About Navratri Festival:
Navratri is one of the most celebrated of all Hindu festivals. Nav means nine and ratri means night, Thus Navratri festival means a festival spread over 9 nights.
Though Navratri comes 5 times in a year, the most important and major are the following two occasions :
- Vasanta Navratri also known as Basanta Navrathri, Chaitra Navratras or Raama Navratri. It is celebrated in the month of March or April every year. It ends on the 9th and final day which is celebrated as Ram Navami.
- Sharada Navratri also known as Maha Navratri or Sharad Navratri. It is celebrated in the months of September or October every year. The 10th day after the 9 nights is celebrated as Vijayadashmi - the celebration of good over evil. It is also called Dussehra.
The dates of Navratri are dependent on the lunar calendar and hence keep changing every year.
A pot is installed in a clean place in the home and a lamp is kept lighted at all times for the entire duration of the navratri festival. This is called "Ghatasthapana".
Goddess Durga, the epitome of power or shakti is worshipped during Navratri. It is believed the goddess had 9 forms and she is worshipped in these forms during the nine night festival.
The 8th day is celebrated as Durga Ashtami or Ashtami. It is especially celebrated on a large scale in West Bengal.
On the 9th day Kanya Puja ( worship of young girls who have not reached the age of puberty), is performed. Nine girls representative of the 9 forms of the Goddess Durga or Divine Mother are worshipped. Their feet are washed tilak is applied to their forehead, they partake a feast of pooris, black gram, a sweet dish like kheer and halwa and they are offered new clothes and fruits by those who perform this worship.
Fasting is a common practice observed by many during Navratri. Meat, alcohol, grains, wheat, onions, garlic are avoided by those fasting.
Grains are avoided as they are believed to absorb negative energy due to the seasonal changes at this time.
The Nine Forms Of Goddess Durga:
Depending on the region, different forms of the Goddess Durga are worshipped.
The forms are :
- Durga - The invincible
- Bhadrakali - The auspicious and fortunate
- Amba or Jagdamba - Mother of the universe
- Annapoorna - the giver of food
- Sarvamangala - the giver of joy all around
- Bhairavi - The terrifying
- Chandika - The violent
- Lalita - The beautiful
- Bhavani - The giver of life
- Mookambika - The one who listens
vijayawada: During 9 days the following alankarams will be performed to Sri Ammavaru.