Navaratri is a combination of many concepts, with the common theme of the victory of good over evil. One concept is that Vijayadashami or Dusshera is celebrated on the day Rama kills Ravana in the Rama Ravana war. Another concept is that, Durga, goddesses of power and vitality who is believed to have nine forms called Navadurga, takes a new form on each of the nine days (celebrated as Durga Puja ) with the arsenal of weapons to ride a lion and fight the demon Mahishasura. The 10th day on which the goddess kills Mahishasura, is celebrated as Dusshera or Vijayadashami as the victory of good over evil. Lord Rama is said to have worshipped the goddesses, seeking her blessing in order to overpower the evil force of Ravana, the abductor of his beloved Sita.
During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast and prayers are offered for the protection of health and prosperity. A period of introspection and purification, Navratri is traditionally an auspicious and religious time for starting new ventures.
Important of Nine Nights & Days
Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother(godess) is invoked as powerful force called Durga or Kali in order to destroy all our impurities and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, “Lakshmi”, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping “Saraswati”, the mother as the goddess of wisdom. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.
In South India, Saraswathi pooja is performed on the 7th day. Eight day is traditionally Durgashtami which is big in Bengal. The 9th day is Ayudha Pooja when everyone gives their tools of the trade -- pens, machinery, books, automobiles, school work, etc. a rest and ritually worships them. They start afresh from the next day, the 10th day which is considered as 'Vijaya Dashami'. Many teachers/Schools in south India start teaching Kindergarten children from that day onwards. Students also pay homage to their respective teachers as they are considered the third god (Maathaa, Pitha, Guru, Daivam - Mother, Father, Teacher & God). On this tenth day of Navratri in October - the holiday of Dussehra or Dasara, an effigy of Ravana is burnt to celebrate the victory of good (Rama) over evil.
Navratri Celebrations in Different Parts of India
in South India:-
In the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the festival of Navratri is celebrated in a different manner. Women adorn their houses with dolls (Bommai Kolu), draw traditional designs or rangolis (patterns made on the floor by using various coloured powders and flowers), and light lamps. During this festival (also known as Kolu in the state of Tamil Nadu), families proudly display traditional wooden dolls and gather to sing songs and depict scenes from the various epics, for a period of ten days. Another runaway hit is the sundal, a special sweet made from lentil and brown sugar. Families and friends exchange the traditional gifts of coconuts, clothes and sweets on this occasion.
Kerala;- celebrates the ten day Navaratri with musical & dance programs and events , Vijayadashami- Vidyarambham -(Ezhuthinu Eiruthal) (a foot step of an official learning of knowledge & alphabets) & conducting Navaratri Sangeetholtsavam,
Mysore, the city of palaces in Karnataka celebrates the ten day Dussehra(Vijaya Dashami) in a royal style. The Mysore Palace is illuminated with a myriad lights. Majestic processions, a torch light parade and dance and musical events enliven the tranquil city.,
In North India:-
In the state of Punjab, people usually fast during this period, for seven days, and on Ashtami, the eighth day, devotees break their fast by worshipping young girls who are supposed to be representatives of the Goddess herself by offering them the traditional puris (sort of deep-fried Indian bread), halwa (a dessert primarily made of flour and sugar), chanas (Bengal gram) and red chunnis (long scarves). In this region, the festival is predominantly linked with harvest. This is the time of the khetri, (wheat grown in pots in the urban context) that is worshipped in homes, and whose seedlings are given to devotees as blessings from God.
In West Bengal, it takes the form of Durga Puja, an occasion to celebrate the Triumph of Good over Evil. According to legend, a vicious buffalo-demon, Mahishasura, had raised hell at the gates of heaven, causing widespread terror. The Goddess Durga was actualised by the combined efforts of all the deities to slay him. Thus, Durga astride a lion, with an assortment of weapons in her 10 hands, slayed Mahishasura. Durga is also worshipped as Shakti, and beautiful idols of the Mother Goddess adorn elaborate pandals (marquees) for five days (starting from the fifth day of Navratri). Believers (and non-believers) flock to these pandals with gay abandon. On the tenth day of the celebrations, the idols are carried out in colourful processions to be immersed (visarjan) in a river or a pond.
Gujarat, the exuberant Navaratri celebrations include dancing the lively 'garba' and 'dandiya ras' dances.
Himachal Pradesh, a week -long fair in the hill town of Kullu, is a part of the Dussehra celebrations. From the little temples in the hills , deities are brought in procession to the 'maidan' in Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji.
During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as "Durga," which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as "Devi" (goddess) or "Shakti" (energy or power). It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. Worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.
Every year the beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctures of climatic change and solar influence. These two junctions have been chosen as the sacred opportunities for the worship of the divine power because:
(1) We believe that it is the divine power that provides energy for the earth to move around the sun, causing the changes in the outer nature and that this divine power must be thanked for maintaining the correct balance of the universe.
(2) Due to the changes in the nature, the bodies and minds of people undergo a considerable change, and hence, we worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance.
Why do we need the Power?
As we join our parents in worshipping "Ma Durga" during the Navaratri. She will bestow on you wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and other potent powers to cross every hurdle of life. Remember, everyone in this world worships power, i.e., Durga, because there is no one who does not love and long for power in some form or the other.
During this vowed religious observance, a pot is installed (ghatasthapana) at a sanctified place at home. A lamp is kept lit in the pot for nine days. The pot symbolizes the universe. The uninterrupted lit lamp is the medium through which we worship the effulgent Adishakti, i.e. Sree Durgadevi. During Navratri, the principle of Sree Durgadevi is more active in the atmosphere.
Worship the Mother Goddess?
We think this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the mother of all, and all of us are her children. "Why mother; why not father?", Indians believe that God's glory, his cosmic energy, his greatness and supremacy can best be depicted as the motherhood aspect of God. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.
Navratri is celebrated in a large number of Indian communities. The mother goddess is said to appear in 9 forms, and each one is worshipped for a day. These nine forms signify various traits that the goddess influence