The festival of Navratri is considered very important in Hinduism. A total of four times in a year comes the festival of Navratri, but of these Magha and Aashadh Navratris are Gupt Navratri. Apart from these, Chaitra and Ashwin Navratri are the two Navratri which have the most importance in Hinduism. It is also called 'Vasant Navratri' as Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in the spring. Along with this, this festival also has special significance because the Hindu New Year also begins from the first day of Chaitra Navratri.
In the year 2020, Navratri Chaitra (Vasant) Navratri will be celebrated on 25 March to 3 April and Ashwin (Shardiya) Navratri on 17 to 26 October.
Two major Navratris are celebrated a year, Shardiya Navratri and Chaitra Navratri. This festival of Navratri is celebrated with great pomp across India. There are many beliefs about this day.
According to a major belief, Maa Durga was born on the very first day of Chaitra Navratri and Lord Brahma created the world at her behest. This is the reason why Hindu New Year is also celebrated on the first day of Chaitra Shukla Pratipada i.e. Chaitra Navratri. Apart from this, according to mythology, Lord Shri Ram, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was also born in Chaitra Navratri.
Maa Durga is also known as Adi Shakti and has the status of the oldest divine power in Hinduism, because Maa Durga was born to destroy evil. Therefore, by worshiping them in Chaitra month, there is a development of positivity in us. This is the reason why this important festival of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in such a grand manner all over India.
There is a different way of celebrating this festival of Chaitra Navratri dedicated to Maa Durga, which makes it different from other festivals. This festival is celebrated with great pomp in the northern states of India. With this, Gudi Padwa festival also starts in Maharashtra from the time of Chaitra Navratri.
The first day of Chaitra Navratri is also called Pratipada, from this day fairs and special programs are organized in the temples of Maa Durga. From the beginning of Chaitra Navratri, a large number of devotees visit the Durga temples and visit Shaktipeeth and famous Devi temples, so that the number reaches millions.
During this, many devotees observe fast on the first and last day of Chaitra Navratri, while many devotees also observe a nine-day fast. Different rules and methods are prevalent in every region for Navratri worship, but some of its practices are like this which are followed equally in all India.
On the first day of Navratri, Kalash is placed in homes. This is done because the urn is considered a sign of happiness, prosperity, splendor and auspicious works. Before the Sthapna (placing) of the Kalash, people take clean bath and wear clean clothes, then worshiping Goddess Durga, placing the Navratri Kalash and worshiping Mother Durga by lighting lamps and incense. Similarly, on the occasion of Chaitra Navratri, unbroken flame of ghee is also lit by many devotees in their homes.
Along with this, one of the second most important work is done by people during the Chaitra Navratri Pujan is sowing barley (jwar), for this, along with the placing of the Kalash, some soil is also spread around it and barley is sown inside this soil.
There is a very interesting story behind this and most of us do not know the reason behind it. It is believed that when the creation started. So the first crop that was produced was barley. This is the reason why barley is used in every important work of worship. Apart from this, barley is also the first crop to be produced in the spring. This is the reason why it is offered as an offering to Maa Durga.
Along with this, it is believed that in the beginning of Navratri, the seeds of barley which were sown as an offering to Mother Durga near the Kalash indicate about the future to come. If this barley grows rapidly, it is believed that there will be peace and prosperity in the house. On the other hand, if barley withers or its growth is very slow, then it indicates an inauspicious event to happen in future.
In the festival of Navratri, the worship of the girl has special significance. Special worship of girls is done on Ashtami or Navami by the devotees of Maa Durga. In this, 9 virgins girls are called home and they are given food with full respect and after the meal they are given Dakshina and gifts.
According to beliefs, many special benefits like wealth, happiness, prosperity etc. are provided by the worship of the girl. It is customary to offer fruits, sweets, makeup items, clothes, sweets and dishes like pudding, black gram and purl to the girls during Kanya Puja.
The nine days of Navratri are dedicated to the nine forms of Adi Shakti and each of these goddesses should offer us some different Bhogs. If the nine forms of the Goddess are offered as per the order, then the special result of Navratri is received.
First Day- This day is known as Pratipada and is dedicated to Goddess Shailputri. On this day we must offer a banana to the goddess in enjoyment.
Second day- This day is known as Sindhara Dauj and is dedicated to Mother Brahmacharini. On this day we must offer ghee to the goddess.
Third Day- This day is known as Gauri Teej and is dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta. On this day we must offer salted butter in the offering of Goddess Mother.
Fourth day- This day is known as Varad Vinayaka Chauth, this day is dedicated to Mata Kushmanda. On this day we must offer Mishri to Mother Goddess.
Fifth day- This day is known as Lakshmi Panchami and this day is dedicated to Goddess Skandamata. On this day, we must offer kheer or milk to the goddess.
Sixth day- This day is known as Yamuna Chhata or Skanda Sashti, this day is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani. On this day we must offer the goods as a puja to the Mother Goddess.
Seventh day- This day is celebrated as Maha Saptami and this day is dedicated to Goddess Kalratri. On this day we must offer honey as an offering to the Mother Goddess.
Eighth day- This day is known as Durga Ashtami and this day is dedicated to Mata Mahagauri. On this day we must offer Gud (jaggery) or coconut as an offering to the Mother Goddess.
Nineth day- This day is known as Navami or Ramnavami and this day is dedicated to Goddess Siddhidatri. On this day, we must offer paddy pudding as an offering to the Mother Goddess.
In Puranas, Chaitra Navratri is given special importance, it is considered as the basis of self purification and liberation. Worshiping Maa Durga in Chaitra Navratri removes negative energy and brings positive energy around us.
Along with this, this festival of Chaitra Navaratri is also very important from astrological and astronomical point of view, because during this time the Sun enters Aries, this zodiac change of Sun affects every sign and from the same day Panchang of New Year starts. These nine days of Chaitra Navratri are considered so auspicious that if you want to start any new work in these nine days, then you do not need to wait for any special date. You can never do any new work during the whole Navratri period.
Along with this, there is also a belief that a person who worships Mahadurga in Navratri without any avarice, he gets liberation from this bond of birth and death.
There are many mythological stories about Navratri. According to one of these mythologies, during the Ramayana period, Lord Shri Ram worshiped Goddess Durga in the month of Shardiya to kill Ravana. Pleased with this, the goddess bestowed him with the blessings of victory.
Along with this, according to many such mythology, Lord Shri Ram was also born on the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri, so this day is also known as Ram Navami.
This is the reason that the evidence to celebrate this special festival of Navratri dates back to the Vedic era. It is believed that this festival of Navratri has been celebrated since prehistoric times. That is why the festival of Navratri is considered to be one of the most ancient festivals of Hinduism.