What is Navratri?
(Sharad) Navratri is a 9 day festival held across Hindu spheres to celebrate Durga's victory against her 9 day long battle with a demon named Mahishasur. It's usually celebrated in October in a variety of ways based on ethnic backgrounds. Let's take a quick trip around India to discover...
- Celebrated over the course of 9 nights
- It includes fasting on either the first day, or partially fasting all 9 days
- Prayers are dedicated to a clay pot called "garbo," that holds diyas inside
- Traditional dances called "raas & garba" are also performed
- Celebrated with devotees fasting for the first 7 days of the festival
- Near the end of the festival, 9 young girls are honored with gifts
West Bengal, Odisha, Assam & Bihar
- Celebrated as "Durga Puja" and is a huge celebration
- Takes places during the last 4 days of the festival
- People dress in new clothes and Bengali women wear traditional white saris with red borders
- The festival is called "Dasara" (also known as Vijayadasami, Dussehra, Navratri or Durgotsav)
- It celebrates Lord Rama’s victory over the ten-headed asura king Ravana, as described in the Ramayan
- Celebrated in honor of the Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati
- One especially unique aspect of the celebrations here is the decoration of a 9-step staircase called the "Kolu / Golu"
- Each step is adorned with dolls which are passed down generations.
- Celebrated during the last 3 days
- A very important significance is placed on knowledge and learning
- For this reason, many books and musical instruments are placed around idols the Goddess Saraswati. At the end, the books are taken down for reading