Navratri is celebrated with great zeal across Northern and Eastern India. It is symbolic of the celebration of nine nights of battle of the good against the evil with the result of victory of the good on the tenth day. During this period, Mother Durga is worshipped as the deity of power, energy and wisdom.

2018 Navratri begins on October 10 Wednesday

Image Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

When is Navarathri celebrated?

Navratri is usually celebrated twice in a year—once during spring and once during autumn. Both these times during the year witness marked planetary changes as per the lunar calendar.

Sharad Navratri or Maha Navratri is commonly celebrated during the Indian month of Ashvina that commences from the first day of the lunar fortnight. As per the English calendar, it usually falls in the months of September and October.

The Festival is celebrated for nine nights and devotees pray, take part in the Dandiya Raas and Garba and offer prasad to please Goddess Durga.

Durga Puja is celebrated from the sixth day of Navaratri. This will continue for 4 days and then end with Vijayadashmi.

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Spiritual Significance of Navrathri

According to mythology, there are different tales behind the inception of Navratri.

Mahishashur, the King of Demons had started a war against the Gods in heaven. To combat him, all Gods including the trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu pooled in their divine powers to give birth to the mother of power and 'Shakti'. Thus Goddess Durga was created and she with her power and wisdom killed Mahishasur after nine nights of furious battle against him. The tenth day of victory is thus celebrated as Vijaya Dashami- the day of victory of good over the evil.

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Lord Rama was about to enter a war against Ravana to save Sita from his imprisonment in Lanka. Before starting the battle, Rama worshipped Goddess Durga seeking her blessings. For the puja, he required 108 lotuses. To complete the count, when Rama was about to remove one of his eyes, Goddess Durga emerged and blessed him with her divine 'shakti'. Rama won the battle on that day.

Uma, the daughter of Daksh—the king of the Himalayas is said to come home for ten days during Navratri. Uma married Lord Shiva and this festival celebrates her home coming on earth.

Image Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

Navratri: Nine Avatars of Goddess Durga

For nine nights, people observe the festival with utmost devotion and prayers. Each day is dedicated to one avatar of Durga Maa. Based on this, devotees have to wear the right colours on each day. Do you know what colour to wear on each Navratri night? Take a look!

Day 1:Shailaputri /Pratipada

On Pratipada, Goddess Shailaputri is worshipped. Shaila means mountain and putri means daughter. Since Goddess Parvati is the daughter of the Mountain God, she is given importance on this day.

Day 2: Brahmacharini/ Dwitya

On Dwitya, Goddess Brahmacharini is a form of Durga Devi and she is one who reduces anger. Hence, the second day is dedicated for this Goddess.

Day 3: Chandraghanta/ Tritya

On Tritiya, devotees worship Chandraghanta. It is believed that she has a third eye and fights against evil demons. During puja, jasmine flowers are offered to make her pleased. 

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Day 4: Kushmanda/ Chaturthi

On Chaturthi, the day is dedicated for Goddess Kushmanda. Her name means cosmic eggand she is known to spread energy and warmth to everyone.

Day 5 Skandamata/ Panchami

On Panchami, Goddess Skandamata is one who rules over Budha (the Mercury planet). She is revered as it is believed that she is fierce and loving.

Day 6 Katyayini/ Shashti

On the sixh day called Shashti, Durga is said to have taken the form of Devi Katyayani so that she could kill the King of Demons. Women offer prayers to get a peaceful married and family life.

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Day 7 Kalaratri/ Saptami

On Saptami, the day is specially dedicated to Goddess Kalaratri. She is said to be fierce and have also frightened the evil spirits all over the universe. She is the most destructive avatar of Kali Devi and rules over Lord Shani (Saturn Planet)

Day 8 Mahagauri/ Ashtami

On the eigth day, people worship Mahagauri. She wears only white clothes on this special day and rides a bull. On this day, Kanya Puja takes place- a special event dedicated for young virgin girls. This day is known as Mahashtami or even Maha Durgashtami. The day is celebrated with dance, fun and prayers.

Day 9 Siddhidaatri/ Navami

On Navami, Devi Siddhidaatri is given importance. She is powerful to fulfill all your wishes and hence the ninth day is dedicated to her.

Day 10 Vijayadashami (Dussehra)

After the 9 days of prayers, the tenth day is kept aside for Vijayadashmi. A day when new things can begin in life. It is also called Vidyarambham- an event where children are introduced into the world of education. Sindhoor Khela is a very important part of the rituals on Vijayadashmi.

Rituals of Navarathri

During the nine nights of worship, Goddess Durga is worshipped as 'Shakti'—the deity of power for the first three days; the next three days she is worshipped as Lakshmi—the deity of wealth and the last three days, she is worshipped as Saraswati—the deity of knowledge and wisdom.

During this period, devotees keep fasts and usually avoid grains, onions, meat and alcohol in their meals. Special Navratri food is prepared in North India for such devotees keeping a fast.

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In Eastern India, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja and is the biggest festival throughout the year. Big pandals are set up, illuminated with light and different cultural activities are held during this time.

In Gujarat and Maharashtra, the Navratri dance is known as Garba and Dandiya where local people dance wearing traditional clothes and dandiya sticks in hand.

In Goa, special zatras start during Navratri and the Saraswat Brahmin temples are decorated for the festival. Devotees worship the Dasha Maitrikas with sandalwood paste, kumkum and new clothes & ornaments.

In Kerala, on the ninth day Ayudha Puja is done to bless all the tools in the house.

Important Timings On Navratri

Sunrise10-Oct-2018 06:25 AM
Sunset10-Oct-2018 18:02 PM
Pratipada Tithi Starts09-Oct-2018 09:16 AM
Pratipada Tithi Ends10-Oct-2018 07:25 AM
Ghatasthapana Muhurta 06:25 AM - 10:17 AM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] Time Zone : IST (+05:30)

Navratri festival dates between 2015 & 2025

YearDate
2015Tuesday, 13th of October
2016Saturday, 1st of October
2017Thursday, 21st of September
2018Wednesday, 10th of October
2019Sunday, 29th of September
2020Saturday, 17th of October
2021Thursday, 7th of October
2022Monday, 26th of September
2023Sunday, 15th of October
2024Thursday, 3rd of October
2025Monday, 22nd of September

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