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Navratri - Durga Puja (2017) - The Nine Nights of the Worship of Goddess Durga - Festivals of India

Updated on June 25, 2017
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Vasanta (Chaitra) Navratri festival in 2017

is celebrated from 28 March to 5 April.

*

Sharada Navaratri festival in 2017

is celebrated from 21 to 29 September.

Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga riding on her lion and attacking demon Mahisasur.
Goddess Durga riding on her lion and attacking demon Mahisasur. | Source

About the Navratri Festival

Navratri is one of the most celebrated of all Hindu festivals. "Nav" means nine and "ratri" means night, thus Navratri festival means a festival spread over nine nights.

Though Navratri comes five times in a year, the most important and major are:

  • Vasanta Navratri (also known as Basanta Navrathri, Chaitra Navratras, or Raama Navratri), which is celebrated in the month of March or April every year. It ends on the 9th and final day which is celebrated as Ram Navami.
  • Sharada Navratri (also known as Maha Navratri or Sharad Navratri), which is celebrated in the months of September or October every year. The 10th day after the nine nights is celebrated as Vijayadashmi, the celebration of good over evil. It is also called Dussehra.

The dates of Navratri are based on the lunar calendar and change every year.

A pot is installed in a clean place in the home and a lamp is kept lighted at all times for the entire duration of the navratri festival. This is called Ghatasthapana.

Goddess Durga, the epitome of power or shakti, is worshipped during Navratri. It is believed the goddess had nine forms and she is worshipped in these forms during the nine-night festival.

The 8th Day

The 8th day is celebrated as Durga Ashtami or Ashtami. It is celebrated on an especially large scale in West Bengal.

The 9th Day

On the 9th day Kanya Puja (the worship of young girls who have not reached the age of puberty) is performed. Nine girls represent the nine forms of the Goddess Durga or Divine Mother. Their feet are washed, tilak is applied to their foreheads, and they partake in a feast of pooris, halwa, and black gram, a sweet dish like kheer. They are offered new clothes and fruits by those who perform this ceremony.

The Nine Forms of Goddess Durga

Depending on the region, different forms of the Goddess Durga are worshipped. The forms are:

  • Durga, the invincible
  • Bhadrakali, the auspicious and fortunate
  • Amba or Jagdamba, Mother of the universe
  • Annapoorna, the giver of food
  • Sarvamangala, the giver of joy all around
  • Bhairavi, the terrifying
  • Chandika, the violent
  • Lalita, the beautiful
  • Bhavani, the giver of life
  • Mookambika, the one who listens

Fasting During Navratri

Fasting is a common practice observed by many during Navratri. Meat, alcohol, grains, wheat, onions, and garlic are avoided by those fasting.

Grains are avoided as they are believed to absorb negative energy due to the seasonal changes at this time.

The Legend of Navratri

Though Navratri is a mix of various themes, the common factor is the destruction of evil or the victory of good over evil.

In the Chaitra Navratri, Demon Mahishasura (who had defeated all the Gods) was ultimately killed by Goddess Durga. After the Gods were defeated, they approached Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh, whose collective energy gave rise to shakti or power in the form of Goddess Durga. They appealed to her to kill the demon.

In the Chaitra Navratri, the 9th day is celebrated as Ram Navami, the day Lord Rama was born.

In the Sharad Navratri, the 10th day is celebrated as Vijayadashami or Dusshera, the day when the demon king Ravana was killed by Lord Rama.

The Nine Days

The nine days are divided into three sets of three days each to worship the three different attributes of the Goddess.

Goddess Durga

Source

Day 1 - 3

The Goddess is worshipped in the form of Durga or Kali, in the form of a Warrior Goddess dressed in red and riding on a lion.

Goddess Laxmi

Source

Day 4 - 6

During the middle three days, the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Lakhshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, dressed in gold.

Goddess Saraswati

Source

Day 7 - 9

In the last three days, the Goddess is worshipped in the form of Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, dressed in white and sitting on a white swan.

