The great and grand festival of Navratri 2023 is approaching now. All of you might be feeling thrilled after seeing that you will celebrate this festival in a grand way. The festival of Navratri is very prominent and favorite among those Hindus who are Shaktas (devotees of Goddess Durga). When the festival of Navratri approaches in the month of October in the Hindu month of Ashwin then all the devotees of the Goddess celebrate this festival with ardent devotion towards her. This festival gives us a direct message that “goodness always prevails and wins over evil.”
Navratri 2023 dates
The festival of Navratri will start during this year 2023 on Sunday 15 October 2023 and will end on Tuesday 24 October 2023.
Why Navratri is celebrated for 9 days?
When we talk about why is Navratri celebrated for 9 days then we will see many valid reasons behind it. Goddess Durga fought with the demon Mahishasura or 9 days and killed him on the 10th day. On the same hand she also fought with the two demons Shumbha and Nishumba for 9 days. On the 10th day she killed and destroyed both the demons. Even Lord Ram fought with the supporters of Ravana for 9 days and on the 10th day he defeated the demon Ravana. For all these reasons Navratri is celebrated for 9 days and on the 10th day the festival of Vijay Dashmi is held with ardent devotion towards the Goddess Durga.
Why Navratri fasting?
There are many reasons to keep fast during the days of Navratri festival. Most Hindus keep fast during these 9 days to please the Goddess Durga and get her favor to have a peaceful, happy and prosperous life. Even then when you observe fast during the days of Navratri then foods related to the fast should be cooked according to the prescribed rules. Take for example do not cook food mixed with garlic and onion. While keeping a fast during the days of Navratri you should avoid eating foods like rice flour, wheat flour, legumes, corn flour, non-veg foods like meat and eggs. You should also avoid bad habits like smoking and drinking wine during the 9 days of Navratri festival.
Why Navratri is celebrated before Dussehra?
It is being said that before fighting his last battle with Ravana Lord Ram worshipped Goddess Durga on the 9th night to get victory. Thus Navratri festival is held before Dussehra in honor of Lord Ram’s victory over Ravana.
How Navratri is celebrated?
When the festival of Navratri arrives in the month of October then people especially the Hindus celebrate it in many ways. Many among them have fasts during the 9 days of this festival. Others like the people of Gujarat hold this festival by dancing and singing in honor of the Goddess Durga. Most people hold strict fasts during which they do not eat prohibited foods. They also do not drink beverages like wine and smoke. The people of Gujarat celebrate this festival with Garba dance. During the festival of Navratri the Goddess Durga is worshipped during 9 days along with her nine divine forms.
How Navratri started?
There are many interesting stories about how the festival of Navratri started. Take for example the Goddess Durga destroyed demons like Mahishasura, Shumbha and Nishumbha after fighting with them for 9 days. Thus from this time the festival of Navratri started. Another story tells us how Lord Ram killed the demon Ravana along with his supporters after fighting them for 9 days. For this reason also the festival of Navaratri started. This festival simply tells us that those who move on the path of sin and evil, they get destroyed in the end.
How Navratri colors are decided?
The nine colors of Navratri are decided according to the nine divine forms of Goddess Durga. These nine forms are worshipped according to the nine dates of tithis of Navratri. Take for example on the 1st day of Navratri Goddess Shailputri is worshipped. On the 2nd day of Navratri Goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped. On the 3rd day of Navratri Goddess Chandra Ghanta is worshipped.
On the 4th day of Navratri Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped. On the 5th day of Navratri Goddess Skanda mata is worshipped. On the 6th house of Navratri Goddess Katyayni is worshipped. On the 7th day of Navratri Goddess Kaal Ratri is worshipped. On the 8th day of Navratri Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped. On the 9th day of Navratri Goddess Siddhi Datri is worshipped. Finally on the 10th day of Navratri festival Goddess Durga is worshipped in her supreme form. The colors of Navratri are selected according to the 9 forms of Goddess Durga.
How Navratri is originated?
The word of Navratri originated from the Sanskrit word-Nava means 9 and ratri that means nights. It designates the festival of Navratri that was started in honor of Goddess Durga who fought with demons like Mahishasura, Shumbha and Nishumbha for 9 days and finally destroyed them.
How to fast in Navratri?
You can observe fasts during Navratri in many ways. Most Hindus like to eat Sago (Sabu Dana-Kichidi) during the 9 days of Navratri festival. Others remain without food during the entire day and break their fast in the evening hours. Even then we suggest you to avoid taking non vegetarian food like meat, fish and eggs during the 9 days of Navratri festival. You should also avoid bad habits like smoking and drinking wine during the 9 days of this occasion.
