A sacred festival of Goddess Durga, Navratri is a blissful celebration involving nine nights of worship, dance and music. ‘Navratri’ literally means nine nights in Sanskrit.
It is celebrated twice a year for nine nights, once in the month of Chaitra (April-May) as Rama Navratri and then in Aswayuja (Sept-Oct) as Durga Navratri. The timing of these relate to the autumnal and vernal equinox, when seasons change and the crops are harvested thus adding joy to the festival.
During these auspicious days and nights of Ashwin Shukla Paksha, extensive prayer is offered to invoke Goddess Durga.
The period of Navratri also allows for sacred chants of Durga Saptashati, a part of Markandeya Purana. The mantras in the book narrate how Goddess Durga was empowered and provided with divine weapons by our Trinity of Gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) to annihilate Mahishasura, the demon and various other demons.
By observing fasts, chanting shlokas and mantras, the devotees show their love for the Goddess. It is believed that during Navratri, the Goddess readily listens to devotees and grants wishes.
She is worshipped in the three forms of the divine femininity, as the destroyer of vices, as the giver of wealth and prosperity and finally, as the Goddess of wisdom.
Navratri is traditionally considered as the right time to start off new ventures and celebrate a good harvest. During these days, people plant nine different types of food grains to propitiate the nine planets and offer the saplings to the Goddess.