Garba Dance

Source

About Garba Dance

It is a folk dance form of Gujarat state in India. This dance is performed around a centrally placed earthen pot called a "garbha" in which a small lighted earthen lamp called a "deep" is kept. Dancers dance in circular movements around this "Garbha Deep" while also revolving.

The dance's circular patterns represent the movement of time and the cycle of life from birth to death to rebirth again. The only thing that remains constant is the feminine form of Divinity that is the Goddess Durga, represented by the Garbha Deep.

Thus, by way of the Garba dance, the goddess Durga is honored.

Garba Video

Dandia Dance

Dandia dance
Dandia dance | Source

Difference Between Garba & Dandiya Dance

The main difference between these two dances is that Garba is performed before the worship or Aarti of the Goddess Durga, while Dandiya dance is done after the worship.

Another difference is that Dandiya is performed with wooden sticks while Garba has just the hand and feet movements.

Both men and women take part in these dances.

Dandiya Video

The Rituals

There are some different rituals associated with Navratri depending on in which state it is celebrated, though Durga Puja is one common factor. Some of these are:

In Gujarat:
After the worship of the Goddess Durga in the evening, traditional dances like Garba and Dandiya are held at night. Around a central lighted lamp, men and women wearing traditional costumes dance in a circle to the accompaniment of devotional songs. Dandia is performed with a stick held in each hand which is struck against the stick of the partner. The dance goes on till the wee hours of the morning. Each locality makes arrangement for these celebrations and rituals.

In Maharastra:
The 10th day is considered auspicious for starting a new business, buying a house, etc.

In West Bengal:
Durga puja is celebrated here on a massive scale. Massive idols of Goddess Durga are installed and huge pandals are set up at various places for devotees to visit and worship. Everyone attends in new clothes.

In Punjab:
Kanya puja is done on the 8th day of the festival before breaking the fast. These girls of prepubescent age are offered puris, chana, halwa, and red scarves.

In South India:
Idols of various Gods and Goddesses are placed on specially set-up steps. This arrangement is called Golu.

In Mysore, district of Karnataka:
Decorated elephants are taken out in a procession. The streets are colorfully decorated. The royal deity of Mysore, Chamundi is worshipped on this day. Computers, books, vehicles, kitchen tools are worshipped on the 9th day.

In Kerala:
In the last three days, books are worshipped.

Navratri Golu

The different deities that are worshipped during the nine-day Navratri festival.
The different deities that are worshipped during the nine-day Navratri festival. | Source

Navratri Dishes

Some dishes that are traditionally prepared during Navratri are:

Watch the recipe videos below.

Sabudana Puris & Vadas Recipe

Vrat Ke Chawal: Rice for Fast Recipe

Sabudana Kheer: Tapioca Pudding

Singhara Pakora for Vrat - Navratra

Rava Kesari - Arusuvai Kitchen

Sabudana Kheer Recipe: How to Make Saboodana Kheer

Was this hub helpful in understanding the Navratri festival?

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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • CosmoGuru profile image

      CosmoGuru 2 years ago from Ahmedabad

      Great Hub

    • profile image

      Tapas sen 2 years ago

      Happy navratri

    • profile image

      saveena 2 years ago

      THANK U

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Devika. I'm glad you found the hub interesting. Happy Navratri to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great hub! I found this hub after you shared it. A very interesting insight to his festival.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Jyoti, glad you found the information on Navratri festival useful. Thank you.

      @ Chitrangda, let me first wish you too a very happy Navratri.

      I'm glad you liked my hub. Thanks for appreciating it in so many words.

      The related hubs section is turning out to be pretty useful in this regard and glad yours too is featured here.

      Thanks once again for visiting and it's good to see you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Rajanji, for sharing this wonderful hub!

      You have mentioned almost everything about the great festival of Navratri.

      Happy Navratri to you!

      I found your hub in the 'related hubs' section, under a hub I had submitted some time back about this great festival.

      And I can view my hub, under your hub in the same 'related hub' section.

