Ram Navami celebrates the birth of Lord Ram. It falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra month. Ram Navami and the 8 days before it are together known as Ram Navratri. In 2013, Ram Navami is on April 19. The Chaitra Navratri ends on the day.
In some places, the festival begins on the first day of the Chaitra month and a continuous recital of the Ramayana takes place. Some devotees undertake fasting during this period.
On the Ram Navami day, Lord Vishnu temples are decorated and the image of Lord Ram is richly adorned. Shlokas from the ‘Ramacharitamanas’ are recited. It is believed that Lord Ram was born at and therefore special prayers are held in temples during this time.
Many devotees undertake a fast on this day and confine to their homes reading the Ramayana. They avoid food prepared with onion, turmeric, ginger and garlic on this day and confine their diet to milk, fruits and curd. Special pujas are organized at homes. Puranas and religious texts like ‘Ramachandrika’ detail about the fasting on Ram Navami day. It is considered to be one of the most important ‘vratas’ by these holy texts.
North India, the famous Ramnavami procession takes place on this day. People dressed up as Lord Ram, Lakshman, Sita and Hanuman take part in the procession. Ramlila, the theatre art form that has Lord Rama's life as its theme, is enacted across . India
South India, the celebrations last for nine days. During this period, Ram Navami concerts are held.