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Navratri (Navratri) is a Hindu festival that lasts for nine nights (and ten days) and is celebrated every year in autumn. It is celebrated for various reasons and is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the Indian cultural sphere. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navratri.
However, in practice, Navratri There is a post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharda Navratri which is most celebrated in honor of the divine feminine goddess (Durga). The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin, which usually falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
In the eastern and northeastern states of India, Durga Puja Navratri in which the goddess Durga battles and triumphs over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to help restore dharma. In the southern states, the victory of Durga or Kali is celebrated. In all cases, the general theme is the fight and victory of good over evil based on a regionally famous epic or legend such as the Devi Mahatmya.
Celebrations include the worship of nine gods and goddesses over nine days, stage decoration, story recitation, storytelling and chanting of Hindu scriptures. Nine Days is also a major harvest season cultural event, such as competitive design and staging of pandals, family visits to these pandals, and a public celebration of classical and folk dances from Hindu culture. Hindu devotees often observe a fast to celebrate Navratri.
On the last day, called Vijayadashami, the idols are either immersed in a water body such as a river or sea, or the idol symbolizing evil is lit with fireworks, symbolizing the destruction of evil. The festival also begins preparations for Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after Vijayadashami.
Sharda Navratri is the most celebrated of the four Navratri, named after Sharda which means autumn. It begins on the first day (Pratipada) of the Shukla Paksha of the lunar month of Ashwini. The festival is celebrated once every year for nine nights during this month, which usually falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
The exact dates of the Navratri festival are determined according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, and sometimes the festival may be held for one day longer or one day shorter, depending on the movements of the Sun and the Moon and the adjustment of the leap year. In many regions, the festival falls after the autumn harvest and, in others, during the harvest.
The festivities go beyond the goddess Durga and many other deities like Saraswati and Lakshmi. Deities like Ganesha, Kartikeya, Shiva and Parvati are regionally revered. For example, a notable pan-Hindu tradition during Navratri is the worship of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, education, music and art, through Ayudha Puja. On this day, which usually falls on the ninth day of Navratri, the festival of peace and knowledge is celebrated.
Warriors thank, decorate and worship their weapons while praying to Saraswati. Musicians maintain their musical instruments, play and pray. Farmers, carpenters, blacksmiths, pottery makers, shopkeepers and merchants of all kinds likewise decorate and worship their tools, machinery and tools of trade. Students approach their teachers, express their respect, and seek their blessings. This tradition is particularly strong in South India, but is also seen elsewhere.
This Navratri The festival is associated with the major battle between Durga and the demon Mahishasura and celebrates the victory of good over evil. These nine days are entirely dedicated to Durga and her eight incarnations – Navadurga. Each day is associated with the incarnation of the goddess:
Known as Pratipada (first day), this day is associated with Shailputri (“daughter of the mountain”), an incarnation of Parvati. It is in this form that Durga is worshiped as the consort of Shiva; He is depicted riding a bull, Nandi, holding a trident in his right hand and a lotus in his left. Shailputri is considered a direct incarnation of Mahakali. The color of the day is grey, indicating action and enthusiasm. She is believed to be the reincarnation of Sati (Shiva’s first wife, who is then reincarnated as Parvati) and is also known as Hemavati.
On Dwitiya (second day), another incarnation of Goddess Brahmacharini, Parvati is worshipped. In this form, Parvati became the Yogini, her unmarried self. Brahmacharini is worshiped for liberation or salvation and peace and prosperity. Walking barefoot and holding japamala (garlands) and kamandalas (vessels) in her hands, she is a symbol of joy and peace. Blue is the color code for this day. Orange color which signifies peace is sometimes used, yet strong energy flows everywhere.
Tritiya (third day) is reminiscent of the worship of Chandraghanta – the name is derived from the fact that after marrying Shiva, Parvati adorned her forehead with a crescent (crescent moon). She is the epitome of beauty as well as a symbol of bravery. White is the color of the third day, which is a vibrant color and can cheer up everyone’s mood.
Goddess Kushmanda is worshiped on Chaturthi (fourth day). Considered to be the creative force of the universe, Kushmanda is associated with the endowment of vegetation on earth, and hence, the color of the day is red. He is depicted as having eight arms and seated on a tiger.
Skandamata, the goddess worshiped on Panchami (fifth day), is the mother of Skanda (or Kartikeya). The color Royal Blue symbolizes the transformative power of a mother when her child is faced with danger. She is shown riding a ferocious lion, with four arms and holding her child.
Born to sage Katyayan, she is an incarnation of Durga and is shown to show courage which is symbolized by the color yellow. Known as the warrior goddess, she is considered one of the most violent forms of the goddess. In this avatar, Katyayani rides a lion and has four hands. She is a form of Parvati, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati. It is celebrated on Shashtami (sixth day).
Considered to be the most ferocious form of Goddess Durga, Kaalratri is worshiped on Saptami. It is believed that Parvati removed her fair skin to kill the demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. The color of the day is green. The goddess appears in a red dress or tiger skin, there is great anger in her fiery eyes, her skin turns black. The red color depicts prayer and ensures the devotees that the goddess will protect them from harm. It is celebrated on Saptami (seventh day)
Mahagauri is a symbol of wisdom and peace. It is believed that when Kalratri bathed in the Ganges River, she became extremely fair with her dark complexion. The color associated with this day is peacock green which signifies optimism. It is celebrated on Ashtami (the eighth day).
On the last day of the festival also known as Navami (ninth day), people offer prayers to Siddhidatri. Sitting on a lotus, she is believed to possess and bestow all kinds of siddhis. Here he has four hands. Also known as Mahalakshmi, the purple color of the day signifies an appreciation for the beauty of nature. Siddhidatri is the wife of Lord Shiva, Parvati.
Siddhidatri is also seen as the Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva and Shakti. It is believed that a part of Lord Shiva’s body belongs to Goddess Siddhidatri. Hence he is also known as Ardhanarishvara. According to Vedic scriptures, Lord Shiva had attained all the siddhis by worshiping this goddess.
Navratri in Gujarat is one of the major festivals of the state. Traditional festivals include fasting for a day, or partial fasting in each of the nine days by not eating grains or consuming only liquid food, in remembrance of one of the nine aspects of Shakti Devi. The prayer is dedicated to a symbolic clay pot called a garbo, as a reminder of the family and the womb of the universe. The clay pot is lit, and it is believed to represent a spirit (soul, self).
Garba dance is a Navratri tradition in Gujarat. In Gujarat and surrounding Hindu communities such as Malwa, Garbo significance is celebrated through performing arts on all nine days. The group dance called garba is most commonly seen with live orchestra, seasonal ragas, or devotional songs. It is a folk dance in which people from different backgrounds and skills join together and form concentric circles.
Circles can grow or shrink, reach the size of hundreds or thousands of people, dance and clap in circular moves in their traditional costumes. Garba dance sometimes refers to dandiyas (sticks), coordinated movements and sticks between dancers and flirting between the sexes. After the dance, the group and the audience get together and feast. Regionally, the same thematic celebration of community song, music and dance on Navratri is called Garbi.
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