Like every year, autumn has come up with sun-kissed days, dreamy nights, and Navratri– the biggest Hindu festival. The holy festival is only a few days away from us. Evenings are preceded with festivals, supermarkets are shining with glittering lights, and buildings are wrapped by colorful bulbs. Have you ever thought from where the concept of this holy festival originated? As the entire country is getting ready to welcome goddess Durga, let’s explore some interesting facts about this majestic festival.
What’s Mythology Saying?
This festival is endowed with a great mythological significance. According to Hindu Sastra, it is an emblem of the victory of good force over evil. According to Markendeya Purana, three legends are associated with this festival. What are these three legends? Let’s check them out:
The Mahishashura Legend
Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishashur in a terrible battle of nine days. It was predestined that no other god but goddess Durga could kill Mahishashur. The demon took advantage of this and brutally tormented the gods. In the end, the Goddess killed him effortlessly. Henceforth, this period of nine days is celebrated as Navratri. In Markendeya Purana, this story is narrated.
The Lotus Legend of Rama
The second legend narrates the story of Lord Rama fighting against the fiend King Ravana to free his wife Seeta. Before starting the battle, he thought of arranging a Havana to take blessings from Ma Durga, Goddess of Shakti (Power). To complete this Havana, he had to offer 108 lotus flowers to Ma Durga but he found only 107 flowers. Therefore, he decided to offer his eye, which was blue and lotus-like. Ma Durga was pleased to see his devotion. She appeared before him and showered him with her blessings. With the blessings of the Goddess, Rama won the battle. The tradition of “Durga Puja” roots back to Rama’s worship of Ma Durga in the spring.
The Legend of Uma
This legend is popular mainly in East India. It narrates the story of Uma, who is the pretty daughter of Daksha (Who was the King of the Himalaya). She wanted to marry Lord Shiva but Daksha disliked Shiva. Without her father’s consent, Uma got married to Shiva and Daksha broke all relationships with his daughter. He planned a Yagna and invited everyone except Lord Shiva. This incident deeply inflicts Uma and she immolated herself in the holy fire of Yagna. Uma then took rebirth as Parvati and reunited with Shiva again. As per the mythology, followed by this incident, the tradition of Durga Puja started as the return of Uma or Parvati to her father’s home.
All the legends convey the message that good will always defeat evil. This is one of the most popular Indian festivals that celebrates the victory of good over the evil.
Navratri comes up with lots of excitements and rituals. Let’s have a glimpse of some interesting rituals of this festival:
Navratri Puja Vidhi
Indians keep burning lams continuously for these nine days. It is believed that the light of the burning lamp destroys all the negative and evil forces. It is one way of worshiping positive power called “Shakti”.
Hindus keep fast on these nine days. Some people maintain fasting only on the first day. They do not keep their stomach empty. There are certain dishes that they can eat during this fasting.
Since positive force is always in a battle with the negativity during these nine days, people use to stay awake even in the night. Sleeping is considered as inauspicious during this phase.
Lifestyle during these Nine Days
Hindus keep their houses clean to welcome the Goddess in this time of the year. They try to maintain a healthy and spiritual life during Navratri.
The significance of the Nine Day
DAY 1 TO DAY 3
In the initial three days (Tamasic), the vitality and power of the Goddess are adored as Kumari, Parvati, and Kali.
DAY 4 TO DAY 6
The following three days are festivity of rajasic propensities or otherworldly riches in the type of GODDESS LAKSHMI (the goddess of riches). It is expected that the fourth to multi-day festivities fill the void, which is made in the wake of overcoming the self-image, outrage, desire, and other creature sense and annihilating it.
DAY 7 TO DAY 8
In the following two days, Goddess Saraswati is venerated and supplications are offered to look for profound information and a yagna is performed on the eighth day which involves a forfeit to respect the goddess Durga and furthermore say goodbye to her. The forfeit is made out of ghee and rice pudding known as kheer and sesame seeds.
DAY 9 & 10
The ninth day is known as Mahanavami and Kanya pujan is done where nine young baby girls who haven’t achieved their adolescence are offered blessings and nourishment. The tenth day is a celebration of Dussehra where a shrewd ruler Lord Ravana (representative of evil) was killed by Lord Rama (representative of positive power).
How it is Celebrated in the Different States of India
A standout amongst the most anticipated celebrations in the beautiful territory of Gujarat is Navratri. Celebrated on the initial nine long stretches of Ashwin month, enthusiasts keep quick for 9 days and love Maa Shakti.
At night, Gujratis use an earthen pot with diyas inside, otherwise called “Garbi”, and ladies perform arti with it. Amid Navratri, Garba move and Dandiya Raas are prominent types of moves performed by the two people, wearing their conventional dresses.
West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, & Bihar
In the eastern piece of India including West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Navratri is praised as Durga Puja and it is seen over the most recent four long periods of Navratri. Nowadays are alluded to as Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami. Durga Puja is the primary celebration of the general population of West Bengal.
Durga Puja is commended with incredible ceremony and sparkle in different parts of the states in enormous pandals, where substantial estimated symbols of Goddess Durga on her lion, evil presence Mahishasur, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati are raised. People come wearing their best brilliant dresses. It is an extremely basic sight to see Bengali ladies wearing their conventional red saree, decked up totally. The hints of Dhol, Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh, the aroma of agarbattis fill the air with freshness and immaculateness. The festivals of Durga Puja in West Bengal ought to be “must-watch” for everybody once in his lifetime.
Tamil Nadu celebrates Navratri as a religious festival to look for the favors of Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in the nine unique evenings. These three goddesses are venerated for three days each. Companions, relatives, and neighbors are welcomed and garments, jewelry, desserts, and different endowments are traded among them. One fascinating element as a piece of the festival is the improvement of the “Kolu”, which is really a staircase having 9 stairs, speaking to the 9 evenings and every stair is embellished with delightful dolls, and symbols of divine beings and goddesses. It is said that the dolls that are utilized are given over from age to age.
Andhra Pradesh & Kerala
The “Kolu” festivity of Navratri in Tamil Nadu is commended as “Batukamma Panduga” in Andhra Pradesh, which signifies “Wake up Mother Goddess”. In Kerala, Navratri is praised over the most recent three days and Keralites offer significance to getting the hang of amid these three days.
Karnataka & Maharashtra
Even today individuals in Karnataka commend the 9 evenings of Navratri in an indistinguishable way. In Maharashtra, Navratri begins with Ghatasthapana on day one. It is mounting of a jar using seed sown in the pot. Water is offered in order to get the seeds sprouted. Families worship the pot for nine days offering flowers, fruits, leaves, dry fruits, etc. On a ninth day, Ghat Pooja is done and Ghat is dissolved after taking the sprouted leaves off from the grains.
For the Hindus in Himachal Pradesh, Navratri is an awesome festival. Here, the festival begins on the tenth day of Navratri when the celebration closes in different states. Individuals commend the tenth day, otherwise called “Kullu Dussehra” as the day of the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya.
In Punjab, the general population keeps fast on the initial 7 long stretches of Navratri and ends their fast on Ashthami or Navami by feeding 9 young ladies and a kid, which is known as “Kanjika”. The Punjabis arrange jagratas where they keep alert the entire night and love Goddess Shakti.
The entire nation forgets its poverty and all the sadness during this period. Everyone welcomes Maa Durga with a smiling face.