What Navratri means?
Navratri means the 9 divine nights during which the Goddess Durga is worshipped with her 9 divine forms. These 9 divine forms are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandra Ghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayni, Kaal Ratri, Mahagauri and Siddhi Datri.
What Navratri teach us?
The festival of Navratri teaches us to move on the path of goodness as “Goodness always prevails and wins over evil.”
What to eat in Navratri?
When the festival of Navratri comes then you can eat those foods that are consumed during fasts in the 9 days of this festival. Take for example you can eat Sago (Sabhu-dana kichidi), milk, fruits and sweets made from mava. Besides this you can also eat cashew nuts, almonds, raisins, bananas, lemon as well as honey when you have fasts during the days of Navratri festival. Navratri Dishes to eat in Navratri.
What not to do in Navratri?
While celebrating the festival of Navratri you should avoid doing the following things:-
1) Do not cut your nails.
2) Do not get a haircut.
3) Do not eat non vegetarian foods like meat, eggs and fish.
4) Prohibit eating garlic and onion.
5) Do not take hard drinks like wine.
6) Do not smoke cigarettes.
7) Do not wear leather products like belts and shoes.
Why Navratri is celebrated?
The story of demon Mahishasura
There are many reasons and stories about why the festival of Navratri is celebrated? Legends say that in ancient times there was a very powerful demon named Mahishasura. He conquered all the three worlds and tortured all people and even the deities who were living in heaven. After taking possession of the entire three worlds he started ruling the entire creation. Yet he used to torture all those people who were on the right path.
This made all the deities very much worried about this demon. Thus all the deities invoked Goddess Durga with prayers and hyms. Thus being pleased with the prayers and worship of the deities the Goddess appeared and took incarnation. After having a glimpse of the divine Goddess all the deities become happy and offered their weapons to her as a gift so that she may destroy all the demons with these weapons. Then after getting all the divine weapons and invincible boons the Goddess Durga challenged Mahishasura and his entire army for a battle. That demon accepted that challenge and ordered his entire army to destroy her. Even yet his entire army could not prevail over the Goddess as she was holding invincible weapons in her 18 hands and was destroying that army with the greatest ease. She was sitting on a grand Lion who was fierce and brave plus he was roaring in a terrifying way.
Due to this reason Goddess Durga killed all the warriors and army commanders of Mahishasura. In the end that demon attacked that Goddess in the form of a dangerous Buffalo. Even then he could not prevail over the Goddess and in the end she took her scimitar and cut of his head. In this way the viscous demon Mahishasura got destroyed and all the people in the three worlds felt relieved and safe. Even the deities got back their heaven and they worshipped and thanked the Goddess Durga.
The story of demons Shumbha and Nishumbha
There is one more interesting story about why the festival of Navratri is celebrated. In olden times there were two brothers Shumbha and Nishumbha who were demons. They came on the earth from the nether worlds to the grand pilgrimage spot of Pushkar. There they did penance to gratify Lord Brahma and then that deity appeared in front of those two demons and asked them to take desired boons.
Those two demons asked Lord Brahma to give them the boon of being immortal so that they may live forever and might not die. However Lord Brahma explained them the law of the entire creation that all creatures who take birth have to die when their death approaches. Then those demons Shumbha and Nishumbha asked Lord Brahma to give them a boon that they will be killed by a woman who will be brave and valiant and will be present and prevail in this creation since many ages.
Lord Brahma gave the same boon to these two demon brothers and vanished away. After getting such kind of boon Shumbha and Nishumbha became invincible and they conquered all the kings of the entire earth. Then they conquered the other worlds and even the divine places where deities were living. Due to this reason the deities left their heaven and sought refuge in the caves of the Himalayas. They spend their time in these caves for 1000 years. Then they became very much anxious and worried about when they will get back their heaven and get rid of those two demons named Shumbha and Nishumbha. Then all these deities came out of these caves and started to chant hyms and pray to the Goddess who was destined to kill and destroy those two demon brothers. By good fortune at the same time Goddess Parvati the wife of Lord Shiva came there to take bath in the holy river of Ganga. She asked those deities for what purpose and whom they were praying to? Then the deities told her about how they lost their heaven due to those demons Shumbha and Nishumbha. For this reason they were praying and invoking the Goddess Shakti who will destroy those two demons along with their supporters. At the same time a miracle happened.
