Navaratri is a festival that dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Devi ( i.e godess) are worshipped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as or ‘Dusshera”. Navaratri is an important major festival and is celebrated all over India and Nepal.
The festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year during the beginning of October, although as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. Each day of the 9 days days has one colour dedicated to it
During all the 9 days of the festival, people who follow Hinduism have to follow a strictly vegan diet. This means that no kind of meat, eggs, beef, pork, etc are to be consumed during these 9 days. There are also some people who even go up to fasting for 9 days. This fast includes fresh fruits and potatoes that is all . One is not even allowed to add any kinds of spices or even salt.
Daily prayers or as we call it ‘pooja’ is offered to the goddess in order to seek her blessings. On the eight day of this festival the people who fast, as a ritual must invite at least 9 unmarried girls home and must wash their feet, take their blessings and give them freshly prepared food as well as goodies and even some small amount of cash. It can be the most simplest item but it must be given with good intentions thats all.This is done because as Hindus we believe that the girl child is a form of goddess, hence her blessings are taken and she is the one who will bring prosperity and good luck to the house.
Another aspect that follows in this festival is a very popular dance form called Garba. This.This is one of the most fun filled dance forms. people begin practicing months in advance since competitions are held in every part of the country. it involves intense and continuous dancing that may go up to all night long.! People dress up in bright colored beautiful clothes and takes part in Garba dancing competitions.
This was my first year away from home, and i hardly knew any people around who celebrated this festival. But one of my neighbors called me over and performed the rituals and gave me a few goodies and some money as part of the ritual:) . it brought in so many memories from home and in a way was a small step bridging my gap from home and here.