Vasant Navratri, also known as Vasant Navratras and Ram Navaratri, is the festival of nine nights dedicated to Hindu Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. In 2011, Vasant Navratri begins (date) on April 4 and ends on April 12. This Navaratri is also known as Chaitra Navratras or Spring Navratri as it is observed during the Hindu month of Chaitra (March – April).
Please note that this year Vasant Navratri or Chaitra Navaratri occurs early and therefore it is full observed in March and not in April as usual.
Most Hindus associate Navratri with the celebrations that take place in the Hindu lunar month of Ashwni (September – October). But there are four Navratri in a traditional Hindu year. The second most famous Navratri is celebrated in the lunar month of Chaitra (March – April) and ends with Ram Navami. The other two Navratris are known as Gupt Navratri and Magh Navratri.
The Vasant or Spring Navratri is more famous in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal),
Punjab and Haryana and other North Indian states. Vasant Navratri is held during the beginning of summer. It is a time of thanksgiving to Mother Nature – who protects and sustains us.
The Vasant Navratra also coincides with Ram Navami, which falls on the ninth day of Chaitra month. Due to this the Navratri in March is also known as Ram Navratri. During this period, fairs are organized in temples in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Most devotees fast during the period of Navratri and on the Ashtami day little girls are worshiped as incarnation of Goddess Shakti.