Festivals India > Navratri The Festival Of Nine Divine Nights
Navratri is the main festival in India which is celebrated for nine days & nights, hence nav (nine) and ratri (night). Although there are four Navratri yet the most auspicious and festive is the one which falls in Autumn and known as Sharad Navratri. The festival is observed in the honor of the feminine nature of the divine Goddess Durga. Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati are symbols of three dimensions of the feminine. They also represent the three basic qualities of existence – tamas, rajas, and sattva. Tamas means inertia. Rajas means activity, passion. Sattva, in a way, is the breaking of boundaries, dissolution, melting and merging. In many parts of India the nine days are observed as to Durga Puja, Ram Lila and Garba Dance. In all cases, the common theme is the battle and victory of Good over Evil based on a regionally famous epic or legend such as the Ramayana or the Devi Mahatmya. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated holidays, Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami or Dussehra.
As per the Hinduism, there are 4 Navratri, two are celebrated openly and two are in hidden mode, a very less people know about this even in India. In all cases, Navaratri falls in the bright half of the Hindu luni-solar months. The celebrations vary by region, leaving much to the creativity and preferences of the Hindu.
Sharada Navaratri: The most celebrated of all the four Navaratri. This is named because it falls in the Sharad Ritu (Autumn Season). It is observed in the lunar month of Ashvin (post-monsoon, September-October). In many regions the festival falls after Autumn harvest, and in others during harvest.
Chaitra Navaratri: Also known as Vasant Navratri. The second most celebrated, This is named so because it falls in the Vasanta Ritu (Spring Season). It is observed in the first month of Hindu Calendar Chaitra (post-winter, March–April). In many regions the festival falls after spring harvest, and in others during harvest.
Magha Navaratri: This is celebrated in Magha (January–February), which is towards the end of the winter season. The fifth day of this festival is often independently observed as Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami, the official start of spring in the Hindu tradition wherein Goddess Saraswati is revered through arts, music, writing, kite flying. In some regions, the Hindu god of love, Kama is revered.
Ashada Navaratri: This is celebrated in Ashadha (June–July), start of the monsoon season.