      Truly beautiful pictures and description!

    • profile image

      bharath 2 years ago

      Very nice

    • profile image

      Arun dhiman 2 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experiences

    • profile image

      lavina Chawla 2 years ago

      Lovely recipes. Thanks

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 2 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Rajan,

      You have pointed out several topics I missed in my hub about the same. Thanks for a nice article. Rated useful.

    • profile image

      hemant 3 years ago

      You did an xclnt job. This year navratri starts on 5th oct and vijayadashmi is on 13 oct, those who performing fast do they need to break their fast on vijayadashmi or next day of that

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Certainly you can, Ashamuthukumaresan!

    • profile image

      Ashamuthukumaresan 3 years ago

      i don't have practice from previous generation to keep golu , but i would like to do it in my home Can i do this ?

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      thanks sweetie.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 4 years ago from India

      Rajan we all enjoy navratri very much. In fact I always keep fast on day 1 and last day and though most of delhi do the worship things on asthami we do it on Ram naomi. Very good hub. Voted it.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Ajay.

    • profile image

      Ajay Kushwaha 4 years ago

      I like all goddesses.but I like BajarangBali most

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Gayatri.

    • Gayatrirk3 profile image

      Gayatri Radhakrishnan 4 years ago from India

      You have covered almost every point of the festival..amazing hub..voted up..:)

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Mohan, these comments by such an esteemed writer as yourself are indeed overwhelming and humbling. Thanks for reading and I appreciate all the votes and share.

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks Rajan for a beautiful reminder of my time growing up in India and celebrating Navaratri. You have really done us proud by your detail, layout in this lovingly crafted page. Voted up and across! And shared on HH.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Rahul. This one was detailed for the benefit of our readers who wanted to know more about this festival.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      Ah! What a lovely, picturesque, detailed, well crafted hub about a beautiful and one largest festivals here in India, the land of festivities!

      Thank you for such a hub Sir! Navratri is celebrated with great pride and enthusiasm in various parts of the country and brings rich traditions and mythology into light!

      Also it is marked with exquisite food as you have mentioned,... Tapioca Pudding being my personal favorite

      Beautiful hub Sir!

      Voted all but funny

      Shared all over!!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Aurelio, it is a very big festival in India. Glad you liked and I'm sure it must be celebrated in some ways amongst the local Indian population there.

      Thanks for reading, voting and sharing.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sounds like a great festival. Thanks for revealing some of the dances through the videos, though I like the food videos the best. I'll have to see if they celebrate this festival at the local Indian community. Voting this Up and Interesting. SHARED.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Keri, great to know you enjoyed this write up. Thanks for reading and appreciating.

    • Keri Summers profile image

      Keri Summers 5 years ago from West of England

      This is so colourful. I enjoyed learning more about Hindu Goddesses - an area that interests me but about which I know little. Thank you!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Christy, thanks for stopping by and leaving your appreciation. Thank you.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I really enjoyed learning about the festival! You do a great job of discussing all of the details!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Billybuc,it is gladdening to note that my effort to let people from other cultures understand something of our traditional festivals is successful.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and appreciating. I can't thank you enough.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You did a wonderful job of constructing this hub; it is so visually pleasing plus I learned so much about something I had practically no knowledge of. Great job my friend!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Both navratris are important as one culminates in Ram Navmi and the other in Dussehra, incidently both relating to Lord Rama in different ways though. In India, both are celebrated equally but since the autumn Navaratri is close to Diwali it is more popular and evident.

      Thanks for your keen observation. I appreciate your stopping by to read.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Though Spring Navaratri is not popular compared to autumn Navaratri, this is very important Hindu festival.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      ishwaryaa, I'm glad I could do some justice to this festivals' history and importance and celebrations in various parts of our country. Thanks for the votes and compliments. I appreciate your visit.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      This is an insightful and enrapturing hub on one of India's significant festivals. I too partake in these colorful celebrations. Well-written and detailed hub.

      Thanks for sharing. Rated it interesting. Voted up.

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