Navratri is a nine night festival, dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Durga. It is one of the important religious festivals in India, celebrated with great pomp, affection and zeal. Navratri celebration in India is held twice in a year, first time in April-May and second time in September-October relatively known as Chaitra month and Ashwin (Sharad) month according to Hindu calendar. From both Navratri festivals, Ashwin Navratri is more popular than Chaitra Navratri. Navratri celebrations include many rituals, strictly vegetarian diet and different procedures of Navratri Puja. People observe all rituals, fasts, kanyak puja and feast with great devotion in honor of supreme mother Goddess Shakti. She is also known as various names like Maa Durga, Parvati, Ambe Maa, Kaali Maa, Gauri, Bhavani, Mahishasuramardini, Saraswati and many more.
Navratri celebration has different rituals, a different way and has a unique charm in every states of India. Gujarat, West Bengal, Himachal, Kerala and Punjab’s people across the country celebrate it with a unique way and immense enthusiasm. In the metropolitan cities, the celebrations of Navratri have a very commercial feel to it but the traditional way of celebrating Navratri is extreme different and spritual.
How to Celebrate Navratri in India
Read below on, how to celebrate Navratri continuously nine days in different states of India.
In Gujarat, Navratri is one of the most famous religious festivals. Navratri celebrations include traditional dances of Gujarat ‘Dandiya Raas’ and ‘Garba Raas’. Garba and Dandiya Raas are performed by every Gujrati men and women. Generally women wear vibrant and grand costumes while men wear colorful dresses.
Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja in West Bengal, India. During Navratri, Bengalis worship huge idols of Godess Durga, which are set up in huge Pandals everywhere. Durga Puja is performed spritually till nine days with great splendor and zeal. All people wear new cloths and visit to these pandals and after nine days idols are immersed in water.
In Maharashtra, Navratri celebration is different to some extent. Here Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga and continuously worshipped till nine days while tenth day is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati. In Maharashtra, Navratri is an auspicious time to buy new homes or car, new ornaments or start any new ventures. Garba and Dandiya night celebrations are also planned in every locality, whole family and friends enjoy this festive activity with great spirit. In Mumbai, dancing (Garbad and Dandiya) are organized in large stadiums and clubs throughout the city.
This state adds a traditional touch in celebration of Navratri. First three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the next three days are dedicated to Saraswati and last three days, Goddess Durga is worshipped. In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh married women invite other married women and share gifts like bangles, kumkum, earrings and flowers among themselves. These items are symbolic of their marital status and then they prayers for their husbands’ long lives. In these three regions, women prepare 'Bommai Kolu', a special placing of dolls in beautiful costumes that is decorated with flowers and new ornaments on specially prepared steps.
South India state Kerala celebrates eighth, ninth and tenth day of Navratri festival with giant fervor. According to rituals, on Ashtami Books and Musical instruments has been worshipped in the honor of Goddess Saraswati. On this propitious day people pray to the Goddess to bless them with knowledge and wisdom. On Navami, devotees visit the Kottayam temple, dedicated to Goddess Sraswati.
In Punjab, Navratri celebration has some unique style. People observe fasting for seven days and on the eighth day devotees worship nine little girls symbolically represents nine forms of Goddess Durga. Puris, halwa and chanas are offered to the nine little girls in meal and red chunri (scarf) gifted after food. Punjabis organized Jagran for a whole night and sing devotional songs.
Navratri celebrations in India are organized in every nook and corner with some differences in rituals. Every region has something unique to show during Navratri.