Ram Navami is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals and celebrates the birth of Lord Ram, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. Ram Navami is a Spring festival and is observed on the ninth and last day of the nine-day long Navratri festivities. Ram Navami is celebrated in the months of March or April every year. This year, Ram Navami will be observed on Sunday, March 25, 2018.
The day is dedicated to Lord Ram and people listen to the various stories of the God or recite the Rama Katha. Some people usually visit the temples to pray to the Lord and seek his blessings while others perform pujas at home. People clean their homes and also install images or idols of Lord Ram, Sita, and Hanuman. Many people also organize bhajans and kirtans in praise of Lord Ram.
Massive celebrations are held in Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram. Their huge fairs are held which are witnessed by thousands of devotees. Other cities where elaborate festivities are held include Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu, Bhadrachalam in Telangana, and Sitamarhi in Bihar. The day is also known as Kalyanotsavam as devotees observe it as the day when Lord Ram and Sita got married. Many devotees also keep fasts on this day as fasts are said to confer liberation and can also counter one's sins.
- The human incarnation of Lord Vishnu is Lord Rama, who was the supreme power in Ayodhya. Celebrations for the festival of Ram Navami commences with a prayer to the Sun right in the morning. During midday, a special prayer is offered.
- The devotees sing special verses in praise of Lord Rama and get into the festive mood of Ram Navami. Then there are Rathyatras or chariot processions of Ram, his wife Seeta, and brother Lakshman along with the ardent devotee Hanuman that are organized by various temples.
- Many take a dip in the sacred water and while there are others who observe a fast. The center of celebrations is Ayodhya, where the majority of devotees throng to offer prayers.
- The Ram Navami festivities are marked with great enthusiasm. The Ram-rajya (during the rule of Rama) concept was synonymous with a prosperous and peaceful period – which people still cite as examples. Several processions come out with people being dressed up in ancient costumes.
- The procession itself is a blustery affair with the members shouting aloud praises of Lord Rama. As a matter of fact, Sri-Ram Navami festival is an event where the reign of a king is commemorated who was afterward sanctified.
- The present day traditions of Ram Navami festival does indicate that the ancient times were the most sought after era of peace and prosperity. The festival of Ram Navami happens at the start of summer when the sun has started moving closer to the northern hemisphere.
- The other indication of the sun was that it was considered to be the progenitor of Rama's dynasty, also known as the Sun dynasty. And the other names by which Rama was also known was Raghunatha, Raghupati, Raghavendra etc. he had been given all these names as somewhere they were related to Sun worship.
- Appreciably, the prehistoric Egyptians named the sun as Amon Ra or just as ‘Ra’. In Latin verbatim, the syllable Ra is used to imply light. For instance, the word Radiance means emission of light, or Radium, which denotes any material that emits light or brightness.
- The occurrence of this ‘Ra’ syllable in majority of the names as used in Rama is highly synonymous with brilliance and brightness. It all must have had its origin much before the Ramayana.
- Sun has always been of great importance in the higher latitudes from where the Aryans are believed to have traveled into India. There were loads of royal dynasties that represented symbols of virility like the Sun, Eagle, Lion etc. as their progenitor. Rama's dynasty considered them to have its origin from the Sun. This is why linking with this event, Rama's birthday was also said to be a festival devoted entirely to the sun.
- It is believed that Lord Rama accomplishes the wishes of all those devotees who pray to him on this auspicious day. On this festive day, temples get decorated and Lord Rama idol is richly decked up.
- There is a practice to read the holy Ramayana in the temples. A big fair is held at Ayodhya, at the birthplace of Sri Rama. It is in South India that the Sri Ramnavami Utsavam (festival) is celebrated for a continuous stretch of nine days.
- The traditional way of worshipping starts with singing Vedic mantras all dedicated to Vishnu, fruits and flowers are also offered to God. Satsangs and public gatherings are also planned for commemorating the birth of Lord Ram. Praises of Lord Rama are recited and devotees tend to follow all the traditional ways of worship.