Navratri is one of the most important Hindu fasts and festival which consists of 9 nights dedicated to the Goddess Durga. The festival is also known as Navaratri, Navarathri or simply Durga Puja. Navratri consists of a set of 9 days and nights where 9 different avatars of the Goddess Durga are worshiped.
What is Navaratri and its significance?
Navratri shortened from the actual word Navaraatri is an ancient Sanskrit word which means 9 Nights (i.e, nava which means 9 and ratri which means night). While there are various Navratris in one year, the major and most popular one is the Sharada Navaratri (also called the Maha Navratri). Sharada Navratri usually falls between September to October and more precisely in the month of Ashvina according to the Hindu Calendar. While other Navratris are skipped by most Hindus, the Sharada Navratri is celebrated even in many other countries other than India among citizens of Hindu faith. During Sharada Navratri, special prayers are done for the Goddess Durga, also commonly called Shakti (meaning Power) or the Divine Mother.
The Durga Pooja celebration consists of 9 days of festival worshiping the 9 avatars of the Divine Mother plus another 10th day called Dussehra or Vijayadashami which marks the end of Navratri festival. The period of September/October (i.e the month of Ashvina) marks the beginning of Autumn and is known to be a very sacred period for the worship of Goddess Durga.
The 5 Types of Yearly Navratri
As mentioned above, there are various navratri periods in a single year and precisely 5. They are as followed:
- Vasanta Navratri
- Gupta Navratri
- Sharada Navratri
- Paush Navratri
- Magha Navratri
Among the 5, the Sharada Navratri and the Vasant Navratri are the most famous ones. Let’s describe each of them briefly.
This Navratri is also known as the Chaitra Navratri or Rama Navratri. It occurs somewhere between March/April each year depending on the lunar calendar.
This Navratri is also known as the Gayatri Navratri and occurs somewhere between June/July. It is one of the less popular Navratri.
This is the most famous Navratri and is celebrated worldwide among Hindus. Sharada Navratri occurs somewhere between end of September to October each year in the month of Ashvina.
Another one of the less famous Navratri observed somewhere between December/January.
This one is observed somewhere during January/February.