Navaratri “is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, navameaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra” (also spelled Dasera). Navaratri is an important major festival and is celebrated all over India and Nepal. Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated twenty days after Dasera. Though there are total five types of Navaratri that come in a year, but Sharad Navaratri is the most popular one. Hence, the term Navaratri is being used for Sharada Navaratri here.”
What’s the Significance of Navratri?
During Navaratri, we invoke the energy aspect of God in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as “Durga,” which literally means the remover of miseries of life. She is also referred to as “Devi” (goddess) or “Shakti” (energy or power).
It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction. In other words, you can say that God is motionless, absolutely changeless, and the Divine Mother Durga, does everything. Truly speaking, our worship of Shakti re-confirms the scientific theory that energy is imperishable. It cannot be created or destroyed. It is always there.
The Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less.
|Navratri Day||Day||Form of Goddess||Tithi||Pujan||Colour|
|Navratri Day 1||Pratipada||Shailaputri Maa||Ghatasthapana||Shailputri Pujan||Red|
|Navratri Day 2||Dwitiya||Bharmacharini||Chandra Darshan||Brahmacharini Pujan||Royal Blue|
|Navratri Day 3||Tritiya||Chandraghanta||Sindoor Tritiya, Sowbhagya Teej||Chandraghanta Pujan||Yellow|
|Navratri Day 4||Chaturthi||Kushmanda||Varad Vinayaka Chauth||Bhouma Chaturthi||Green|
|Navratri Day 5||Panchami||Skandamata||Lalita Panchami||Upang Lalita Vrat, Lalitha Gauri Vrat, Skandamata Pujan||Gray|
|Navratri Day 6||Shashthi||Katyayani||Maha Shashti||Saraswati Awahan, Katyayani Pujan||Orange|
|Navratri Day 7||Saptami||Kaalratri||Maha Saptami||Saraswati Puja, Kalaratri Pujan, Utsava Puja||White|
|Navratri Day 8||Ashtami||Maha Gauri||Durga Ashtami, Maha Ashtami||Saraswati Mata Pujan, Mahagauri Pujan, Sandhi Puja||Pink|
|Navratri Day 9||Navami||Siddhidatri||Khande Navami, Durga Visarjan, Maha Navami||Ayudha Puja, Kanya puja||Sky Blue|
Animals are sacrificed during Sharad Navratri in many parts of India, mainly at temples of Goddesses such as Bhavani or Kali.
A book published 1871 by Pratápachandra Ghosha gives full description of the rituals involved in animal sacrifice during Durga Puja
The Rajput of Rajasthan offer a sacrifice of buffalo or goat to the their family Goddess ( Kuldevta) during the festival of Navaratri.The ritual requires slaying of the animal with a single stroke. In the past this ritual was considered a rite of passage for young men. The ritual is directed by a Brahmin priest. Many erstwhile Royal families from different parts India also offer animal sacrifice to the Goddess during Sharad Navratri.
Why Worship the Mother Goddess?
We think this energy is only a form of the Divine Mother, who is the mother of all, and all of us are her children. “Why mother; why not father?”, you may ask. Let me just say that we believe that God’s glory, his cosmic energy, his greatness and supremacy can best be depicted as the motherhood aspect of God. Just as a child finds all these qualities in his or her mother, similarly, all of us look upon God as mother. In fact, Hinduism is the only religion in the world, which gives so much importance to the mother aspect of God because we believe that mother is the creative aspect of the absolute.
Why Nine Nights & Days?
Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our impurities, vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.
First Day Pooja
The first form of Goddess Durga is called Shailputri . She is considered the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Second Day Pooja
The second form of Goddess Durga is known as ‘Brahmacharini’. Her name is derivative of the word ‘Brahma’, which means ‘Tapa’ or penace. She is also a form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.
Third Day Pooja
On the third day the goddess is worshipped as Chandraghanta. She is the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery.
Fourth Day Pooja
Kushmanda, is the form of the goddess which is worshipped on the fourth day. It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire Universe and she has created the entire Universe by her laugh.
Fifth Day Pooja
On the fifth day, the form of Goddess is called Skand Mata. She is actually called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief warrior of the Gods army.
Sixth Day Pooja
On the sixth day, the goddess is worshipped as Katyayani. Seated on her vehicle lion, Katyayani has three eyes and four hands.
Seventh Day Pooja
On the seventh day, the Goddess is worshipped as ‘Kalratri’. As the name suggests, Kalrati is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant to make the devotees fearless.
Eighth Day Pooja
On the eight day, the Mata Rani is worshipped as ‘Maha Gauri’. She is considered to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom.
Ninth Day Pooja
On the ninth day, Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri. It is believed she consists of all the eight siddhis. She lives on lotus and is worshipped by all the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis