India is a land of festivals, where most of these festivities celebrate ‘the victory of the good over the bad.’ Navaratri is one such grand festival, which people celebrate with enthusiasm all over the land. Navaratri, too, celebrates the ultimate triumph of virtue over vice, where the divine powers representing the good annihilate the wicked demons, denoting the bad for the establishment of justice and the welfare of the society.
Navaratri denotes 9 auspicious nights that fall during Shukla Paksha, the bright fortnight of the Moon in the month of Ashvini (September-October). Navratri 2021 is observed from 7th to 15th October 2021 in the current year.
While Navaratri celebrations take place across the country, the history, divinities worshiped, and observance all differ from state to state and region to region. Here, let us know briefly about 9 such amazing ‘Avatars’ that this 9-day festival has taken in India. Navaratri, the 9 Nights of the Goddess, is the power time when Goddesses descend to the Earth plane in different forms each night to destroy dark and negative energies.
Durga Pooja in West Bengal
It is in the state of West Bengal that the biggest celebration of Navaratri takes place. Here, it is held as Durga Pooja in honor of the Universal Mother Goddess and as a 10-day festival. In this, the first 9 days mark the fierce battle the Goddess fought with the mighty, bull-faced demon Mahishasura and his forces, while the last day is observed as Vijayadasami, the victorious 10th day of her ultimate triumph over the demonic forces. People install the idols of Durga and other Goddesses in Pandals, the makeshift marquees in many places, offer worship to them, and then immerse these in water bodies on the last day. It is also believed that Durga visits her parent’s home during the Navaratri time.
Dussehra – Navaratri of North India
The Navaratri celebrated in the capital city of Delhi, and much of the northern parts of the country is associated with the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Rama fought a fierce battle with Ravana and his demonic forces during these 9 days and slew the mighty Asura on the last 10th day of Vijayadasami, which is celebrated as Dussehra. While people enact anecdotes from Ramayana at many places during Navaratri nights, huge effigies of Ravana, his brother, and son are set on fire on Dussehra occasion to mark Rama’s resounding victory.
Grand Navaratri celebrations take place in Gujarat state in honor of the 9 aspects of Goddess Shakti, the universal feminine energy. People offer prayers principally to Garbo, the clay pot, representing Atma, the soul during the festival, while ladies perform the famous Garba dance. Besides, with Gujarat also being Lord Krishna’s place, people revel in performing Dandiya Raas in memory of the famous Raas Leela, the divine dance Krishna performed with the cowherdesses, as per legends.
Dasara in Karnataka
Karnataka is known for its Dasara, as they call Navaratri there. While people decorate temples and offer special worships to Goddesses, big celebrations occur in the historical town of Mysore, where grand processions involving elephants and horses are taken out as the festival's high point.
Tamil Nadu’s Navaratri
In this Tamil-speaking land, the 9-day festival focuses on the 3 principal Goddesses, Durga or Parvati, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, who rule over valor, wealth, and scholarship cum wisdom, respectively. People display tastefully decorated, colorful dolls in neat arrangements in their houses during Navaratri. Called Golu, these dolls are on Gods, Goddesses, saints, legendary happenings, and on religious, historical, and cultural themes. They also celebrate the last day as Saraswati Pooja or Ayudha Pooja, when they worship the Goddess of Learning along with the tools, instruments, or gadgets people work with to earn their livelihoods.
Navaratri in Maharashtra
Maharashtra Navaratri involves the installing of a sacred pot, made of copper or brass, filled with water, and kept on a mound of rice, and worshiping it on all the 9 days.
Here, people worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati during Navaratri. They also decorate and set up Bathukamma, made of flowers, as a form of Navaratri Goddess and pray to her.
People here dedicate the festival to Devi, place her images on decorated swings, and swing them as per the tunes of the devotional songs they sing during the occasion. The festivities conclude with Maha Arti on the last day.
Navaratri of Bihar
Bihar is the birthplace of Goddess Sita, where Navaratri is celebrated in spring and also in autumn. While Durga is honored in the spring Navaratri, the other one is associated with Rama and Ramayana.
Now that we have understood the greatness of Navaratri let us observe Navratri 2021 with faith, devotion, and enthusiasm and seek divine grace for a blessed life.
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