India is not only known for its vibrant colors but also for its rich cultural practices. This diverse country celebrates many auspicious religious festivals all around the year and one such pious Hindu festival is Navratri. Navratri literally denotes the celebration that takes place for nine auspicious nights. This festival is also known as Shardiya Navratri and Maha Navratri. This is usually celebrated in the month of Ashwin i.e., in the autumn season during the months of September and October.
The Hindu calendar marks the beginning of Navratri on Prathipada of Ashwin month. The celebration is continued for nine days. The last day of celebration is known as Vijaya Dashami or Dussehra.
We might have missed Navratri 2021, but now is the time to celebrate Navratri 2022 with grandeur and pomp. This Navratri 2022 will begin on Monday, September 26, and will be celebrated till Wednesday, October 5, 2022.
Each day a particular incarnation of Goddess Maa Durga is worshipped and celebrated.
The 9 incarnations of Maa Durga –
- Maa Shailaputri
- Maa Brahmacharini
- Maa Chandraghata
- Maa Kushmanda
- Maa Skand Mata
- Maa Katyayani
- Maa Kaalratri
- Maa Mahagowri
- Maa Siddhidatri
It is also to honor and pay our respects to the women trinity, goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), goddess Saraswathi (goddess of knowledge), and goddess Parvathy (goddess of power).
Navratri, this festival is celebrated by people all over the country in their own ways.
Navratri is celebrated with grandeur and pomp on the eastern side. The entire place is decorated and statues or idols of Durga Devi are set up in the pandals and worshipped by everyone.
On the last day of the celebration, the idols are carried around the streets as a part of a procession, and then they are immersed in the water. Married women from this part apply Sindoor Khela or Vermillion on goddess Durga and also on each other’s faces as a part of the celebration.
Gujarat and Maharashtra
People from Gujarat and Maharashtra also worship the 9 different incarnations of Maa Durga. On these days, fast, and then perform Garba. Both men and women dress up in traditional clothes and dance around with sticks. This popular dance is known as Dandiya.
Uttar Pradesh and Delhi
People from these parts celebrate Ramlila for 9 days and on the last day, the festival is brought to an end by burning huge effigies of Demon King Ravana all around the cities.
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People from the southern part perform puja for all nine nights honoring the women’s trinity and wishing for wealth and prosperity. They display idols of all the deities and perform puja. Everybody fasts and perform puja and various other spiritual rituals with immense love, devotion, and most importantly enthusiasm. All take extreme efforts to please deities – Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi.
This festival is celebrated with much greater zeal and zest in the northern as well as the eastern part of India. Their culture celebrates the fight between good and evil and the victory of good on the last, tenth day of the festival.
The Vedas and Puranas suggest that Goddess Durga Devi is a form of Shakthi who protects the entire universe from evil. There are many interpretations available but two mythological tales are popular all around the country.
Mahishasura and Goddess Durga Devi
Though there are many numbers of mythological stories about Navratri, the story of the demon Mahishasura became popular and the cause for celebrating Navratri. Mahishasura was an ardent lover and a devotee of lord Shiva. Once Shiva granted him a boon – “Neither a god nor a man could kill him”. This got into his head and he started torturing the rishis and even attacked the gods. The trinity gods – Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma created Durga Devi, who after a rigorous battle killed him.
People of those states celebrate and worship Goddess Durga Devi for all those nine nights and celebrate her as she is the deity of power, strength, and wisdom.
Ravana and Lord Rama
There’s also another mythological tale that is popular in most of the Indian states – the story of lord Rama and his vrata. Lord Rama in order to defeat the demon king Ravana in Lanka, fasted for straight nine days and worshipped Devi Bhagawati.
With her blessings, Lord Rama killed Ravana on the tenth day which is now known and celebrated as Vijaya Dashami.
Everybody will fast and perform puja in their houses. These nine nights are considered the most auspicious and it is important for one to understand the customs and rituals that is being followed for many years. One cannot start their “vrata” without proper knowledge.
This particular pooja is known as Navratri Puja or Durga Puja. People from various parts of the country perform this puja in their own way according to their culture and tradition. But here’s an overview of the things required and methods followed.
The Durga Puja 2022 requires the following things.
- A picture or an idol of Goddess Durga Devi
- Red-colored cloth
- Mango leaves
- Raw rice
- Gangajal or plain water
- Sacred Red thread (Moli)
- Areca nut (supari)
- Betel leaves (pan)
- Barley seeds
- A clay pot
- Durga Saptashati book
- Incense sticks
- Fresh flowers and grass
Once you get ready with all the items mentioned above, it is time to prepare for the puja.
Place the Idol
The first step is to set up the picture or the idol of Durga Devi on a flat surface above the red-colored cloth. Sow the barley seeds in the clay pot and keep them beside Maa Durga. Make sure you sprinkle water and grow the barley plant till Navami.
Get the Kalash Ready
Pour the Holy Gangajal into the Kalash along with some flowers. Place the mango leaves on the mouth of the Kalash and put some coins in it. Tie the sacred red thread Moli around the neck of the Kalash and also the coconut. place the coconut on the top above the mango leaves.
Place the Kalash near the barley sown clay pot.
This step is known as Ghata Sthapana.
Goddess Durga Devi Puja
Light a Diya (lamp) in front of Maa Durga and worship her using Panchopchar – scent, flower, deepam, incense stick, and Naivedya (sweets and food for Maa Durga). Chant Durga Devi’s slokas and perform the puja for all nine days. Invite her into your house wholeheartedly and ask her o grace your house with her presence. Seek her blessings and pray for prosperity.
On Ashtami and Navami, i.e., the eighth and the ninth day, perform the puja and then invite nine girls to your house. They should be considered as the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga and must be treated with piety and love. Wash their feet, and decorate them with turmeric, sandalwood, and vermilion. Offer them a comfortable seat, feed them with delicious foods, and fruits, and then worship them along with your family.
Decorate your aarti thali with essentials according to your tradition. Sing devotional songs and perform the aarti.
On the last day of the celebration, make sure you offer flowers and rice to Maa Durga and all the deities, and then remove the Ghata from the altar while seeking her blessings.
This festival has been celebrated here for many years. all you need to do is pray to Maa Durga and also Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswathi wholeheartedly and seek their blessings.
It is believed that these nine auspicious nights will bring the family peace, wealth, knowledge, and prosperity. Visit a Shakthi temple without fail.
Happy Navratri 2022!