Navratri

Navrati is the Hindu festival worshipping Shakti. The word Navaratri means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The 10th day is commonly referred to as Dusshera.

The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar.

Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. The Navratri festival becomes ‘ten days festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashmi which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini Durga are worshipped with fervor and devotion.

Navratri is a time if prayer, of fasting and celebrating. The evenings are filled with color and dancing (garba) and dandiya dance. Devotees plant 9 pulses and seeds in a pot on the first day of Navratri and venerate the plant for nine days. On the 10th day the plant is immersed in flowing water.

Each morning and evening we light a joth (oil lamp) to worship the Goddess and enlighten the soul. Meat is strictly forbidden during this time and a fast is kept.

Navaratri is celebrated four times a year. They are Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, the Sharada Navaratri, and the Paush/Magha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasanta Navaratri of the Vasanta kala are very important.

The nine forms of the Goddess are Shailputri, Siddhidhatri, Mahagauri, Kaalratri, Katyayini, Skandmata, Kushmanda, Chandraghanta, and Brahmcharini.

After Navratri and Dusshera have passed, Karvachot and then Diwali will arrive.

Will post details on Karvachot and Diwali soon.

Special thanks to Wikipedia for the great articles and references.

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