Navratri 2019: The festival of divinity, prosperity and peace
Navratri is not just about garba and dandiya nights with fun and devotion towards Goddess Durga
Navratri is that time of the year when revellers look forward to wearing colourful costumes and dance the night away with friends and family. Mumbaikars have already started preparing for the festival by flocking into their nearby dance studio to master the Garba moves and shop for the best of traditional attire. But Navratri is not just about wearing fancy clothes and playing garba. The nine days running up to Dussehra symbolizes prosperity, well-being and triumph of good over evil.
This year, Sharad Navratri begins from September 29 to October 7. These nine days are said to be of immense importance for Hindus all over the world. It is on these days that devotees pray to the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. The deity is known to symbolises positive energy that is powerful enough to destroy the evil forces and protect devotees from them. Each day of the festival has different, interesting significances.
On the first day of the festival, the devotee worship Shailaputri as the consort of Lord Shiva. The second day of the festival is dedicated to Brahmacharini, who is known to be blissful and bestow happiness, prosperity and peace among her devotees. On the third day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as Chandraghanta, known for beauty and grace. The fourth day is dedicated to Kusmanda, who symbolises happiness and is known to have created the universe through laughter.
On the fifth day, Goddess Durga is worshipped as Skandamata, representing the protective maternal instincts. Devotees worship Katyayani on the sixth day of the festival that stands for courage. The seventh day is dedicated to Kalratri, the most fearsome form of Goddess Durga that represents peace. On the eighth day, Gauri is worshipped as she stands for calmness and prosperity. And the ninth day is dedicated to Siddhadatri, known for her supernatural healing powers. Revellers observe a fast and follow different colours on each day of the festival that adds to its fervour. The colours used are in accordance with the significance of the days of Navratri.
Each region has different traditions as far as the days of Navratri are concerned. In eastern India, especially West Bengal, the festival is celebrated as Durga Puja or Pujo. Pandals are put up in different parts of the region and the idol of the deity is worshipped. The idol is immersed in a huge ceremony on Dussehra, symbolising the victory of good over evil. In Delhi, Ramlila, a play based on the events described in Ramayana is staged in front of scores of spectators. In the south, the eighth, ninth and the tenth is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. On the tenth day, known as Vijayadashami, devotees from all walks of life worship their equipment in a puja known as Ayudha puja. Students worshipped their books, pens and pencils in their houses or temples. In some parts of Southern India, children initiate the beginning of their education on this auspicious day.
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