Navratri is celebrated as a nine day period of worship in most states of
North India, dedicated to the nine forms of the Hindu deity Durga. The tenth
day is the festival of Dussehra. Read on to know about the significance of
Navratri and how it is celebrated.
Navratri is a combination of two
words. 'Nav' means nine while 'ratri' means night. Therefore, this celebration
is literally translated as 'nine nights'. The celebrations begin on the first
day of the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. They culminate in
the festival of Dussehra, on the tenth day of the month. As per the
Gregorian calendar, Navratri always falls in the month of October.
The exact date differs from year to year though.
is Navratri Celebrated?
The festival of Dussehra is celebrated
to worship the goddess Durga. She is the embodiment of Devi, or
the supreme goddess. The form of the goddess Durga is said
to symbolise creative energy and the feminine body. This form
of the goddess has nine aspects. Navratri therefore is dedicated to
the worship of these aspects. Each form or aspect of the
goddess has its own day dedicated to it.
The Navratri celebrations are devoted to
the worship of the Eternal mother, which has its origins in the
Vedas. Durga is also considered to be a combination of the Trinity of
goddesses. They are Saraswati, Parvati, and Lakshmi. During Navratri, these
three main goddesses are worshipped as well. The central theme of Navratri
though is the triumph of good over evil.
of Nine Days of Navratri
Navratri lasts for nine whole
days. However, each day has a special significance and is celebrated separately.
Along with the nine forms of Durga, obeisance is paid to the Trinity
of goddesses as well.
3rd day of Navratri
The first three days are
dedicated solely to the worship of the goddess Durga.
During this period, her energy and power are worshipped. Each day is dedicated
to a different manifestation of Durga. On the first day, Kumari is
worshipped, which signifies the girl child. The second day is
dedicated to Parvati, who is the embodiment of a young woman. On the third day,
Kali is worshipped. This form represents the woman who has reached
On the first day of
Navratri, barley seeds are planted in a small bed of mud. This mud
bed is kept in the pooja room. By the tenth day, each seed has sprouted into a
shoot which is between three and five inches long. After the pooja performed on
the tenth day, the shoots are plucked and given to the attendees. They are said
to be a blessing from God.
6th day of Navratri
These three days are devoted to
the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and
peace. Although these days are dedicated to Lakshmi, the
goddess Saraswati is invoked on the fifth day. This day is referred to as
Lalita Panchami. On this day, all the books and other literature are gathered
in one place. Then, a 'diya' or lamp is lit in front of them to call
upon the goddess Saraswati.
7th to 8th day of Navratri
The seventh day is dedicated to
worshipping Saraswati, the goddess of art and knowledge. Prayers are
offered to her, seeking spiritual knowledge. The knowledge of the spiritual
world is said to free us from our earthly bonds. This, in turn, will bring us
closer to God.
On the eight day, a 'yagna' is
performed. This comprises of a sacrifice, which is offered to the sacred fire.
The sacrifice honours the goddess Durga as well as bids her farewell.
The sacrifice or offering is made out of clarified butter (ghee), rice
pudding (kheer), and sesame seeds.
The ninth day is the culmination of the entire
Navratri celebrations. This day is referred to as 'Mahanavami'. On this
day, a Kanya pooja is performed. Nine young girls, who have not yet attained puberty,
are worshipped during this pooja. Each one of them symbolises
one of the nine forms of goddess Durga. Each girlâ€™s feet are washed as a mark
of respect for the goddess. At the end of the pooja, each girl is given a
set of new clothes as a gift from the devotees.
What is the
significance of Navratri? How do you and your family celebrate Navratri? Do you
take your kids to play Dandiya or Garba during Navratri? Discuss