About Navratri Festival
Navratri or the festival of nine nights is a celebration commemorating the Hindu goddess Durga. Nine avatars or forms of the Goddess are worshipped during the nine day span. The tenth day is largely celebrated as Dussehra. It is a significant festival in India and is celebrated with vigour and enthusiasm in almost all states of India.
Navratri is basically a festival that celebrates the powerful form of Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated annually usually in October but since it is celebrated as per the Hindu calendar, the dates can vary. There are many variations of the same festival and it is celebrated a total of four times in a year. In North India, fasting is usually done during the Navratri period and time is spent in prayer and meditation. The nine forms of Goddess celebrated and worshipped during the festival are Durga, Amba, Bhadrakali, Annapoorna, Sarvamangla, Bhairavi, Lalita, Chandika, Bhavani and Mookambika.
Forms of Navratri
The nine days in this variant of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Shakti that represents energy or power. Celebrations focus on prayers and dances that celebrate the Goddess.
The most widely celebrated form of the festival; it is celebrated during Sharad season (winters).
This festival celebrates the nine forms of Goddess Shakti.
It is celebrated while commemorating the nine forms of Goddess Shakti, the beginning of Vasnata Navartri also marks the beginning of the Hindu calendar year.
The celebrations also differ markedly among different regions and northern India largely focuses on fasting and prayers during the festival while in Gujarat, the festival is celebrated with various dance forms and Garba dance is usually performed during the festival. In parts of West Bengal, the festival is celebrated all night long with statues of Goddess Durga erected in various regions. The idols are worshipped and immersed in the river after the culmination of the festivities. Kanya worshipping or the worshipping of unmarried pre pubescent girls is also a wide practice. Gujarat has been a frontrunner in celebrations and the government has actively promoted celebrations and it is fairly common for the Indian community to celebrate the festival even in other countries. USA, UK, Malaysia and Singapore are major centres where Indian origin people actively partake in celebrations commemorating the festival of Navratri.
In Kerala, the Goddess Sararwati or the Goddess of knowledge is celebrated and worshipped while Mysore celebrates Navratri with grand celebrations and festivities. The celebrations here range over a period of ten days and processions are carried out with elephants. While the basic idea of worshipping the nine forms of the Goddess remains the same, it has some variants across different regions. While traditionally the festival was celebrated as isolated events nowadays, communities have come together in recent times and now the festival is celebrated as a community festival. Large scale organisations usually organise the festival and the entire city is often turned into a colourful and lighted destination during the period of Navratri.