A good looking and grand Goddess came out of the body of Parvati. Her name was Kaushiki and she was the second part of Goddess Durga. That Goddess Kaushiki told the deities that she will destroy those two demons Shumbha and Nishumbha within a short time. Then she vanished and started staying on the topmost part of the Himalayas. One day two demons Chanda and Munda and some other supporters of Shumbha and Nishumbha came to that spot while doing hunting. When they saw the grand and beautiful form of Goddess Kaushiki then they said to one another that this woman is the best on this entire earth to become the wife of their masters Shumbha or Nishumbha. Then Chand and Munda came back to their masters Shumbha and Nishumbha and told them about Kaushiki who could become the wife of any one of them. Then those demons Shumbha and Nishumbha send their messenger Sugriva to that Goddess with an invitation to come to their palace and get married to any one of those two brothers. That messenger Sugriva told the message of Shumbha and Nishumbha to the Goddess Kaushiki.
After hearing that message the Goddess told him that she took an oath during her teenage that she will marry that man who will defeat her in battle and crush her pride. The Goddess told Sugriva to tell her message to Shumbha and Nishumbha so that they might come and defeat her in battle then she will become the wife of any one of them. That Sugriva came back to Shumbha and Nishumbha and told them the message of Goddess Kaushiki. After hearing that message Shumbha and Nishumbha became annoyed and told their commander Dhumra Lochan to take an army of 60,000 demon warriors and capture the Goddess Kaushiki and bring her to their palace. Dhumra Lochan tried to do the same but the invincible Kaushiki destroyed him along with his army.
When Shumbha and Nishumbha came to know about it then they came themselves to face that Goddess who was a sworn enemy of all the demons. These two demons fought with that Goddess along with their other demon warriors who were destroyed by other divine parts of the Goddess. In the end Goddess Kaushiki faced the demon Nishumbha and cut of his head with her sword. Then the demon Shumbha also faced Kaushiki and fought with the greatest valor but in the end the Goddess destroyed him with her dangerous trident. After this peace and happiness came back in the three worlds. All the deities got back their heaven and became happy. They chanted hyms and worshipped the Goddess Kaushiki with ardent devotion and thanked her to get them rid of those two viscous demons Shumbha and Nishumbha.
The story of Lord Ram’s victory over demon king Ravana
During the ancient of age of Tetra yuga there was a demon king named Ravana who ruled Lanka and yet with his valor he conquered the three worlds. He also defeated the deities in battle and took possession of their heaven. He used to torture those people who worshipped the deities and used to conduct holy sacrifices in the honor of these deities. After getting too much tortured by the demon king Ravana all the deities prayed to Lord Vishnu to help them and get rid of that demon who became a menace to the three worlds. Then Lord Vishnu assured all the deities that soon he will be born as a human being in the solar clan of King Dashratha as his eldest son.
On the appropriate time Lord Vishnu was born as Ram the eldest son of King Dashratha along with Laxshman, Bharat and Shatrughan who were his younger brothers. After completing his education Ram got married to Sita who was the princess and daughter of King Janaka the ruler of Mithila. After getting married Lord Ram was about to become the king of Ayodhya according to the desire of his father. Even yet then Kakeye the step mother of Ram told him to go to exile or forest for 14 years.
Ram agreed to this and went to the exile with his wife Sita and younger brother Laxshman. While living in exile the demon king Ravana from Lanka played a deceit against Ram and kidnapped his wife Sita and took her to Lanka. In order to destroy demon Ravana and his entire clan and to get back his wife Sita Lord Ram made friendship with Sugriva who got the kingdom of Kishkindha with his help. Then Lord Ram gathered a great and fierce army that consisted monkey warriors and dangerous beers that had giant shaped bodies. He got made a great bridge from stones and reached Lanka after crossing the Indian Ocean along with his army and supporters.
Finally Lord Ram and his all supporters challenged the demon king Ravana and his entire clan people to fight a battle. Then a fierce battle took place for 9 days during which all the warriors and male family members of Ravana were killed. On the ninth night Lord Ram decided to please and appease the Goddess Durga. He worshiped the Goddess with ardent devotion and she gave him the boon to get victory over the demon king Ravana the king of Lanka. Finally on the 10th day Ram and Ravana fought a fierce duel with one another and in the end Ram defeated as well as killed Ravana. In this way he got back Sita his wife and handed over the kingdom of Lanka to Vibhishana the younger brother of Ravana.
Due to this reason the festival of Navratri is celebrated for 9 days and on the 10th day the festival of Vijay Dashmi is held. During all these days of Navratri Goddess Durga and her different forms are worshipped with ardent devotion to get her favor.