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Navratri

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Introduction:

Navratri festival is celebrated to worship the nine forms of Goddess Durga, the Hindu Goddess of Power. It is a very important Hindu Festival and celebrated all over the country. Chaitra Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival which is solely dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga. This festival holds lots of importance for the entire Gujarati, Bengali and Maharashtrian communities. Navratri symbolizes victory over evil.

'Nava-ratri' is one of the most important Hindu festivals in the country. It is celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm all over the country. It is celebrated twice a year -once in Chaitra (March-April) and the other in Ashwin (September-October). Navratri means nine nights and so the tenth day Goddess Durga, who is worshipped throughout the nine days.

 

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Significance of Navaratri:

Similar to other religious festivals, Navratri has a spiritual theme for its devotees. The first three days of Chaitra Navratri devotees worship Goddess Durga and her various forms, including Sailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Maha Gowri and Siddhidayini. Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival celebrated all around the globe but holds utmost importance for the Gujarati and Bengali communities in India. Goddess Durga is worshipped with great devotion and trust during the festival. Let’s understand the importance of Navratri. Navratri symbolises victory over evil. The best part about this festival is the traditional dance form of Dandiya and Garba Raas.

Devotees start preparing various cuisines and celebrate the festival by wearing colourful dresses. Navratri festival, which concludes on Navami/Dussehra, involves praying, fasting, savouring fast delicacies and enjoying for nine days. On this day, Kanya Puja is performed and nine females represent the forms of Goddess Durga.  The nine days of Navratri are considered to be very auspicious and also an opportunity to surrender in sadhana and seek god with purity and grace.

 

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How Navratri is celebrated?

Navratri Festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm throughout India. It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. In North India, Navratri is celebrated with much devotion by fasting on all nine days accompanied with worshipping the Mother Goddess in all her nine forms. India is a land of festivals. Out of these many festivals “NAVRATRI” is a huge festival and one of the longest celebrated festivals in India. This festival is dedicated to worship the Hindu deity ‘Goddess Durga’. The Chaitra Navratri concludes in Ram Navami and the Sharad Navratri concludes in Durga Pooja and Dussehra. All temples are specially decorated with flowers and adorned with ornaments. In the East, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja which is the biggest festival of the Bengalis. People observe fast and worship all the nine forms of Goddess Durga especially Kaali, laxmi and Saraswati. Puja Pandals are organized from the seventh day of the Navratri fill the tenth day where big Statues of Goddess Durga are placed and worshipped. People sing, dance and celebrate the festival with great joy, and Excitement.

 Though rituals and modes of performing Puja differ from region to region but generally a Puja Thali (Plate) is kept in front of Goddess Durga. This usually contains five fruits, flowers, and an oil lamp with pure Ghee. This oil lamp is kept burning on all the nine days of the Navratri Festival. Aarti (Devotional Song dedicated to the Goddess) is sung, mantras are chanted and prayers are performed in the mornings and evenings throughout the Navratri Festival.

On the last day, devotees break their fast. ‘Kanya Pujan’ is performed in which nine little girls are worshipped with great devotion. These nine girls represent the nine incarnations of the divine Mother Goddess.

 

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