What is Navratri?
Navratri, nine holy nights are most auspicious days in Hinduism. The festival is celebrated to mark the victory of the Goddess Shakti over evil (Mahishasura).
The festival has a profound religious significance. Navratri is celebrated five times a year – Vasanta or Chaitra Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, Sharad Navaratri (Sharadiya Navratri), Paush Navaratri and Magha Navaratri. Based on their local calendar, people celebrate the festival in different months.
In Telangana, Navratri is celebrated as Bathukamma.
Why is Navaratri Celebrated for 9 Days & 9 Colours?
People observe fast during the nine-day festival with dedication. Each day has its speciality. The nine nights of the festival commemorate the nine avatars of Goddess Shakti (Durga). Each day is dedicated to the distinct avatar of the goddess.
Each day of the Navratri stands with the particular colour & each colour signifies something during the nine days of the festival.
The first colour of the Navaratri is decided based on the weekday when Navaratri begins and remaining eight days follow a fixed cycle of colors.
Nine avatars of Goddess Durga worshiped on the 9 days
- Day 1 – Pratipada: Devi Durga Worshipped as “Shailaputri”, the incarnation of Parvathi & represents collective power of Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar). Shailaputri means Daughter of the Mountains & symbolises the nature and purity.
- Day2 – Dwitiya: Goddess worshipped as “Brahmacharini”, she is blissful and endows happiness, peace, prosperity and grace upon all devotees who devotion her.
- Day 3 – Tritiya: Goddess Durga is worshipped in the “Chandraghanta” form, she represents gorgeousness, beauty & also symbolic for bravery.
- Day 4 – Chathurthi: Goddess Durga is revered as “Kushmanda” – the inventor of the universe & the symbol of life, who laughed and filled this earth with lush green vegetation.
- Day 5 – Panchami: Goddess assumes “Skandamata” avatar, represents a vulnerable mother who can become a thunderstorm whenever it is needed to safeguard her baby from any kind of danger. She is accompanied by Skanda (Kartikeya) in his infant appearance.
- Day 6 – Shashti: Goddess Durga worshipped in the form of “Katyayani”, represents brave and courageous. According to a legend, a famous sage “Kata” had once performed penance because he desired to have Devi Durga in the form of his daughter. Durga was moved by the dedication of Kata and granted his wish. She took birth as the daughter of Kata.
- Day 7 – Saptami: Goddess Shakti worshipped as “Kalratri”, the most powerful avatar of the goddess. She has dark skin like Kali, dishevelled hair and a strong posture with three eyes that shine brightly. This is the fiercest form of the Goddess.
- Day 8 – Ashtami: “Maha Gauri”, the incarnation of Goddess Durga represents intelligence & peace. According to a legend, due to her austerities in the forests of the Himalayas, her complexion got very dark, and she turned black. Later, when Shiva cleaned her with the waters of the Ganga, her body regained its beauty, and she came to be known as Maha Gauri.
- Day 9 – Navami: The last day of the Navratri, Goddess Durga worshipped as “Siddhidhatri”. She represents happiness, blessings, and positivity. The Siddhidatri form is believed to have supernatural curing powers, and she is known to have blessed all the gods, goddesses and worshippers. This day is also called as Maha Navami.