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You are here : home > Indian Culture > Indian Festivals and occassions > Significance of Navratri

Significance of Navratri




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.


Why 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.


Celebration 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. 


1st to 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 maturity. 

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. 


4th to 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. 


9th day of Navratri

 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 girl’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 here.

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Swati Piramal.5 years ago
Navratri is a fun festival and its a great time for having fun with friends. We hang out at different places and have4 real fun. I always go to Goregaon sports club where a big event is organized for dandiya
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Shomita.5 years ago
I am a Bengali so we have durg puja instead of dandiya. Worshipping maa Durga gives a new high. We visit many pandals and get Maa's blessings. We also get new dresses for 4 days, starting from 6 the day
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zinnia.5 years ago
I like this festival very much as i get to wear new dresses. We have dandiya orgainzed in our own compound. it is so much fun to be with all the friends.
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
How do you celebrate Navratri in your home? Do you know of any other rituals associated with these celebrations?
Tina
I especially enjoy the Navratri celebrations. I have always been a big fan of dandiya. When I was young, I used to go for all the functions in my neighbourhood. Now I am older and I do not get to cele...
Ashu
Navratri is not just about dancing the garba and dandiya ras. It is a solemn religious occasion as well. Thank you for highlighting this side of Navratri....
Vidya
I like Navratri very much because I buy new clothes and then my husband and I celebrate by going to a dandiya function. I follow all the poojas as well....
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