The nine days of the Navratri festival are dedicated to the worship of the divine Goddess Durga in various forms. The first day is dedicated to goddess Shailputri while the second and third days are dedicated to the other forms of the Goddess. The fourth and fifth days are dedicated to the worship of Goddess Kushmanda. The sixth and ninth days are dedicated to the worship of goddess Kaalratri and Mahagauri.
According to Hindu beliefs, the first day of Navratri is dedicated to a ritual called Navaratri, during which barley/jowar seeds are sown and tended to for nine days. The nine days pass and the seeds sprout and are symbolic of the ‘first fruits’ of the worship. In addition, the navaratri festival also commemorates the death of Lord Shiva.
The ninth day of the Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Durga, who manifests in three major forms. The first is the form of the Goddess Shailputri, daughter of the king of the mountains, and the second is the Goddess Brahmcharini. The third form of Goddess Durga is Goddess Chandraghanta, a symbol of prosperity and peace. The fourth form is Goddess Kushmanda, the origin of the universe.
In the northern part of India, the nine days of Navratri are dedicated to various aspects of the goddess Shakti, the supreme energy of life and death. The first three days of the Navratri festival are dedicated to Goddess Durga, followed by the goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Kanya puja is also a popular ritual during Navratri. During the third part of the festival, nine young girls are dressed as the nine goddesses, called Kanya. The nine girls are offered various types of food and drink.
Day one is dedicated to worshiping Goddess Shailaputri. She is Parvati’s form. Her name means “extraordinary heights.” As she sits on a bull, worshipers seek to achieve a high level of consciousness. On this day, yellow is worn to purify the mind of evil thoughts. This day also involves a ritual of burning effigies of the demon Ravana.
The eighth day of the festival, Sharad Navaratri, is celebrated during the month of the moon. It marks the beginning of the Hindu year and is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the devotees. On the fifth day, Pausha Navaratri falls during Pausha Shukla Paksha. Finally, the ninth day, Magha Navaratri, is celebrated in January and February.
As the ninth day of the Navaratri festival approaches, celebrations continue. People worship various forms of the goddess during the festival. Some burn effigies of the devil on this day, and others stuff them with fireworks. Dasera is considered an auspicious day to start artistic or educational pursuits. This celebration is also considered to be a symbol of victory over evil. The nine days of the festival will last up to ten days.
During the nine days, fasting is practiced, and rituals are performed. These spiritual practices invoke the energies of the universe, feeding the human spirit. Devi represents cosmic energy. During this time, participants of the ritual give up worldly activities and enter a period of meditation. When harnessed properly, this cosmic energy leads to contentment and prosperity. If you’re able to harness it properly, you will be a happier and healthier person.
The first day of the Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Shailaputri. This deity was born to the great sage Kata. She is associated with the divine power of action. On the other hand, the goddess Brahmacharini represents the power of wisdom and knowledge. She is depicted holding a rosary and a water pot. In addition, the colour associated with this day is green, which symbolizes spiritual knowledge and growth.
The third day of the nine days is dedicated to goddess Kali. Kali is the goddess of motherhood and is a mature woman. She is protective of her children and is prepared to fight aggressively. As such, she brings forth motherly instincts in us. This festival is celebrated in many countries, including India. Once celebrated each year, the nine days of the navaratri festival can be a rite of passage on the path of spiritual growth.
On the fourth day of the Navratri festival, Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped. She represents the fifth form of Divinity. She is depicted holding the infant Skanda and giving blessings. On the sixth day of the festival, Katyayani is worshipped. She is the mother of the sage Kata. She is seated on a lion.