The festive season has been activated in India with the onset of Navratri. Though the celebrations of Navratri will not be the same as before, people are still excited to welcome the festival with the same spirit but at a lesser expanse. The one thing that the people of India will miss the most is getting dressed up in fancy and shimmery clothes and playing Garba.
Navratri is a Hindu festival that is spanned over nine nights and ten days. It is celebrated every year mainly in the autumn season. Navratri is celebrated four times a year in different seasons. These are:
- Sharada Navratri: This is the most-celebrated Navratri in the autumn season. It is named after “Sharada” which means autumn and is hence celebrated in the autumn season (September-October).
- Vasanta Navratri: This is named after “Vasanta” which means spring and is the second-most celebrated Navratri. It is celebrated during the spring season (March-April).
- Magha Navratri: This is named after “Magha” which means winter (January-Februrary). The fifth day of this Navaratri is observed as Vasant Panchami or Basant Panchami which officially marks the beginning of spring season in Hinduism.
- Ashada Navratri: This is named after “Ashada” which means monsoon. It is celebrated during the monsoon season (June-July).
Navratri means “nine nights” in Sanskrit, “Nava” meaning nine and “Ratri” meaning nights. The festival is associated with the battle that took place between the goddess Durga and the devil Mahishasura. Each day during this festival has a specific significance and has a unique color associated with it. Each day is associated with the nine incarnations of goddess Durga- the Navadurga.
Day 1: Shailaputra
Shailaputra literally means “Daughter of the Mountain”, an incarnation of Parvati. It is considered to be the direct incarnation of Mahakali. The color associated with this day is red which depicts vigor and action.
Day 2: Brahmacharini
On the second day, Goddess Brahmacharini, another incarnation of Parvati, is worshipped. She is worshipped for emancipation or moksha and endowment of peace and prosperity. The color associated with this day is blue that depicts tranquillity yet strong energy.
Day 3: Chandraghanta
Chandraghanta is the name derived from the fact that after marrying Shiva, Parvati adorned her forehead with the ardhchandra (half-moon). This day has the color yellow associated which is a bright and vivacious color and can lighten up everyone’s mood.
Day 4: Kushmanda
Goddess Kushmanda is believed to be the creative power of the universe. She is celebrated on this day. She was associated with the endowment of vegetation on our planet and hence the color of the day is green.
Day 5: Skandamata
Goddess Skandamata, mother of Skanda, is worshiped on the fifth day. The color associated with this day is grey which symbolizes the transforming strength of a mother whose child is in danger.
Day 6: Katyayani
Goddess Katyayani was considered as the warrior goddess and was born to sage Katyayan. She is the incarnation of Goddess Durga. The color of this day is orange which depicts courage.
Day 7: Kalaratri
Goddess Kalaratri is considered to be the most ferocious form of Goddess Durga. It is believed that Parvati shed her fair skin to defeat the demons Sumbha and Nisumbha. Hence, the color of this day is white that portrays prayers and ensures the devotees that the goddess will protect them from harm.
Day 8: Mahaguri
It symbolizes intelligence and peace. The color associated with this day is Pink which portrays optimism and positivity.
Day 9: Sidhidatri
On the last day of the festival, people pray to Goddess Sidhidatri. The last day is also known as Navami. She is trusted to possess and bestow all forms of Siddhis. The color associated with this day is light blue which depicts and admiration towards natures beauty.
Navratri is celebrated to honor the divine feminity. It ends with the celebration of Dussehra on the tenth day. Unfortunately, this year’s Navratri won't be celebrated to a great extent but everyone can make an effort to not let the spirit of the festival die by restricting the celebrations of the festival to one's homes.