A brief about Navratri
If we break ‘Navaratri’ into two words we will get ‘nava’, which means nine, and ‘ratri’ means night. Thus, it is a festival of nine nights. It falls twice in every year, once in summers and second time in autumn. This festival is entirely dedicated to Goddess Durga, and all her respective nine forms – Devi Siddhidatri, Devi Kushmanda, Devi Brahmacharini, Devi Shailputri, Devi Mahagauri, Devi Chandraghanta, Devi Skandmata, Devi Katyayani and Devi Kalakriti.
The story of Nine Goddesses
Each day of the 9 days of Navratri is dedicated to one form of Goddess Durga. Everyday people worship these different deities with different rituals. Each goddess Devi has her own significance and is worshipped in that way only.
‘Devi Shailputri’ is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. It is believed that the Moon, the provider of all fortunes, is governed by Goddess Shailputri and any bad effect of the Moon can be overcome by worshipping her. ‘Devi Brahmacharini’ governs planet Mangal (Mars), the provider of all fortune and worshipped on the second day of Navratri. ‘Devi Chandraghanta’, the governess of planet Shukra (Venus) is worshipped on the third day of Navratri. The fourth day is for ‘Devi Kushmanda’ who provides direction and energy to the Sun. ‘Devi Skandmata’ is preached on the fifth day of Navratri and is believed to govern and gives direction and energy to planet Budh (Mercury). It is believed that the planet Brihaspati (Jupiter) is governed by ‘Goddess Katyayani’ who is preached on sixth day of Navratri. ‘Devi Kalakriti’ is worshipped on the seventh day of Navratri and is believed to govern planet Shani (Saturn). ‘Devi Mahagauri’, the governess of Rahu is worshipped on the eighth day of Navratri. And on the last day ‘Devi Siddhidatri’ is worshipped who provides direction and energy to Ketu. She is said to be the first goddess to be created out of universe.
How Navratri is celebrated
All these 9 goddesses are the symbol of power and triumph, which help in resolving miseries of life. On all nine days, people ask for wealth, happiness and prosperity. On each day people worship their idol of Durga. Many organize and take participate in ‘havan’, a ritual commonly performed during Navratris; followed by chanting ‘bhajans’ with the name of the goddesses.
The first three days are exclusively for Goddess Durga who vanishes all demons, negative energy, vices and impurities. Next three days are wealth oriented and focuses on Goddess Lakshmi – Goddess of Wealth, bestowing on her devotees the inexhaustible wealth. Now at the end comes Devi of Vidya – Devi Saraswati who showers all wisdom, education and success.
On the eighth and ninth day, people arrange for small gathering of girls in their houses. A ritualistic worship of these girls and offering them home made food to eat is the most sacred activity one must perform on any of these days.
Significance of the festival lies in the fact that there is a power surrounding the cosmos and gives energy to earth to rotate and revolute that causes season and climate change and maintains a balance in the universe. Due to these changes in the nature, people are affected both mentally and physically and thus, we worship the almighty to shower all his grants on us so that we can lead healthy and prosperous lives.