The April version of Navratri is approaching, and quiz yourself on these interesting traditions about Navratri to see how much of a traditionalist you are!
#1 Navratri is celebrated 5 Times a year
Vasanta Navaratri (April), Ashad Navaratri (June-July), Sharad or Maha Navratri (October-November), Pausha Navaratri (December- January) and Magha Navaratri (January-February).
#2 Significance of the Vasanta Navratri
Observed during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Chaitra, the beginning of this Navaratri marks the start of the new year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar (Vikrami Samvat).
#3 Who is celebrated in this festival?
Vasanta Navaratri or the nine days are dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess).
#4 What are 9 the forms of Shakti?
- Amba or Jagadamba, Mother of the universe
- Annapoorna Devi or Gauri, The one who bestows grains (anna) in plenty (purna: used as subjective)
- Sarvamangala or Sheetal, The one who gives happiness (mangal) to all (sarva)
- Chandika or Chandi
- Mookambika or Tara
#5 Conclusion of the Festival
The Chaitra Navaratri culminates in Ram Navami and the Sharad Navaratri culminates in Durga Puja and Dussehra
#6 How is the Festival celebrated?
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. In North India, all the Navaratris are celebrated with much fervor by fasting on all nine days and worshiping the Mother Goddess in her different forms. In Western India, particularly in the state of Gujarat and Maharashtra Navaratri is celebrated with the famous Garba and Dandiya-Raas dance. In the Punjab, Navaratri is known as Navratras or Naratey where the first seven days are for fasting. On the eighth day or Ashtami, devotees break their fasts by calling young girls home and these girls are treated as the goddess herself.
#7 Animal Sacrifice is a prevalent custom
The Rajput of Rajasthan offer a sacrifice of buffalo or goat to the their family Goddess during the festival of Navaratri. The Hindu temples in Assam and West Bengal in India and Nepal where this takes place involves slaying of goats, chickens and sometimes male Water buffalos.
So, how many of these interesting traditions about Navratri did you know?