Navratri/Navaratri is a nine night festival that honors the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations, including Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The word nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights – The festival of Nine Nights.
Navaratri is an important major festival and is celebrated all over India and Nepal. It is celebrated in the month of Ashwin. The word Navaratri is very common in all Indian languages, but the original Sanskrit word is Navaratram which is compound word. The compound type is Dvigu & it gives the meaning as ‘the group of nine nights’. During these ten days Shakti is worshipped in various forms in all over India. Mainly the festival is dedicated to the Goddess Durga and her various manifestations.
During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra” (also spelled Dasara).
Though there are total five types of Navaratri that come in a year, but Sharad Navaratri is the most popular one. Hence, the term Navaratri is being used for Sharad Navaratri here.
5 Types of Navaratris
Navaratri festival is celebrated for fives time in a year according to Hindu calendar.
1. Vasanta Navaratri: Vasanta Navaratri is dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the spring season (March–April). Hence it is known as Vasanta Navaratri. Alternatively it is known as Basanta Navaratri. It comes in the month of Chaitra, the first month of Hindu calendar, hence this Navaratri is also known as Chaitra Navaratri. It is also known as Chandika Navaratri due to the importance of her worship during this period. The ninth day of the festival is celebrated as Ramanavami, the birth day of Rama. Hence the festival is known as Rama Navratri.
2. Gupta Navaratri: Gupta Navaratri is also dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Ashadha whci falls in the month of June or July according to Gregorian calendar. Hence this Navaratri is known as Ashadha Navaratri. This festival is also famous by the titles such as Gayatri or Shakambhari Navaratri. Gayatri and Shakambari, Goddess of vegetable are the majors female divinities worshipped during the festival.
3. Sharad Navaratri: This is the most important among the all Navaratris. Hence it is simply called as Maha Navaratri (the Great Navratri). It is celebrated in the month of Ashvina. Sharad Navaratri, is celebrated during Sharada season (beginning of winter, September–October) which gives suitable reason for its title.
4. Pausha Navaratri: Pausha Navaratri is celebrated in the month of Paush (December–January according to Gregorian calender).
5. Magha Navaratri: Magha Navaratri in celebrated the month of Magha (January–February).
Sharad Navratri: The Widely Celebrated Navratri
Among all the Navaratris, Sharad Navaratri is very significant and popular. It is celebrated with great zeal and zest in allover India. Due to the importance and popularity Navaratri festival is common name for it. This popularity and importance of Sharad Navaratri is mentioned in the Dharmasindhu as,
Navaratrashabdah Ashvinashuklapratipadamarabhya | mahanavamiparyantam kriyamanakarmanamadheyam ||
(Navaratri word denotes the spiritual acts performed in the period from first day to ninth day of the first half of Ashwin month.)
Hence only Sharad Navaratri is commonly known as Navaratri.
9 forms of Shakti are worshipped during the Navaratris. The Devis worshipped depend on the tradition of the region.
* Annapoorna Devi
Take a look at the days of Sharada Navratri
Day 1 – Ghatsthapana | Shailputri Puja
Day 2 – Chandra Darshan (Tithi is repeated)
Day 3 – Brahmacharini Puja
Day 4 – Sindoor Tritiya, Chandraghanta Puja
Day 5 – Kushmanda Puja, Varad Vinayaka Chauth, Lalita Vrat
Day 6 – Skandamata Puja Saraswati Awahan
Day 7 – Katyayani Puja, Saraswati Puja
Day 8 – Kalaratri Puja
Day 9 – Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja, Sandhi Puja, Maha Navami
Day 10 –Ayudha Puja, Navami Homa
Day 11 – Navratri Parana, Durga Visarjan, Vijayadasami
Navratri is the time for celebrations. Though, each state of the country celebrates Navratri according to its traditions and customs, but the two main highlights of Navratri are: Garba and Durga Puja.
To begin the fast, the observer takes shower in the morning and wears neat and clean clothes. Durga Mata is worshipped and Aarti is done. Dry fruits of 5 types, fruits, mishri and milk are offered to the Goddess as Bhog. After this, devotees can take the food meant for Navratri. In the evening, Puja is done again and Aarti is done with lighting incense sticks (Agarbatti). Be ready to keep the Navratri fast the best way so that goddess accepts all your prayers and get them fulfilled.
Food To Be Avoided During Navratri
During Navratri, several food items are avoided by the people observing fast. These food items are:
Onion and garlic
Legumes and lentils Common salt is not used and in place of it rock salt (sendha namak) is used.
Turmeric (haldi), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), dhania powder (coriander powder) and garam masala
Alcohol and non-vegetarian food
Colors To Wear On Each Day
Navratri is not only the time to offer prayers to Maa Durga, but is also the time to wear nine different colors. Have a look at each of these colors and make your Navratri different, ethnic, and colorful.
Day 1 : Grey
Day 2: Orange
Day 3 : White
Day 4 : Red
Day 5 : Blue
Day 6 : Yellow
Day 7: Green
Day 8 : Peacock green
Day 9 : Purple
We hope that this article must have boosted your knowledge regarding all the 5 Navratris celebrated every year. With this article on Navratri, please Goddess Durga and her manifestations to earn her blessings and Shakti for a fearless and successful life.
Wishing you all a very Happy Navratri!