Navaratri

This nine-day festival of the Hindus is celebrated in almost all parts of India in the month of Ashvina, and is marked by fasting and praying to different aspects of Devi.

Overview

Nava means “nine” and ratri means “night,” so the Navaratri is a festival held for nine nights. There are two Nava Ratris cycles in each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring Nava Ratris occur during the first nine lunar nights of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra. This corresponds to March-April on the Western calendar. The fall Nava Ratris occur during the first nine lunar nights of the bright fortnight of the month of Aasvini. This corresponds to September/October on the Western calendar. The fall Nava Ratris are more popular, but both Nava Ratris are a time of fasting, purification and spiritual renewal. Traditionally, the Nava Ratris are an auspicious time for starting new ventures such as moving into a new home or starting a business.

The fall time Nava Ratris especially focus on the worship of Devi in all her forms. Here is a nice interpretation of the fall season Nava Ratris.

The nine nights are divided into three sets of three nights each to adore three different aspects of the Goddess. On the first three nights the Goddess Durga is invoked as a spiritual force to destroy all impurities, vices and defects. On the second set of three nights the Goddess Lakshmi is adored as the giver of spiritual wealth. The final set of three nights is spent in worship of the Goddess Sarasvati, who is the embodiment of wisdom. In order to have full success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the Goddess, who first destroys impurities from the heart, then endows the worshipper with spiritual powers, and finally gives the maturity of wisdom to know how to employ these great powers. Hence the nine nights of worship. Most common of all is the traditional Ras Garba dances that are performed during these Nava Ratris, This dance is traditionally a Gujarati custom, but it is quickly becoming the main focus of the Nava Ratri celebrations in the West.

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