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Introduction Legend Rituals
Shri Durga Navarathri Vrat Story Nav Durga The Devi Mahatmya
Nav Chandi Durga Saptashati Legendary festival of Dassera

Nine Goddess

     
     

Literal meaning – ‘nine nights’, this nine-day period from the new moon day to the ninth day of Ashvin is considered the most auspicious time of the Hindu Calendar and is hence the most celebrated time of the year. Although it has different names in different parts of India, it is celebrated by Hindus from all regions. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm as the conquest of good over evil. Every region has its own myths and reasons to explain this.

Nava DurgaThe nine different aspects of Devi are worshipped over the nine days. These are the most popular forms under which she is worshipped:

  1. Durga :goddess beyond reach;
  2. Bhadrakali the auspicious power of time;
  3. Amba or Jagdamba: mother of the world;
  4. Annapurna: giver of food and plenty;
  5. Sarvamangala: auspicious goddess;
  6. Bhairavi: terrible, fearful, power of death;
  7. Chandika or Chandi: violent, wrathful, furious;
  8. Lalita: playful; and
  9. Bhavani: giver of existence.

The festivities culminate on the tenth day, called variously Vijayadashmi, Dushehra when people in most parts of the country burn effigies of Ravana, Meghanatha and Kumbhakarna.

Some people fast on all nine days, eating only fruit and milk dishes. Some fast only on the eighth or ninth day. As the festival is dear to the mother goddess, on the eighth or ninth day many people invite over nine young girls from the neighborhood. These girls are treated as the goddess herself. People ceremonially wash their feet, worship them and then offer food to the "girl-goddesses".

On the first day of the Navaratras, grains of barley are planted in the puja room of the house. A small bed of mud is prepared in which barley seeds are sown after a small puja has been performed. Every day some water is sprinkled on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the puja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god. The seedlings are placed on their caps, behind their ears, and inside books to bring good luck. This custom suggests a link to harvesting. The sowing and reaping of barley is symbolic of the "first fruit". Soon after this festival, the sugarcane crop is harvested and the winter crops are sown.

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