One of the most anticipated festivals in India is just around the corner! Hindus across India celebrate Navratri, a nine-day-long festival, with great enthusiasm and fanfare. It is intended for worshiping Maa Durga and her nine manifestations, known as Navdurga. Navratri means “nine nights” in Sanskrit. During this festival, devotees worship Maa Durga’s nine incarnations in order to obtain her blessings. From its significance to its celebration, here’s all you need to know about Navratri!
Navratri 2023: Significance & Muhurat
The Navratri that falls in the winter season is known as Sharda Navratri and is one of the biggest festivals in India. This year, the festival will begin on October 15 and be celebrated until October 23. The Shubh muhurat, or auspicious time for pooja, is between 11:48am and 12:36pm on October 23.
According to a Hindu legend, because of Mahishasura’s unwavering devotion to him, Lord Brahma bestows the gift of immortality upon him.
The blessing did, however, come with one stipulation: only a woman would be able to defeat him. The demon began terrorizing people on Earth because he didn’t think any woman would be strong enough to overcome him. The gods were unable to halt him.
Since Mahishasura was to be killed, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva pooled their efforts to create the goddess Durga. They gave her a number of weapons. The conflict between Mahishasura and Goddess Durga went on for nine days. But when he eventually transforms into a buffalo, Goddess Durga finally kills him.
Hence, the festival of Navratri honors the end of the demon Mahishasura and the triumph of good over evil.
Fasts, Shlokas, Garba And More
During these nine days, people follow ritualistic fasts, recite shlokas dedicated to all the nine goddesses, wear new clothes, offer bhog, and play garba. They ask the goddess for her favor in order to have prosperous, joyous, and fulfilled lives.
Some communities, especially Gujaratis, place ghats or kalash with a coconut and decorate them with jewels, flowers, and chunri. They also place akhand jyot and cultivate jowar or barley in a small pot on the first day of the festival.
There is a lot of dancing throughout the nine-day celebrations, including Garba and Dandiya Raas. While Dandiya Raas involves dancing with dandiya sticks to the beat of the music, Garba is a traditional dance that involves clapping your hands and making rhythmic moves in a circle.
For those who are familiar with the Navratri fasts, know about the popular dishes like
- Kuttu Ki Puri
- Singhade Ka Halwa
- Singhare Ke Pakore
- Sabudana Vada
- Sabudana Khichdi
Restaurants and grocery stores provide a special meal for fasting, commonly referred to as Vrat ka Khana. Some people like to eat only fruits; others prefer light meals; and some eat only fruits throughout the day and a big meal at night.
On the last day, or on the 8th day, women host Kanya puja in their houses. They invite nine young girls and one boy and serve them food. They are also given small gifts.
How is this festival celebrated at your place?
Cover Image Courtesy: Canva
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