‘Navaratri’ means ‘nine nights.’ ‘Nava’ means ‘nine,’ and ‘Ratri’ means ‘night.’
Navaratri is a biannual and one of the most revered Hindu festivals observed in the honour of Mother Goddess Durga. It spans over nine nights (and ten days), first in the month of Chaitra (March/April of the Gregorian calendar) and again in the month of Sharada. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Hindu Indian cultural sphere. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navaratri. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navaratri. The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October. It takes place at the same time as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.
Devi Puja: Honouring the Omnipresent Energy
Devi represents the omnipresent cosmic Energy. The whole Creation is permeated by this Energy. The prosperity that we enjoy in our daily lives is a manifestation of Devi. Mother Divine serves us in so many forms. The forms of our mother, father, friends, husband, wife, son, daughter and also the Guru.
Sharada Navaratri is the most celebrated of the four Navaratri, named after Sharada which means autumn. It commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvini. The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during this month, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October. The exact dates of the festival are determined according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, and sometimes the festival may be held for a day more or a day less depending on the adjustments for sun and moon movements and the leap year. In many regions, the festival falls after the autumn harvest, and in others, during harvest.
Chaitra Navaratri, also called Vasantha Navaratri, is the second most celebrated Navaratri, named after vasanta which means spring. It is observed during the lunar month of Chaitra (March–April). The festival is devoted to goddess Durga, whose nine forms are worshipped on nine days. The last day is also Ram Navami, the birthday of Rama. For this reason, it is also called Rama Navaratri by some people.
Magha Navaratri is observed during the lunar month of Magha (January–February). This Navaratri is also known as Gupt (secret) Navaratri. The fifth day of this festival is often independently observed as Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami, the official start of spring in the Hindu tradition, wherein goddess Saraswati is revered through arts, music, writing, and kite flying.
Ashada Navaratri, also known as Gupta Navaratri, is observed during the lunar month of Ashadha (June–July), during the start of the monsoon season. Ashada Navaratri is observed regionally or by individuals.
The world we are living in is a fast-paced one with hardly any time for oneself. The nine days of Navratri are designed to melt down the year-long tiredness and restore mental cool. If one is a little heedful to follow a sattvic diet and meditate regularly there is the possibility of a deep body-mind detox in just a span of nine days. The Art of Living live Navaratri celebrations can be a nice chance to soak in the chants and meditate effortlessly.