‘Nav’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’. Thus, Navaratri means ‘nine nights’. There are several legends attached to the festival. All of them are related to Goddess Shakti and her various forms. The festival holds a special significance and is celebrated all over India with much fervour.
The first three days of Navaratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga dressed in red and mounted on a lion. Her various incarnations – Kumari, Parvati and Kali – are all worshipped during these days. They represent three different classes of womanhood that include the child, the young girl and the mature woman. Next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, dressed in gold and mounted on an owl and finally, last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan. It is believed that worship during Navaratri will bestow on us wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and other potent powers to cross every hurdle of life. Traditional sweets are prepared during this period. Children and adults dress up in the traditional attire with new bright-colored dresses for the night performances of garba and dandiya dances.
Dandiya and Garba Rass are the highlights of the festival, while farmer sow seeds and thank the goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. Navaratri is also associated with the fertility of Mother Earth who feed us as her children. Hindus worships and thanks the supreme cosmic energy in the form of Goddess Durga for blessing them with everything and maintaining the balance of cosmic energy in the universe.
In some communities, people go for rigorous fasts during this season that lasts for the nine days of Navaratri. The festival culminates on Mahanavami. On this day, ‘Kanya Puja’ is performed. Nine girls from the home and neighbourhood are invited for this. It is believed that these nine young girls represent nine forms of Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja or Maha Navaratri is a tribute to the feminine power. Each form of the Maa has some unique significance.
- First day is the for Saraswati -Represents knowledge
- Second day is the for Parvati – Represents motherhood
- Third day is the for Gouri – Represents love
- Fourth day is the for Rudrani – Represents home care
- Fifth day is the for Radha – Represents pleasure
- Sixth day is the for Shakti – Represents power
- Seventh day is the for Ganga – Represents emotion and purity
- Eighth day is for Laxmi – Represents wealth
- Ninth day is the for Mahakali – Represents destruction of all evil
- Tenth day is Dussehra.
With inputs from Vaibhav Mandrekar
You may like to read