NAVARATRI, 10 – 18 OCTOBER 2018
Navaratri is one of the most sacred Hindu religious festivals. Navaratri is also spelled Navratri. ‘Nav’ part of Navaratri means nine and ‘Ratri’ means night. Therefore, Navaratri means the sacred nine nights; the festive observation is for 10 days. This Navaratri that falls in the Gregorian September-October period each year, after the Indian monsoons are considered the most prominent among the four seasonal Navaratri of the year.
Navaratri mainly marks the win of the good over the evil. The main worship is for Goddess Durga aka Goddess Shakti, Goddess Saraswati, and Goddess Laxmi. The deity name prominence and worship nuances vary a little region or state wise across India. E.g., in West Bengal, it is also known as Durga Puja, meaning prayers-worship to Goddess Durga. Goddess Durga is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Another incarnation is by name Goddess Kali.
There are thousands of temples of the above name deities across India. Many Hindu and Sikh devotees chant “Jai Mata Di” or “Jai Mata Ji” that varies region-wise; though “Jai Mata Di” is most popular for Goddess Vaishno Devi. It basically means salute in honor-highest respect or hail to Goddess Mother.
During the Navaratri, many devotees offer prayer, devotion, and tributes to the Goddess. Many observe Vrat, fast and carry out Pujas, prayer ceremonies. They light Diyas, oil lamps and many chant Mantras. Devotees seek the Goddess’ blessings, guidance, call for the killing of the evil, for protection, fulfillment of desires, etc.
In one of the legends, Lord Ram worshiped to seek elusive powers from Goddess Maa to kill Ravana. He performed prayers to Goddess Maa. Each night of the nine nights has a specific significance. Each night a different form Goddess Durga is worshiped.
These are in order for this year, depending on the Tithi:
1st night of 10th October: Devi Maa Shailputri Puja
2nd night of 11th October: Devi Maa Brahmaacharini Puja
3rd night of 12th October: Devi Maa ChandraGhanteyti Puja
4th night of 13th October: Devi Maa Kushmandakam Puja
5th night of 14th October: Devi Maa SkandaMata Puja
6th night of 15th October: Devi Maa Katyayani Puja
7th night of 16th October: Devi Maa KalaRatri Puja
8th night of 17th October: Devi Maa MahaGauri Puja
9th night of 18th October: Devi Maa Siddhidatri Puja
On the 10th day, after Navaratris comes Dusshera. Dusshera marks the day of the killing of the 10-headed Ravana. Dusshera is also called Vijayadashami. ‘Vijay’ part means victory, and Dashami means ten.
Also Read - Know All About Jupiter Transit, 11 October 2018