The Hindu Festival, Navratri, Nava meaning nine, and Ratri meaning nights, is typically observed in the fall between the months of September and October, although specific dates are determined in accordance to the lunar calendar and can vary each year. In some parts of India, a Navaratri festival is celebrated in the spring as well as the fall (Fuller) and is a nine night, ten day festival, in which the Mother Goddess and her various forms are celebrated each day .
During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped, signify various traits that the goddess influences us with Navratri. This festival is observed in most parts of India, particularly in northern India, eastern and western India, although the nine Devis worshiped during this time period depend on the tradition of the region in which the festival is being celebrated (Navratri). Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga.Chanting of mantras and renditions of bhajans and folk songs usually accompany the puja rituals for nine consecutive days of Navratri. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion. Her various incarnations – Kumari, Parvati and Kali – are worshiped during these days. Women, especially in Maharashtra and Gujarat, adorn themselves with 9 different colors which are allocated to each day of Navratri.
The color of the day is decided on the weekday. Each weekday is ruled by one the planets or Navgrahas and accordingly colors are assigned to each day. These nine days are a reminder to be a good sadhak (seeker).Nevertheless, the focal point of every garba circle is the small Goddess shrine erected by each community to mark the beginning of the festival, on the first day of the Hindu month of Ashwin. Consequently, within each region various styles of the Navratri Festival are practiced and ritualized . However, the central, unifying goal of this observance is to “propitiate Shakti, the Goddess in Her aspect as Power, to bestow upon man all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, and all other potent powers”. Navaratri celebrates the defeat of the buffalo-demon Mahisasura by the Great Goddess, Devi or Shakti.
In this myth, Mahisasura had preformed severe penances in order to win the favor of the deity Brahma. In doing so, he was granted the blessing of invincibility against all males . Viewing women as a non-threat, Mahisasura saw himself as immortal and so began to wreak havoc in the heavens and on earth . “Mahisasura soon ousted the gods from the heavens and to destroy the order of the universe. The earthen pot is symbol of human body and the lighten lamp inside signifies the divine soul. The festival which is devoted to the Mother Goddess known variously as Durga, Kali, Bhavani, Amba, and Chandika, has been celebrated in its most unique and different nature in various parts of India and abroad with devotional songs, bhajans and cultural programs with the world renowned Garba or Dandiya Raas in the state of Gujarat.
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