Durga Navratri: History, significance, celebrations and all you need to know about this 9-day festival

Durga Navratri is one of the most significant festivals celebrated by Hindus across the globe. It is a nine-day long festival, which is celebrated to worship and honor the nine different forms of the Hindu goddess, Durga. This festival is celebrated twice a year, once in the month of Chaitra (March-April) and again in the month of Ashwin (September-October). In this blog, we will take a closer look at the history, significance, and celebrations of Durga Navratri.

History of Durga Navratri

The history of Durga Navratri can be traced back to ancient times when the worship of goddesses was an important part of Hinduism. It is believed that Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva created the goddess Durga to destroy the demon Mahishasura, who had become invincible due to a boon he received from Lord Brahma. The goddess Durga, also known as Mahishasuramardini, fought with Mahishasura for nine days and nights, finally defeating him on the tenth day, which is celebrated as Vijayadashami.

Significance of Durga Navratri

Durga Navratri is celebrated to honor the nine different forms of the goddess Durga, who is also known as Shakti or Devi. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to one of the nine forms of Durga, and devotees offer prayers, perform rituals, and observe fasts to seek her blessings. The nine forms of Durga are:

Day 1: Shailputri

Shailputri​

The first day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Shailputri, who is believed to be the embodiment of the divine mother. She is depicted as riding a bull and holding a trident and a lotus in her hands. On this day, devotees worship her with great devotion and offer her flowers, fruits, and other offerings.

Day 2: Brahmacharini

The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini, who is the epitome of love, virtue, and asceticism. She is depicted as carrying a rosary and a water vessel in her hands. On this day, devotees worship her and observe fasts to seek her blessings.

Day 3: Chandraghanta

Chandraghanta​

The third day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta, who is believed to be the symbol of bravery and courage. She is depicted as having ten arms and riding a tiger. On this day, devotees worship her and offer her sweets and other delicacies.

Day 4: Kushmanda

Kushmanda​

The fourth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Kushmanda, who is believed to have created the universe with her smile. She is depicted as having eight arms and holding a rosary, lotus, and other objects. On this day, devotees worship her and offer her flowers, sweets, and other offerings.

Day 5: Skandamata

Skandamata

The fifth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Skandamata, who is believed to be the mother of Lord Skanda or Kartikeya. She is depicted as having four arms and holding her son in her lap. On this day, devotees worship her and seek her blessings for the well-being of their children.

Day 6: Katyayani

The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, who is believed to be the warrior goddess. She is depicted as having four arms and riding a lion. On this day, devotees worship her and seek her blessings for success, strength, and courage.

Day 7: Kalaratri

Kalaratri

The seventh day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Kalaratri, who is the fiercest form of Goddess Durga. She is depicted as having four arms and holding a sword and a noose in her hands. On this day, devotees worship her and offer her black-coloured offerings.

Day 8: Mahagauri

The eighth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri, who is believed to be the symbol of purity and serenity. She is depicted as having four arms and riding a bull. On this day, devotees worship her and offer her white-coloured offerings.

Day 9: Siddhidatri

The ninth and final day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri, who is believed to possess all the eight siddhis or spiritual powers. She is depicted as having four arms and sitting on a lotus. On this day, devotees worship her and offer her flowers, fruits, and other offerings.

Rituals and Traditions:

Navratri is a festival of vibrant colours, music, dance, and devotion. The celebrations vary from region to region, but some common rituals and traditions include:

  1. Garba and Dandiya: Garba and Dandiya are traditional dance forms that are performed during Navratri. People dress up in colourful attire and dance to the beats of dhol and other musical instruments.
  2. Fasting: Many people observe fasts during Navratri as a way of purifying their body and mind. Fasting is also believed to please the goddess and bring good fortune.
  3. Puja and Aarti: Devotees perform puja and aarti of the goddess every day during Navratri. They offer flowers, fruits, and other offerings to the goddess and seek her blessings.
  4. Navratri Food: Navratri food is a special cuisine that is prepared during the festival. It is usually vegetarian and includes dishes made with grains, vegetables, and fruits. Some popular dishes include sabudana khichdi, kuttu ki puri, and singhare ka halwa.
  5. Navratri Colors: Each day of Navratri is associated with a different colour. People dress up in clothes of the corresponding colour and offer flowers and other offerings of that colour to the goddess.

In conclusion:-

Navratri is a festival of joy, devotion, and celebration. It is an opportunity for people to come together and honor the divine feminine power and the triumph of good over evil. By observing the rituals and traditions of Navratri, people seek the blessings of the goddess and strive to cultivate self-discipline, purity, and devotion in their lives.