba as well! So, when exactly does Navratri occur?
It is not one but four seasonal Navaratri that are celebrated every year. Two of these, namely the Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navaratri, are considerably more important. The other two Navaratris are called Ashadha Navratri and Paush Navratri.
Chaitra Navratri comes during March or April. It is also called Vasanta Navratri. This festival marks the beginning of the Hindu Year. It is celebrated during the Chaitra masa (a month in the Hindu calendar). The first day is called ‘Gudi Padwa’ in the state of Maharastra, while it is called ‘Navreh’ in Kashmir.
Sharada Navaratri is also called Maha Navaratri. This festival is celebrated during the Hindu month of Ashwin masa, which occurs between September and October. Each form of Mother Divine is celebrated with pomp during this festival.
In a country as large as India, the festival is observed differently. The commemoration of the victory of good over evil is cherished with great pomp and pride. Let us learn how to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
For a larger population, it is a time of celebration of moral and religious reflection. Many people fast during Navaratri, following a vegetarian diet and avoiding certain spices and alcohol. Special dances, such as Garba, are performed in states like Gujarat.
Special abhishekas (pouring libations), homes (fire ritual), and pujas are performed during Navaratri.
Each of the nine nights is celebrated to honor the various aspects of shakti. Usually, the first three days of Navaratri cherish and celebrate aspects of the goddess Durga; the next three days celebrate aspects of the goddess Lakshmi, while the last three days celebrate the elements of the goddess Saraswati.
One of the most popular rituals is the Kanya puja, which falls during the third part of Navaratri. Nine young girls are made to dress in the forms of the nine divine goddesses. Their feet are washed, and they are given offerings, like clothes or food.
In the states of Assam and Bengal, Navaratri is known as Durga Puja. Images and statues of Goddess Durga winning over the demon Mahishasura are worshipped throughout the nine nights, and on the tenth day of Dussehra, large processions occur where people visit the holy reservoirs or rivers for the immersion of the idols within the water.
In West and North India, the Ram Leela (the story of the epic, Ramayana) is held. The Ram Leela ends on the tenth day, Dussehra, celebrated by shooting arrows or setting the effigies of Ravana on fire to declare the victory of Lord Rama over the evil Ravana.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our article on why we celebrate Navratri, why not look at our articles on why we celebrate Shivratri or why leaves fall?
|Navratri 2022 Dates
|Navratri Day 1
|Monday, 26 September
|Ghatasthapana, Shailputri Puja
|Navratri Day 2
|Tuesday, 27 September
|Navratri Day 3
|Wednesday, 28 September
|Navratri Day 4
|Thursday, 29 September
|Navratri Day 5
|Friday, 30 September
|Navratri Day 6
|Saturday, 1 October
|Navratri Day 7
|Sunday, 2 October
|Maha Saptami, Kalaratri Puja
|Navratri Day 8
|Monday, 3 October
|Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja
|Navratri Day 9
|Tuesday, 4 October
|Navratri Parana, Siddhidatri Puja
|Wednesday, 5 October
|Vijaya Dashami, Dussehra
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