Navratri – Significance of the Navratri’s Nine Nights
Navratri, or Navaratri, is a Hindu festival to worship the nine forms of Goddess Durga (Shakti/Devi). It is usually celebrated in the month of September or October; the dates, however, are determined based on the lunar calendar. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit (nava means nine and ratri means night).
Significance of the Navratri's Nine Nights
The Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. The nine days of the Navratras are devoted to Maa Durga, Maa Lakshmi and Maa Saraswati, with each goddess being worshipped for three days, respectively.
- 1st to 3rd Day: The initial days of the Navratras are dedicated to Maa Durga, the Goddess of Valor. During the first three days, Maa Durga is dressed in red and mounted on a lion, and her various incarnations are worshipped. On the very first day of Navratri, barley seeds are sown on a bed of mud prepared in the puja room.
- 4th to 6th Day: The next three days are devoted to Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. She is dressed in white and mounted on an owl, and is worshipped for peace and prosperity.
- 7th and 8th Day: The final days are dedicated to Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. She is being worshipped to acquire spiritual knowledge. Yagna, or holy fire, is performed on the 8th day of the Navratras.
- Mahanavami: The 9th and final day of the Navratras is called the Mahanavami, the day when the festival of Navratri culminates. On this final day, nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped and it is known as Kanya Puja.
The festival of Navratri is one of the most celebrated festivals among the Hindus. Dancing, feasting and fasting become the daily routine for the Hindus during the nine days of the Navratras. Although it is celebrated all across India, the festival of Navratri is most popular in Gujarat and Bengal. While Dandiya and Garba Raas are the highlights of the Navratras in Gujarat, people in Bengal pamper themselves with new, bright clothes and indulge in feasting sweets during this festive season.
As the Navratras are just around the corner, it is that time of the year again when one needs to get into the festive mood and start chanting “Bolo Durga Maiyya ki Jai!!!
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