Navratri 2019: How India celebrates 9 days of Goddess Durga
New Delhi, September 25: The festival of Navratri celebrating Goddess Durga is round the corner. The festival of Navratri is celebrated for nice nights (and ten days) across India. Out of the four seasonal Navratri, Sharada Navratri is the most observed. Sharada Navratri is observed post monsoon around autumn and is dedicated in honour of the divine feminine Goddess Durga.
Dates for Navratri 2019
It begins on September 27th and ends on October 7th.
The festival of Navratri is dedicated to the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Goddess Durga killed buffalo-demon Mahishasur and restored peace in the universe. She is depicted with ten hands and is seated on a lion. She kills the Asura (demon) with her trident. It is this victory over evil which is celebrated as Navratri.
Legend associated with Navratri
Asura(demon) Mahishasura, the son of a demon by name of Rambha and a female buffalo was creating havoc in Devloka. He disrupted the peace in Devloka. He had become so powerful that gods were unable to stop him as he had a boon that made him an invincible force. The gods infused all their power into Goddess Durga and she was ready for a battle against Mahishasur. Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasur and restored peace in Devloka. Hence she came to known as Mahishasura Mardini( one who killed Mahishasura).
It is this victory or evil over good that is celebrated as Navratri.
Significance of Nine days of Navratri
The nine days of Navratri are dedicated to the nine avatars of Goddess Durga. Each day is associated with an incarnation of the goddess.
Day 1 is Shilaputri(daughter of Mountains) and is dedicated to an incarnation of Parvati. She is worshipped as the consort of Shiva and is also considered as a direct incarnation of Mahakali. She rides the bull, holds a lotus flower in her left hand and a Trishula in her right.
Day 2 is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini. Brahmacharini is worshipped for the emancipation of Moksha and endowment of peace and prosperity.
Day 3 is dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta. She has a half-Chandra(half-Moon) on her forehead and is the embodiment of beauty and is also symbolic of bravery.
Day 4 is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda and is associated with vegetation on earth.
Day 5 is dedicated to Goddess Skandamata and is the mother of Skanda(Kartikeya). She symbolises the strength of a mother in protecting her child.
Day 6 is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani and is considered as Warrier goddess and is the most violent forms of Parvati.
Day 7 is dedicated to Goddess Kalaratri. The goddess appears in white with a lot of rage in her eyes but assures her devotees that she will protect and them and they will face no harm.
Day 8 is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri and symbolizes intelligence and peace.
Day 9 is dedicated to Goddess Sidhidatri. She is believed to possess and bestow many Sindhis (powers) to her devotees.
How India celebrates Navratri
It is celebrated in many ways in different parts of India. Some fast and some feast, some dance, some perform plays. In North India, the devotees organise Jagraate or Jagaran (all through the night). Devotees observe fast and sing bhajans in praise of the Goddess during Jagaran. On the 9th day, they perform Kanya Pujan, where little girls are worshipped at home and showered with gifts as a mark of respect.
In Western India, in parts like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa it is a big festival. Devotees fast, perform puja for nine days and celebrate by performing folk dances like Garbo or Dandiya.
In South India, it is celebrated in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Women decorate the Kalasham with flowers. Friends and families are invited to witness Golu( a decoration of dolls, idols of Gods and Goddesses).
In Eastern part of India in states like Bihar, Tripura, West Bengal, Assam is believed that Durga or incarnation of Parvati arrives with her children (Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartikeya and Ganesha) during Navratri to home on earth. They believe that after spending five days of earth, she returns to her honey abode to her husband Shiva. It is hence celebrated as Durga Puja in the eastern part of India.