Saturday, September 21, 2013

Navratri Festival

Navaratri festival with ‘nav’ meaning nine and ‘ratri’ meaning nights, is one of the major festival of Hindu community residing all across the globe, the spirit of this festivity lies on the nine aspects of Goddess Durga which is celebrated on each of the nine days. In the autumn season with the pleasant and enjoyable air, before the onset of the festival house are cleaned and ornamented with various decorative items as it is believed that Goddess comes to every home and resides for nine days before advancing to her own abode. In India, it depicts the rich culture and traditions of Incredible India. 

History: There are many legends behind the celebration of this festival. One such is that, Mahisasura (the demon buffalo) got the power of immortality by worshiping Lord Shiva and that nobody could kill him. He started to kill lots of people on earth, so three gods namely Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma created Shakti with lots of divine feminine powers and potency to kill the demon. It is believed that the fierce battle between Goddess and the demon last for nine days and on the tenth day she beheaded him. So, to honor her victory over the demon i.e. good over evil, this festivity is celebrated.

Another legend says that, Lord Rama worshiped Goddess to gain all her powers to be able to fight with the mighty Ravana. He fought with him and killed the ten head Ravana on the tenth day. To commemorate his victory over Ravana, Vijaya Dashami/Dussehra is celebrated.  

According to another legend, this festival is celebrated for the nine days in which Sati (first wife of Lord Shiva) stayed at her parents’ home.

Key Attractions:

• Huge statues of Goddess divine form kept in various places to worship and offer prayer.
• Drama, dance and cultural performances conducted throughout the country.
• Garbha and Dandiya rasa in Gujarat.
• The huge procession for taking the idols to immerse in holy waters.
• Chariots and parades for the commencement of festival in some places.
• Jagrans to sing devotional songs (bhajan) in Punjab.
• Decoration of houses.

This festival has many names including Vijaya Dashami, Dussehra, and Dashain etc. and is celebrated mainly in the parts of South East Asia with various people from countries like India, Nepal, etc. celebrating this festival in the grandest way possible. It is celebrated twice in a year with one celebrated in March/April known as ‘Chaitra Navaratri’ and second celebrated in September/October called as ‘Sharad Navaratri’. Most of the devotees of Goddess Durga fast for nine days and some fast only for two days eating fruits, milk, coffee/tea, boiled potatoes etc.

The festival commence with prayers that are offered to the goddess along with a plate of five fruits and an lamp (Diya) which needs to be lighted day and night and should not be off so, it should be taken care. Offering of prayers should be done very morning and evening after a bath. The mother goddess is worshipped in all her forms which unite of all goddess like Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.
Along with ornamentation of houses, various mouth watering delicacies are prepared like Aloo Tikki, Makhane ki Sabji, Sabudana Kheer, Kadhi, Kuttu ata roti with Kaddu sabzi or aloo sabzi etc.