Navratri 2016 Celebrations: Navratri is a pious Hindu festival that is celebrated twice in a year with amazing traditions and rituals. It is a nine-day festival that is celebrated with great devotion and fervour. ‘Navratrui’ is composed of two words where ‘Nav’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means night. Hence, it is celebrated for nine nights when the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped, one each day.
It is going to be Sharad Navratri. Some people keep fasts on all the nine days of Navratri and worship the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. Apart from poojas and vrats, various cultural events and activities are also organised in which people participate actively during the festival. On the next day of the Sharad Navratri or the tenth day, Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated.
Various plays are also organised during Navratri and holy Hindu book ‘Ramayana’ is depicted in the plays. On the tenth day of the occasion, on Dussehra, statues of Ravana are burnt as a mark of the victory of good over bad. The occasion of Navratri also indicates the beginning of the autumn season. It is mainly celebrated in India and Nepal.
On the occasion of Navratri, people worship nine different avatars of Goddess Durga and all the nine forms of the deity signify different things. Goddess Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri are the all nine incarnations of Durga Maa.
First Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri
Goddess Shailaputri is worshipped on the first day of Navratri by the devotees. This form of goddess signifies the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She is the daughter of the Himalayas who took birth after the self-immolation as Goddess Sati. She rides a bull. In her one hand, there is a lotus and in the other, she carries a trident. The goddess is associated with Lord Shiva. She is also known as Hemavati, Parvati and Sati Bhavani.
Second Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day of Navratri is dedicated to the Goddess Brahmacharini. All the devotees pray to her on this day. This avatar of Goddess Durga symbolises meditation and spirituality. She carries a rosary in her one hand and a water utensil in the other. She is the unmarried form of Goddess Sati. Women fast and pray to her in order to get prosperity, peace and happiness. She is also called Aparna, Tapashcharini, and Uma.
Third Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta
Devotees worship Goddess Chandraghanta on the third day of Navratri with great traditions and rituals. The goddess wears a crescent moon on her head and her name also resembles a crescent moon. She is different from deity Durga who is shown angry when provoked. It is believed that the goddess showers her followers with bravery and courage. She is also known as Chandika, Chandrakhanda, or Ramchandi.
Fourth Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda
Navratri’s fourth day is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda by her devotees. Her name consists of three words, Ku that means little, Ushma means energy and Anda mean cosmic egg. Her devotees believe that she has the power to live in the sun. He body is as glowing and radiant as the sun itself. It is believed that her divine smile ended the darkness of the universe and with that, there was the beginning of creation.
Fifth Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Skanda Mata
Goddess Skanda Mata is the fifth incarnation of Goddess Durga and she is worshipped on the fifth day of Navratri. ‘Skanda’ means Kartikeya and ‘Mata’ means mother. She is regarded as the Goddess of Fire by her followers. She is said to bless her devotees with power, prosperity and wisdom.
Sixth Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Katyayani
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, the sixth avatar of Durga Maa. She is also known as the Warrior Goddess. According to the legends, she slew the demon Mahishasura and after that mounted the lion that she received from Goddess Gauri. It is also believed to be the most violent form of Goddess Parvati.
Seventh Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Kalaratri
Goddess Kalaratri is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri. She is believed to remove darkness and destroy ignorance from the universe. She is the violent form of Goddess Durga. She is also called Shubhamkari. It is said that she licked the blood of demon Rakta Beeja who used to create more demons with his blood. She depicts the darker side of life.
Eighth Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri
On the eighth day of Navratri, Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped by her devotees. People call her a ray of lightning. It is said that she didn’t move her body for the rigid tapas. During the Tapas, a lot of soil and dust got collected on her body and that was cleaned by Lord Shiva with water from the pious Ganga River. And, hence this form of Goddess is pure.
Ninth Day of Navratri – Dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri
The ninth day of Navratri is dedicated to the Goddess Siddhidatri. The goddess is said to provide knowledge to her devotees. With the knowledge she gives to her devotees, they realise that she is the supreme power of all the perfect things and she is the only one who exists. She sits on a lotus flower. She holds a lot of things in her hands like the conch shell, discus, lotus, and mace.