Home / Specials / Navratri 2022: Significance and celebration of the holy festival

The holy festival Navratri begins today, it will be celebrated by Hindus throughout the world for the next nine days. As per Hindu rituals, Navratri is celebrated four times a year but only two of them are celebrated on a large scale- Chaitra Navratri and Shardiya Navratri.

While Chaitra Navratri falls during the spring season, Shardiya Navaratri is usually celebrated at the start of the Autumn season.

Navratri literally translates to nine nights in Sanskrit, and it is celebrated to worship Goddess Durga and her nine avatars known as Navdurga.

History of Navratri

The festival of Navratri marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the ‘Asur’ or Demon Mahishasura.

The legend goes, Mahishasura had been granted the wish of immortality because of his unwavering devotion to Lord Brahma but the God put one condition to his immortality- only a woman could kill him, but the demon thought himself too powerful to be defeated by a woman.

Soon enough, Mahishasura began terrorizing the people and the gods were helpless because of his immortality.

In order to overcome the threat of Mahishasura, Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma came together to create Goddess Durga. The gods equipped her with a lot of weapons to defeat the demon.

The fight between Mahishasura and Goddess Durga went on for 10 days and the demon was defeated only after he transformed into a buffalo.

How is Navratri celebrated throughout the country?

Each day of Navratri is associated with an incarnation of Goddess Durga. People observe ritualistic fasts, recite slokas dedicated to each goddess, don new clothes, offer bhog, and clean their homes during these nine days. They ask the goddess for her favour so that they may live prosperous, joyful, and fulfilling lives.

In parts of North India including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh ‘Ramlila’ is organised which starts on the first day of Navratri and ends on the occasion of ‘Dusserah’. During the Ramlila, the story of Lord Ram's victory over Ravan is played out and Ravan's effigies burn on the night of Dussehra.

In parts of West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, and Bihar, a procession is taken out on the occasion of Vijayadashami where statues of Maa Durga are immersed in a river or sea.

In many parts of the country, the festival is celebrated with much vigour by performing Garba and Dandiya Raas. While Garba is a traditional dance in which participants clap their hands and move in a circle while making rhythmic gestures, Dandiya Raas involves dancing with dandiya sticks to the beat of the music.

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