Navratri Festival

Rightly called as “The Rio Carnival of the East”, Navratri is celebrated all over the country with different customs and rituals according to the state. On the whole, the entire country wears a celebratory look and exudes an elegant ethnicity during this festival. Though many legends are associated with this festival, all would concur that it is Good winning over Evil and the celebration of womanhood.

As the name suggests, Navratri literally means Nine Nights, hence this festival is observed for nine continuous nights. Though theoretically, according to Hindu texts there are 4 Navratris in a year, Sharada Navratri which falls between (September and October), is the most celebrated one. Each of the 4 Navratris occur during the waxing phase of the moon. Though the date is the same for the whole country, the rituals, customs and the reason for celebration etc. vary totally or partly from state to state.

The major legends associated with this festival are that of Goddess Durga killing the demon king Mahishasura (according to Shaktism) and Lord Rama killing another demon king Ravana (according to Vaishnavism). Though the legends are from different schools of Hinduism, both festivals aim at celebrating womanhood. In Shaktism, the reason for celebration is clear while in Vaishnavism, it is indirect, because, Lord Rama worships Goddess Durga in her different forms for nine nights to get all her energy and blessings, without which it would have been impossible to defeat the mighty king Ravana.

Though the legends are just two, the celebration, practices, rituals etc. are numerous which cannot be discussed in one single blog as it varies according to region, state and culture. So let’s take a look at the most prominent ones in the forthcoming blogs.