The celebration of the Indian festival, Navratri or the �nine nights� goes on for nine days.
The nine-day long festival starts on the first day of Ashwina (the bright fortnight). It usually occurs in October.
The nine Goddesses worshipped during the nine days are Durga, Bhairavi, Amba, Bhadrakali, Sarvamangala, Bhavani, Lalita, Chandika and Annapurna.
Significance Of Navaratri
The first day of Navratri witnesses the sowing of barley seeds into a small mud bed. Three days are each devoted to the worship of Maa Durga (the Goddess of Valor), Maa Saraswati (the Goddess of Knowledge) and Maa Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth). A yagna (holy fire) is performed on the 8th day.
The celebration culminates in Mahanavami, when the Kanya Puja is performed. This day witnesses the worship of nine young girls depicting the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Each of the nine forms of Durga creates the part of a new creation on each of the nine days of Navaratri.
Celebration During Navaratri
During Navratri, the Gujaratis are engaged in traditional dances like the Dandiya-Raas and Garba.
The women dance in a circle and sing the traditional songs or Garba. The Dandiya Raas is played with �dandiyas� or wooden sticks. Many cultural societies, youth social groups and housing committees play the dandiya and garba. For this, adorned mandaps are set up. Garbas are also performed at Mumbai. Navratri is the largest Hindu festival of Nepal.
There is color all around during Navratri. Certain parts of India perform the �Ram-Leela�, which is a stage play of Ramayana (the saga of Lord Rama) during the festival.
The tenth day that falls after the nine-day celebrations is the �Vijaya Dashami�, the victory day over all evil. It is believed by the Hindus that Lord Rama killed Ravana, the demon on Dassera. This day is marked with the burning of the effigies of Ravana all through India.
There are devotees who observe fasts on Navratri. Prayers are also offered for the protection of property and health. This entire festive period is a time for purification and introspection. This can be an auspicious time for beginning new ventures. The festival generates happiness to all. Navratri is an exciting festival for the youth and is full of devotion for the old.