Navratri commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over a demon, Mahishasur, who had started toturing innocent people. At the call of the gods, Goddess Durga, astride a lion, fought with the demon and cut off his head.
Navratri is a joyous Hindu festival which is celebrated during early fall season - from the first to the ninth date of Ashwin Shukla Paksha of the Hindu calendar (late September / early October). The goddess in the form of the Universal Mother is worshiped for nine nights and hence the name nava-ratri. On the tenth day, the festival comes to an end with a special puja called Vijaya Dasami.
Navaratri festival, which becomes Durga Puja in Bengal and Eastern India towards the latter part, is devoted to Mother Goddess known as Durga; Bhadrakali; Amba or Jagadamba; Annapurna; Sarvamangala; Bhairavi; Chandika; Lalita; and Bhavani. It marks the universal resurgence of the power of creation over destruction.
Navratri is a major hindu festival celebrated to worship Goddess Durga,the goddess of power and strength.
This festival is celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm all over India.
Nav means nine and ratri means nights.
All nine days and nights of Navratri, different avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped with full faith and devotion.The tenth day is Dussehra or Vijayadashmi.
People pray and recites JAI MATA DI Slogan and visit temple everyday religiously during these nine days.
Though Navratri falls five times a year but the Sharad Navratri(falls in Sep-Oct) and Vasant Navratri(March-April) are the most important.
Days of Navratri:
Navratri Day 1:
On the First Day of Navratri, Shailaputri Avatar of Goddess Durga is worshipped.
Shailaputri Maa is the daughter of Lord Himalaya.She is also known by names of Maa Sati,Parvati,Hemavati.Maa Shailaputri is the form of nature on its own.
VANDE VAANCHHIT LAABHAAYA CHANDRARDHA KRITA SHEKHARAAM
VRISHAARUDHAAM SHULADHARAAM SHAILA- PUTRIM YASHASVINIIM
On the first day people grow Khetri out of barley seeds in an earthen pot.It is considered the long and green the Khetri is the better life you will have.
Navratri day 2:
On the second day Brahmacharini form of Maa Durga is worshipped.Brahma means to do Tapa(penance) and charya means to engage into something.
Maa Brahmacharini is the devi of Wisdom,Knowledge,Love and Loyalty.
Goddess Brahmacharini grants success and victory to all of her devotees.
Dadhana Kara Padmabhyamakshamala Kamandalu
Devi Prasidatu Mayi Brahmacharinyanuttama
Navratri Day 3:
Third form of Goddess Durga is Chandraghanta Maa also known as Chandika and Rannchandi.
Chandra means Moon and Ghanta means bell.One who has half moon shaped bell.Goddess Chandraghanta destroys all the physical and mental sufferings
and rewards peace,courage and bliss to all of her devotees.
Pindaja Pravararudha Chandakopastrakairyuta
Prasadam Tanute Mahyam Chandraghanteti Vishruta
Navratri Day 4:
Maa Kushmanda is the fourth incarnation of Goddess Durga.
Kushmanda Maa is the creator of Universe.She is radiant and full of energy . Kushmanda blesses health,wealth and sterngth to all her devotees.
Surasampurna Kalasham Rudhiraplutameva Cha
Dadhana Hastapadmabhyam Kushmanda Shubhadastu Me
Navratri Day 5:
Skanda Mata is fifth form of Goddess Durga.Skanda is the name of God of war , Kartikeya and Mata means mother.
Skanda Mata bestows power,prosperity and wealth to its devotees and keeps them away from all the sinful activities.
Simhasanagata Nityam Padmanchita Karadvaya
Shubhadastu Sada Devi Skandamata Yashasvini
Navratri Day 6:
Goddess Katyayani is the sixth form of NavDurga.She is a warrior Goddess also known by the name of Bhadrakali and Chandika.She is very popular among female devotees.
Goddess Katyayani instills inner strength , knowledge and power to its devotees.
Katyayani Shubham Dadyad Devi Danavaghatini
Navratri Day 7:
Goddess Kaalratri is the seventh form of NavDurga.This Avatar of Goddess Durga is in its most fiercest form .It is beleived that Maa Kaalratri destroys all the
bad spirits ,Evil power and demons.
Ekaveni Japakarnapura Nagna Kharasthita
Lamboshthi Karnikakarni Tailabhyakta Sharirini
Vardhana Murdhadhwaja Krishna Kalaratrirbhayankari
Navratri Day 8:
Maha Gauri is the eighth incarnation of Goddess Durga. As the name suggest Maa Gauri has a fair complextion . She is also known by the name of Shwetambaradhara.
It is beleived that Mahagauri fulfills all the wishes of her devotees.
Mahagauri destroys all the sufferings and bless the devotess with a peaceful and happy life.
Shwete Vrishesamarudha Shwetambaradhara Shuchih
Mahagauri Shubham Dadyanmahadeva Pramodada
Navratri Day 9:
Goddess Siddhidatri is the ninth form of NavDurga. Maa Siddhidatri possess all type of Siddhis(supernatural power) .
Since Goddess Siddhidatri possess great powers and siddhis she is also worshipped by Gods,Gandharva,Asurs and Yaksha.It also provides direction and energy to
Siddha Gandharva Yakshadyairasurairamarairapi
Sevyamana Sada Bhuyat Siddhida Siddhidayini
During Navratri devotees observe fasts and pray with full faith and devotion. Some fast for all nine days and some fast on 1st and 8th Day or 9th Day.
On 8th Day , also called Ashtami ,devotees break their fast after performing Kanjak Pooja.
Ashtami is a ritual on which nine girls, also called Kanjaks, are invited to the house. The devotee first washes their feet and feed them with delicacies like
Halwa,poori,chana and kheer.
After the feeding is done some form of gift and money is presented to the Kanjaks and then their blessings are taken and the fast is broken.
Ninth day is called Navmi. Some Devotees break their fast and perform Kanjak Pooja on Navami instead of Ashtami.
During Navratri Temples are decorated ,Khetri is sown,people engage in Garba,a kind of indian dance .
Special type of foods are made during fasting.Generally people avoid eating Tamsik food like onions and garlic.Not all types of food can be eaten in Navratri.
Here is a list of foods :
Grains:Grains itself or Flour made form Kuttu(buckwheat),Rajgira(amaranth),Singhara (Water Chestnut).
Milk and Milk Products: All type os Milk and Milk products can be eaten like Curd,Khoya,paneer,ghee.
Fruits: All types of fresh or dried fruits can be eaten.
Vegetables:Potatoes,Sweet potatoes,Colacasia(arbi), Yam,Kachaloo.
Spices: Rock Salt(Sendha Namak) , Black Pepper, Cardamom , Ajwain , Dried pomengrate seeds.
Other stuff like Peanut,Sabudana,Makhana,Coconut are also allowed.
Onion,Garlic,egg,non-veg, alchohl should not be consumed on this pious occassion.