Ram Navami Festival marks the birthday of Lord Rama, the one who is the protagonist of the famous epic, 'Ramayana'. This day falls on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra – similar in all parts of India.
Occurring on the ninth day (navami) of the month Chaitra, the Ram Navami date falls differently every year. According to the Gregorian calendar, the month of Chaitra matches up with the month of March-April. Celebrated as the birthday of Lord Rama, Ram Navami is extensively celebrated all across India, wherever there is a Hindu populace. Lord Rama had been known for his prosperous and righteous deeds and during his era, there was absolute peace and serenity. In 2017, the Ram Navami date is Wednesday, April 5.
- 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.