Skip to main content

How to Perform or Observe Navratri Vrat? - Navratri Fasting Rules

Navratri Vrat is an important fast observed by Hindus during Ashvin (September – October). Navratri 2018 begins on October 10 and ends on October 18. Vasant Navratri is from March 18 to March 25. It is believed that those devotees who perform Navratri fasting will find happiness on earth and will receive ‘moksha.’ Certain rules and rituals are followed during the period. Legend has it that how to observe the Navrtri Vrat was once narrated by Goddess Durga to one of her ardent devotee. The Vratam is observed by both men and women and Navratri mantra is repeated during the period.

Navratri Fasting Rules - Dos and Don'ts
  • No non-vegetarian food.
  • No smoking, eating pan, alcohol and other intoxicating objects.
  • No sexual intercourse.
  • No cutting or shaving of hair, beard, moustache, body hair and nails during the period.
  • Some people walk barefoot for nine days (not followed by majority of people).
  • Garlic and onion are completely avoided.
  • You should not wear dress, belt, shoes, chappals made using leather.
  • Salt is avoided in some regions. Some people also avoid all forms of grains. (These rules are not followed in all regions)
  • If women have periods during the period, they can still do the Vrat. Puja can be done by another person. 
  • Avoid sleeping during day time.
  • Avoid watching or reading materials that will arouse your senses.
  • Black color dress should not be worn during the nine days.
  • Food consumption should be limited to fruits, simple food made using Sabudana and other vrat foods.
When to fast?
All nine days 
Any three days - you can decide on the three days.
Only on Ashtami (eighth) and Navami (ninth)

Navratri Fast
The Navratri fast is observed from the first day to the ninth day of Ashvin month. People take bath in the morning and evening during this period and some even drink water only after the ritual bath in the morning.

Most devotees take only a single meal during the day. Non-vegetarian food is totally avoided. Some people confine to milk and fruits during the nine days.

Some devotees only observe fast during three days i.e., first fast during any one of the first three days and second fast during any one of the next three and last in any one of final three days.
How to perform the rituals?
A Kalash is prepared at home and the water is changed daily for nine days. The kalash is placed on grains on raised platform or in the Puja room. Goddess Durga is worshipped during the first three days, Goddess Lakshmi for the next three days, and Goddess Saraswathi during the last three days. (Some people make clay figures of the Goddesses during the period).

Each day fresh flowers and fruits are offered to the Goddess. Arati is performed and bhajans are recited.

The Mantras and Bhajans to be recited
Devi Mahatmya (Durga Saptashati) and Sri Lalita Sahasranama are recited during the period. The important Navratri mantra is ‘Aaim hreem kleem chamundayai vichche.’

Other Rituals

Ghatasthapana is done this involves growing bajra, wheat, or jowar for nine days.

Some devotees conduct special homas and pujas during the period.

Akanda Jyoti is lit at home - a lamp that continuously burns for nine days.

On the ninth day, all books, pen and whatever implements that a person uses for his/her livelihood is worshipped and is not touched on the day. It is take from puja on the tenth day.

On the tenth day, that is the Vijayadashami day in South India, especially in Kerala, young children are initiated into the world of learning.

Final Observation

There are no hard and fast rules for any fasting in Hindu religion.
There is always scope for flexibility.
Some people just abstain from non-vegetarian food during the period.
Some people just visit temples all the nine days.
Some people read Durga Saptasati or Bhagavad Gita or other holy books during the period.
Some devotees do Annadanam or food donation as per their capacity on nine days.
What matters is devotion not methods of rituals and fasting.
Follow Dharma that is the greatest Vrat in Kali Yuga.

Related