Navratri is considered as one of the most auspicious festivals of the Hindu community. The celebration of Navratri involves the worship of Goddess Durga and praying for the health, happiness, and prosperity of the family. The festival is celebrated all over India and in some parts of the world as well. It is a nine-day festival and this year it will be celebrated from 29 September to 7 October, 2019. Navratri usually falls for two times in a year during March- April, and September- October. Devotees observe fasting during Navratri and avoid eating food grains such as rice, wheat, pulses for the nine consecutive days of Navratri. On the last day, devotees break their fast and perform the puja. Apart from Goddess Durga, Goddesses including Saraswati and Lakshmi and Gods including Ganesha, Shiva, Krishna, and Kartikeya are honored and worshipped during the festival.
A different avatar of Goddess Durga is worshipped on each of the nine days of the festival. In the eastern and northeastern parts of India, Navratri is associated with the celebration of Durga Puja when Goddess Durga gains victory over the demon Mahishasura. While in the northern and western parts of India, the festival is associated with Dussehra that celebrates the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravana. In both of these believes, the common theme that runs behind the celebration of Navratri is the restoration of Good over Evil.
Navratri is also a festival of new beginnings so if you are planning up for something like buying a new property or home, shifting to a new place or home, etc, make sure you consider the auspicious time of Navratri to do the same.
The History behind the festival
The tale that is associated with the Navratri festival is about a great battle that was fought between Goddess Durga and the strong demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura was immortalized by the blessings of Lord Brahma under an exception that he could be defeated by only a woman. After gaining Lord Brahma’s blessings and the power of being immortal, Mahishasura was overpowered with confidence. He dared to attack the Earth, Heaven, and Hell. As he was armed with immortality so even Gods couldn’t stand against him and defeat him. This destruction worried the Gods and they prayed to Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, and Lord Vishnu to show them the way to defeat Mahishasura and stop him from causing more destruction and chaos.
Lord Vishnu decided to create a woman Shakti (Goddess Durga) since only a woman could defeat Mahishasura as per the boon. Then Lord Shiva and Brahma put all their divine powers in the woman created by Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Goddess Durga is the reincarnation of Goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva. Goddess Durga defeated and killed the powerful buffalo demon Mahishasura after a furious battle that ran for nine nights. The tenth day of the festival is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijay dashmi.
Decoration for Navratri
Decorative materials such as flower garlands, earthy colors, reed infusers, scented candles, wreaths, etc are used to decorate homes and or the pooja rooms for the celebration of Navratri. You can also make rangolis outside your home to give a serene feeling to yourself and your visitors. Colorful lights, candles, and diyas can be used to light up the pooja room.
During Navratri, people either bring the idol of Goddess Durga or bring a decorated earthen pot. The pot is known as Garba and is worshipped for the 9 consecutive days of the festival. The Garba is decorated with flowers, laces, and mirrors. It is important to worship the Goddess with all the members of your family as the festival is a symbol of unity, peace, and love.
Food and Dance
During Navratri, many people observe fasting. Foods such as kuttu, rajgira, singhara, and sabudana are the most common ones that are consumed during the fast. The festival is also popular due to its association with the Garba dance. In fact, it is said that the celebration of Navratri is incomplete without the Garba dance. People dance on the tunes of dhol wearing colorful and bright traditional clothes. Music and dance make this festival even more exciting, enjoyable, and amazing to celebrate.