Along with Sri Ram Navami, ‘Chaitra Navratri’ festival is also given high importance by Hindus. Chaitra Navratri is celebrated for nine days continuously. In relation to Hinduism, the Hindu Lunar calendar begins with its first month chaitra (i.e., in between March and April) and hence it is known as ‘Chaitra Navratri’ also called as Vasanth Navratri. Navratri means nine days. The last day i.e., ninth day of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated as ‘Shri Ram Navami’ (the day when Lord Ram was born). Chaitra Navratri is celebrated as ‘Ugadi’ in Andhra Pradesh and Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra state. This festival is also very famous in states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
According to Hindu calendar, the festival of Navratri occurs two times in a year, the first one will happen in months of March and April( i.e., in the beginning of summer season and second one called as Sharadiya Navratri happens in the months of September and October( i.e., in the start of winter season). The rituals and customs performed at the time of Chaitra Navratri are similar to the ones that are performed during Sharadiya Navratri.
Chaitra Navratri Significance
Chaitra Navratri festival has great significance for Hindus. The festival is celebrated for nine days which has noteworthiness right from day 1 to day 9. All these days, devotees worship the 9 forms of Goddess ‘Durga’ (also called Durga Maa). Goddess Durga is the shakti form of the powerful supreme. ‘Dur’ means ‘jail’ and ‘ga’ means ‘to go’, according to Vedas, Goddess Durga is the controlling agency of this material world of explanations and manifestations. Which means this material world is compared to jail wherein all are pushed into this world to suffer from pains, enjoy happy moments, experience the happiness and sorrow in human life and get corrected or punished by the laws of nature which are under her supremacy. Durga displays herself in various forms that are worshipped and divine.
What is done on these 9 days?
These nine days are thought-out to be auspicious to perform sadhanas and worship Mother Durga( or Durga Maa). these nine days are classified into three ways :
- First three days are devoted to Goddess Durga
- Second three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and
- Third three days to Goddess Saraswati.
For the year 2017, Chaitra Navratri starts from 28/3/2017 and ends by 5/4/2017. To know about each day’s importance, then below table gives you a brief overview of this year’s Chaitra Navratri.
|Day||Date||Forms of Goddess Durga||Rituals Performed|
|1st Day (Pratipada)||28/3/2017||Shailputri||Shailputri is the daughter of Parvatharaj Himalaya( the king of mountains), the meaning of ‘Shail’ is mountains and ‘Putri’ is daughter. On this Pratipada day, the rituals performed are Shailputri puja, Chandra darshan and Ghatasthapana.|
|2nd Day (Dwitiya)||29/3/2017||Brahmacharini||One who accomplishes Penance(Tapas) is Brahmacharini, she manifests knowledge, love and wisdom. The rituals performed on this day are Brahmacharini Puja and Sindhara Dooj.|
|3rd Day (Teej)||30/3/2017||Chandraghanta||Chandraghanta is the Goddess of serenity and peace. A crescent moon is seen on her forehead. She personifies supreme knowledge and bliss. Chandraghanta is the main ritual performed on this day and also celebrated as ‘Saubhagya Teej or Gauri Teej.|
|4th Day (Chaturthi)||31/3/2017||Kushmanda||Goddess Kushmanda has eight arms with different weapons and mounts a tiger. She is considered as the provider. On this day the ritual performed is Kushmanda Puja. this day is also called as ‘Varadha Vinayaka Chauth’ day|
|5th Day (Panchami)||1/4/2017||Skand Mata||Goddess Skand Mata is the one who offers the gift of distinction of right from wrong to the globe. The main rituals performed on this day are Skand Mata Puja and Naag Puja.|
|6th Day (Shasti)||2/4/2017||katyayini||Goddess Katyayani is the daughter of the saint Katyayan. She ardently fights against deceitful and evil entities. Katyayani Puja is observed by the devotees on this day. This day is also called as Skanda Shasti or Yamuna Chhath.|
|7th Day (Saptami)||3/4/2017||Kaalratri||She is the Destroyer of evil, darkness and ignorance. Demon raktabeej was completely destroyed by Goddess Kaalratri. The main ritual performed by the devotees is the Kaalratri Puja and conjure the blessings of this Goddess. This day is also called as Maha Saptami.|
|8th Day (Ashtami)||4/4/2017||Maha Gauri||She radiates compassion and peace and has a fair complexion. She holds a drum and a trident with bull as her vehicle. The main rituals on this day are Sandhi Puja and Maha Gauri Puja.This day is treated as Durga Ashtami or Annapurna Ashtami.|
|9th Day (Navami)||5/4/2017||Siddhidatri||This Goddess is considered as the wealth warehouse of Knowledge and mystic powers. This is the last day of Navratri festival and relates to Rama Navami. The main ritual performed by the devotees is the Siddhidatri Puja.|
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