When is Navaratri This Year

In India, people get united to celebrate the joy of various festivals together. And, Navratri is one such festival that brings the nation together. People have already geared up for this festival and decided how to celebrate Navratri, which usually falls in September or October. As per the Hindu Calendar, this festival is celebrated for 9 days, and each state adds up to its way of celebrating this festival. Reflecting the true spirit of Indian culture, this festival is welcomed by people of every culture through traditional dances, pujas, and fasting and shopping for Navratri gifts. This is how to celebrate Navratri at home particularly, every year.

Goddess Durga

Goddess Durga

Now, the question is why is Navratri celebrated for 9 days? Navratri in Sanskrit would literally mean “nine nights.” This seems to be a perfect connotation as this festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga, who is worshipped in all her nine forms during this festive period. So, there is nothing in particular as the Navratri date. Rather, it has got a starting and an ending date. Navratri 2023, this year shall be witnessed from October 15, 2023, to October 24, 2023.

While the first day is known as Pratipada, the second day as Dwitiya, the third day as Tritiya, the fourth day as Chathurthi, the fifth day as Panchami, the sixth day as Shasthi, the seventh day as Saptami, the eighth day as Asthami and finally, the ninth day as Navami. While the fast is observed for a whole period of 9 days, the Durga Puja is celebrated only for 4-5 days. On the last day (i.e. Dashami), it calls for Durga idol immersion, symbolising the Divine’s marital home calling in Kailash. The last day of Navratri is celebrated as Dusshera in the northern part of the country, burning large effigies of Ravana, Meghnath, and Kumbhakaran.

Navratri dates this year

Where one enjoys Ram-Leela skits over prayer meetings and food offerings, to simply commemorate the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana.

This festival celebrates the power of femininity and the victory of good over evil. Seeking the answer to the question, of why is Navratri celebrated, there are several folktales and stories attached to this festival across various cultures, but the most popular one surrounds the demon Mahishasura.

The story goes like this...the buffalo demon, also known as Mahishasura was considered to be sexist enough to believe that he could not be killed by a woman. Mahishasura was a Lord Brahma devotee and by getting pleased by his constant devotion, granted him the boon of immortality. Taking this blessing to his advantage, Mahishasura waged war against all the Lords of Indralok.To stop this, Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva came together and gave birth to Goddess Durga. Goddess Durga, who is said to be the daughter of Himavan and an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, fought the demon for 15 days. During these 15 days of wrath and war, Mahishasura kept changing his forms to mislead her. When he finally changed his form into a buffalo, he was defeated by the Goddess, and that was the end of him.

Gujarat, West Bengal, Kerala, Kashmir, and Tamil Nadu are said to celebrate this festival with great pomp and show. While people in the East tend to observe worship Goddess Durga, while people in the West celebrate this festival by tapping their feet to Dandiya or Garba tracks. After knowing when is Navratri, when does Navratri start and when does Navratri end, one must explore and experience this festival, if one hasn’t yet. Because Navratri is one such festival celebrated with gaiety and ardent fervor across the country.

The Cultural Essence and Significance of Navratri

Navratri, one of the most vibrant and significant festivals in India, is celebrated with immense devotion and enthusiasm. But have you ever pondered the reason behind its celebration? Let's delve deep into understanding why Navratri is celebrated, its importance, and the significance of each day.

The Origin of Navratri and Its Celebratory Roots

Navratri, often distinguished as 'Shardiya Navratri' in October and 'Chaitra Navratri' in April, translates to 'nine nights' and is more than just a festival. It's an emotion, a cultural whirlwind that binds several states of India together. Rooted in ancient scriptures and legends, Navratri is dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga. She represents Shakti, the cosmic energy that animates all beings. The festival commemorates her victory over the buffalo demon, Mahishasura, symbolising the triumph of good over evil. While both these Navratris are significant, the Shardiya Navratri in October is especially prominent due to its widespread celebrations across the country.

Unraveling the Importance of Navratri

Navratri holds a mirror to the rich tapestry of Indian traditions, beliefs, and the power of femininity. It's not just a festival; it's an assertion of the feminine divine and the roles women play in upholding Dharma or righteousness in society. The festival emphasises inner purification and self-discipline, allowing devotees to reconnect with their spiritual selves.

Decoding the Significance of Each Day of Navratri

Each of the nine days of Navratri is dedicated to a different avatar of Goddess Durga, with each day having its unique significance and colour.

Day 1 - Shailaputri: The first day is dedicated to Shailaputri, the daughter of the mountains. Considered the purest embodiment of Durga, she signifies the power of the root chakra, which invokes interest in spirituality. The colour of this day is red, symbolising action and vigour.

Day 2 - Brahmacharini: bOn the second day, devotees worship Brahmacharini, representing penance and austerity. She exemplifies the pursuit of sacred knowledge and wisdom. Blue, the colour of the day, stands for calmness and tranquillity.

Day 3 - Chandraghanta: Chandraghanta worshipped on the third day, is the ten-armed goddess ready for battle against evil forces. Yellow, the colour of the day, embodies bravery and courage.

Day 4 - Kushmanda: This day celebrates the cosmic energy that the goddess embodies. It is believed that Kushmanda created the universe. Green, symbolic of growth and life force, is the colour of the day.

Day 5 - Skandamata: The fifth day venerates Skandamata, the mother of Kartikeya, the chief of celestial armies. Grey, the day's colour, signifies the protection of devotees from harm.

Day 6 - Katyayani: Born to the sage Katyayana, this avatar of the goddess stands for the strength to battle and conquer enemies. Orange, the colour of the day, embodies courage.

Day 7 - Kalaratri: The fiercest form of Durga, Kalaratri, symbolises protection from all troubles. The colour white, associated with this day, stands for purity and prayer.

Day 8 - Mahagauri: Mahagauri is the epitome of beauty, grace, and the cleansing of sins. The colour pink, denoting hope and fresh beginnings is adorned on this day.

Day 9 - Siddhidatri: The ninth day is dedicated to Siddhidatri, the bestower of knowledge and enlightenment. The colour purple signifies the culmination of a spiritual journey.

Navratri: A Journey of Self-Reflection and Renewal

Navratri is not just a religious festival; it's a spiritual journey. The nine nights of prayers, fasting, and dance are also a celebration of the human spirit's resilience. It's a time for introspection, self-reflection, and renewing one's connection with the divine.

The festival urges us to embrace virtues, purge vices, and appreciate the importance of balance in life. The rhythmic beats of the dandiya and the fervent prayers invoke a sense of unity, binding communities together.

In essence, Navratri is a vivid testament to India's cultural diversity, where myriad traditions converge to create a beautiful tapestry of faith, devotion, and joy. Whether you're in the heart of Gujarat dancing the Garba or in Bengal witnessing the grandeur of Durga Pujo, the spirit of Navratri remains unchanged – a celebration of the divine feminine force in all its glory.