The Indian festival of Navratri has been derived from two words—"Nav" + "Ratri", which means "nine nights" in English. This festival is prevalent throughout India, but it is more prominent in the state of Gujarat and Bengal. Hindus celebrate this festival to express their devotion to the goddess of power, Durga. The worship of the goddess Durga continues for nine days. Each day, a different form of the goddess is worshiped. Following the nine days of rituals and worship, the 10th day is celebrated as Dussehra, which is also known as Vijay- Dashmi. It is celebrated to mark the victory of mythical King Lord Rama over the King of Sri Lanka, Ravana.
Navratri or the festival of nine nights is celebrated with full fervor and enthusiasm in the Indian subcontinent. The festival is celebrated with devotion for a period of 10 days in India. Though the festival is of nine nights the festivity gets stretched top the tenth day. It is on the tenth day on which the idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in the holy water after worshipping. Different forms of the goddess are worshipped for nine days to enhance the physical, spiritual and mental well-being. As per the Hindu calendar Navaratri occurs during the month of Ashvin in the early autumn.
There are several stories related to Navratri but there are two stories which are the most prevalent ones.
Mahishasura, a demon worshipped Lord Shiva with full devotion. The lord got so impressed by his great dedication that he gave him a boon to not get killed either by man or by God. After getting a boon of eternity Mahishasura became proud and arrogant. He unleashed a reign of terror everywhere and created problems for everybody. He didn't stop there and further initiated an attack on heaven which now scared the Gods too. Several Gods assembled and tried to fetch a remedy to get rid of nuisance of Mahishasura. Finally, a solution was obtained by creating a new Goddess by amalgamating the powers of all the male Gods. Mahishasura kept hiding and disguising himself for nearly 8 days but it was on 9th day that Maa Durga was able to find him and slew his head.
Maa Durga represented the good and Mahishasura represented the evil. So, the killing of the demon Mahishasura is celebrated as the victory of Good over evil.
The other story associated with the festival is of Lord Rama and Ravana. Lord Rama was a worshipper of Devi Bhagwati, the supreme power. He worshipped her for nine consecutive nights to emerge victorious over Ravana in the Dharm Yuddh. On the ninth day, Lord Rama proved his devotion to the devi and it was on the tenth day he emerged victorious after killing Dashanan (Ravana). Since then different incarnations of Devi Bhagwati are worshipped and it is on the tenth day Vijaya Dashmi is celebrated.
From north to south, west to east Navratri is celebrated all over India by different names.
In Eastern India and West Bengal, Navratri dominates the religious life of the people. In fact, Navratri is the most important festival for Bengali Hindus. All the streets and corners are decorated and pandals are being made for celebrating Durga Puja. The different incarnations of Goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days and on the tenth day a great procession is held wherein the statue is immersed in the holy river. At some places, people play with vermillion and distribute sweets and gifts.
In Gujarat, devotees observe fasts and worship different forms of Maa Durga for nine days. There are celebrations on a large scale starting from the last 5 days of Navratri. Garba is performed during Navratri with dandiya sticks and there is fun and frolic all around.
In Bihar, festive celebrations and performance arts are held at local temples. A great Navratri fair is arranged in Sitamarhi in Bihar. There are large displays of handicrafts, pottery, kitchen and houseware which attracts a large bunch of tourists.
In Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Navratri celebrations are marked by Ramlila performances. Stage shows are held which are great, grand and spectacular. The Ramlila shows draw to close on Dashmi, i,e on the tenth day. It is on this day when the effigies of Ravana are burnt.
In other states of India including Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Navratri is celebrated with full fervor and enthusiasm. Durga Pujas are arranged and people celebrate by performing various dance forms, making delicious cuisines, decorating their localities, and taking out processions of idols of gods and goddesses. Celebrations are held all over the country.
Among the several festivals in India, Navratri has great importance. The festival signifies the victory of good over the evil and is celebrated with full enthusiasm. The nine days of Navratri are one of the most religious days as people forbid all unlawful practices and perform religious ceremonies. The festival of Navratri symbolizes the journey of humanness to divinity. The aim of celebrating this festival is to remind people of the real goals of human life and also make them understand the value of doing good and condemning evil.
|Navratri Day||Day||Form of Goddess||Pujan||Colour|
|Navratri Day 1||Pratipada||Shailaputri Maa||Shailputri Pujan||Red|
|Navratri Day 2||Dwitiya||Bharmacharini||Brahmacharini Pujan||Royal Blue|
|Navratri Day 3||Tritiya||Chandraghanta||Chandraghanta Pujan||Yellow|
|Navratri Day 4||Chaturthi||Kushmanda||Bhouma Chaturthi||Green|
|Navratri Day 5||Panchami||Skandamata||Skandamata Pujan||Gray|
|Navratri Day 6||Shashthi||Katyayani||Saraswati Awahan, Katyayani Pujan||Orange|
|Navratri Day 7||Saptami||Kaalratri||Saraswati Puja, Kalaratri Pujan,
|Navratri Day 8||Ashtami||Maha Gauri||Saraswati Mata Pujan, Mahagauri Pujan, Sandhi Puja||Pink|
|Navratri Day 9||Navami||Siddhidatri||Ayudha Puja,
|4 Different Navratris|
Last Updated: 1st October, 2018