'Navratri' means 'nine divine nights’ dedicated to three deities; Durga, LakshmiLakshmi
Lakshmi is a Hindu goddess who is regarded as the ultimate deity of wealth... and Saraswati.
The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Shakti when her incarnations such as ShailputriShailputri
Almighty Durga is glorified with name 'Shailputri' as her first form..., Brahmcharni, Chandrghanta worship during these days. The next three days are dedicated to Lakshmi when her incarnations such as KushmandaKushmanda
Kushmanda is a Hindu goddess and is regarded as one of the supreme forms of Devi..., Skandamata, and KatyayaniKatyayani
Katyayani is the sixth among the Navadurga – the nine supreme forms of Devi... are worshipped. The last three days are dedicated to SaraswatiSaraswati
The name Saraswati is a combination of two Sanskrit words... when her incarnations such as KaliKali
There are several traditions of how Kali came into existence..., Maha GauriGauri
Gauri is another form of Parvati who is known for her fair skin and radiance. She is a gentle goddess who is kindhearted and nurturing... and SiddhidatriSiddhidatri
Siddhidatri is the ninth form of Durga worshiped... are worshipped.
Navaratri comes five times in a year. They are as follows:
- Vasanta Navaratri: It comes in the spring season (March–April).
- Ashadha Navaratri: It comes in the month of (June–July) (Ashadha).
- Sharada Navaratri: it comes in the month of (September–October) (Sharad).
- Push Navaratri: It comes in the month of (December–January) (Paush).
- Magha Navaratri: It comes in the month of (January–February) (Magha).
Out of these, the Sharada Navaratri and the Vasanta Navaratri are celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm. Another three are secret where prayers are offered to the divine goddess secretly by Yogis and Tantrics fulfill their desires.
Navratri is famous almost throughout India. Though in each state, people worship Goddess Durga in various forms under different names by different people. However, one basic aim of this celebration is to propitiate the Goddess in her aspect as Power and to bestow upon her devotees with wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and all other potent powers.
It holds particular significance in the states such as J&K, Gujrat and Bengal. In J&K people, on the first day of the Navaratri, grains of barley known as ‘Khetri’ are planted in the earthen pot in the prayer room of the house. Many people keep fast during these auspicious days. Devotees read the sacred book depicting the glory of Goddess Durga known as “Durga Saptashati”. People eat only restricted foods like, ‘makhana’, ‘kattu ka atta’ ‘swang rice’ and ‘sabutdaana’. They abstain themselves from eating non-vegetarian food, smoking and drinking.
In East India, the last four days of Sharad Navratri take on a particularly dramatic form in the state of West Bengal. In East India where they are celebrated as Durga Puja. It is a prayer ritual performed to make offerings, honoring, evoking or worshipping gods. The ceremony can also be performed to pay homage to the beloved ones who are dead This is the biggest festival of the year in this state. Exquisitely crafted and decorated life-size clay idols of the Goddess Durga depicting her slaying the demon Mahisasura are set up in temples and other places. These idols are then worshipped for five days starting from shashti (sixth day) and ending on the tenth day (dashami) when the idols are immersed in the river on the fifth day.
In Western India, Navratri festival is celebrated in a most unique and unusual way, particularly in the state of Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with the famous Garba It is a traditional folk dance of Gujarat which is performed around a lit lamp or a statue of Shakti. It is performed in circular motion which symbolizes the cycle of life, death and rebirthdance or Dandiya It is a traditional dance form of Gujarat which is performed while using two wooden sticks. It requires an even number of dancers to be able to make pairs of two, i.e., a man and a woman. The dancers may depict of the love life of Krishna and Radha or the fight between Durga and Mahishasur. This dance form is also known as ‘The Sword Dance’Raas. This is the traditional and folk dance of the state of Gujarat, but today, people throughout the country perform this dance with great fervor and enthusiasm. It is also popular among Indian communities around the world including UK and USA. During the dance, a decorated pot is ceremoniously placed with a light inside.(These painted earthen pots with water or a flame inside symbolize the power of the Goddess. The flame symbolizes the everlasting divine power while the fluid water is transitory.)and the women folk dance in a circle, singing 'traditional songs' or 'garbas'. Then there is a pooja on each day of this holy period where Goddess Durga, known in this state as Ambe Maa is worshiped for prosperity and happiness.
The Dandiya Raas is played with dandiyas or wooden sticks. Apart from Gujarat, Dandiya Raas and Garba is a common feature in all over India, especially in cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodra and Surat. The women wear their vibrant, mirror-work ghaghras and cholis in different styles and the men in their traditional attire; play garba to traditional and rhythmic songs.
In South India, Sarasvati pooja is performed on the 7th day. Eight day is traditionally Durgashtami. The 9th day is Ayudha Pooja when everyone gives their tools of the trade - pens, machinery, books, automobiles, school work, etc. a rest and ritually worships them. They start a fresh from the next day, the 10th day which is considered as 'Vijaya Dashami'. Many teachers/Schools in south India start teaching Kindergarten children from that day onwards. Students also pay homage to their respective teachers as they are considered the third god (Maathaa, Pitha, Guru, Daivam - Mother, Father, Teacher & God). On this tenth day of Navratri in October - the holiday of Dussehra or Dasara, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (RamaRama
As of late, in the year 2007, the idea of whether Rama...) over evil. In southern India, celebrations constitute a display of images of God and toys at home for nine days amidst much pomp and gaiety with prayers and merchants conducted for Goddess Durga.
This festival is famous almost throughout India for its religious and social importance. It is devoted to the worship of the Divine Mother in various forms under different names by different people. But the one basic aim of this celebration is to propitiate the Goddess in Her aspect as Power, to bestow upon man all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and all other potent powers.
This nine-day festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and exhorts humanity to wake up from the slumber of ignorance, remove all negativities, purify the mind and cultivate positive virtues. This alone can help one gain the necessary spiritual knowledge to transcend all earthly limitations and achieve salvation - the highest goal of human life.
These nine days are considered highly auspicious, and thus people may buy a new house, car and start a new business during this period. Children who are born in this duration are considered lucky and intelligent. Also, couples who are married in Navratri are blessed with fruitful union and marital bliss.
With the time, the festival is commercialized, and the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather than merely a religious one. However, nothing dampens the spirit of the devout followers of Goddess Durga, as they sing devotional songs and indulge in the celebrations of Navratri, year by year.
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