Ram Navratri, or Vasant Navratra, is observed during the Shukla Paksha (Waxing phase of moon) in the month of Chaitra (March – April) as per traditional Hindu calendar. In 2016, Ram Navratri begins on April 8 and ends on April 15. This festival of nine nights in Hindu religion is dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati and is takes place during the spring season it is also known as Spring Navratri.
Legend has it that that Goddess Durga was originally worshipped in the Chaitra month. It was also referred as Basanti Puja as it took place during spring season. But the present day Durga Puja is held during the Ashwin month (September – October). It was Lord Ram who changed the period of Durga Puja from Chaitra to Ashwin as he needed to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga before going to battle with Ravan. This is why the Durga Puja during (September – October) is also known as Akal Bodhon or untimely invocation.
The Navratri that is observed in Chaitra month is Ram Navratri because the nine-days of puja and worship end on the Ram Navami day.
Ram Navratri is widely observed in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), Haryana, Punjab and
, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and North Indian states. Most Hindu devotees in this part of Jammu and Kashmir undertake Navratri Vrat or fasting. The festival occurs during the beginning of summer season. And it is said that the fasting helps in adapting the body to the changing climate. India
Almost all the rituals observed during Navratri (held in October-November) are also observed during Ram Navrati.
One of the important events in Haryana and
Punjab during Ram Navratri is the worshipping of little girls. These little girls symbolically represent Goddess Durga and are known as ‘kanjaks.’ It is performed on the eight day or the Ashtami day.