On the day of Ram Navami, members of the Hindu community celebrate the birthday of Lord Rama. Lord Rama is given special significance in Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism, as he is considered to be the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama was born to King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya in Ayodhya.
The festival of Ram Navami falls on the ninth day in the Hindu calendar month of Chaitra which according to the Gregorian calendar, falls between the months of March and April every year. Ram Navami 2019 will fall on the same day as Ashtami, i.e. on 13th April and will start on the night of 13th. The Shubh Muhurat timings for prayer will be for 2.5 hours from 11:06am to 1:38pm on 14th.
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The festival of Navratri is celebrated twice every year, once in the spring time and then again in the autumn months. Ram Navami is the ninth and last day of Chaitra Navaratri.
On Rama Navami, in most families, celebrations begin by offering a prayer to the Sun God early in the morning. This is done as it is believed that Lord Rama’s dynasty descended from the Sun dynasty (Raghu Kula or Raghuvamsa). Raghu means the Sun and so, Lord Rama is also known as Raghunath or Raghupati. The names begin with the prefix ‘Ra’, which suggests the link with the Sun Lord. In the Sanskrit language, the syllable Ra is used to describe the Sun and its radiance.
The hour chosen for the observance of the Lord Rama’s birth is when the Sun is at its maximum peak.
As part of the festivities, devotees and worshippers recite Rama Katha and read Lord Rama’s epic stories. Indian traditions mark the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata as Itihasa, meaning having historical significance. Worshippers visit Rama temples or decorate the small temples in their homes. Some even mark the event by giving a bath to small statues of infant Lord Rama, dressing Him in new finery, and then placing the baby Rama in a cradle. People also decorate the statues of Goddess Sita, Lord Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman. Flowers and incense are offered to the deities.
Thalis containing Prasad and other items necessary for puja like roli, aipun, rice, water, flowers, a bell and a conch are kept in the temples. To begin the puja, the youngest female member of the family applies tilak to all the male members of the family. Devotees, then perform bhajans and kirtans.
Many Hindus even keep a vrat (fast) on the day of Ram Navami. Not only is it done as part of the prayers and celebrations, but keeping a fast also symbolizes purifying the body and mind.
In many communities, people (often children) perform the religious and cultural event of Ramlila, which depicts the history of the festival. Dramatic performances are prepared to portray the life history of Lord Rama.
In states like Rajasthan, Haryana, and cities including Haridwar (in Uttarakhand), Ajodhya (in Uttar Pradesh), and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Bhadrachalam (Telangana) and Sitamarhi (Bihar), the festival of Ram Navami is celebrated with a lot of grandeur and splendor.
The festival of Ram Navami or the Vasanta Navaratri brings in an opportune period for us to saturate ourselves with the spirit of Lord Rama. In our worship, we pray that we be able to become virtuous, and good.