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Hindu Religion Fasting Days For Goddess Durga

Fasting is a significant aspect of Hindu worship and spirituality, and Goddess Durga, one of the principal deities in Hinduism, is often venerated through fasting. Here’s an expanded look at the fasting days associated with Goddess Durga, detailing the various festivals, their significance, and the rituals involved:

1. Navratri (नवरात्रि)

Navratri, which means "nine nights," is one of the most prominent and widely observed fasting periods dedicated to Goddess Durga. There are four Navratris observed throughout the year, but the most celebrated are the Chaitra (spring) and Sharad (autumn) Navratris.

a. Chaitra Navratri

  • Timing: Typically falls in March or April.
  • Significance: Marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and the onset of spring. It celebrates the victory of good over evil as Goddess Durga’s various forms are worshipped each day.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Devotees observe fasts ranging from a single day to all nine days.
    • Some refrain from consuming grains, meats, and certain vegetables, adhering to a diet of fruits, milk, and specific fasting foods.
    • Daily worship includes offerings of flowers, incense, and the recitation of Durga Saptashati or Devi Mahatmya.

b. Sharad Navratri

  • Timing: Usually occurs in September or October.
  • Significance: Celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the buffalo demon Mahishasura. It culminates in Dussehra or Vijayadashami.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Similar to Chaitra Navratri, fasting can be observed for one or all nine days.
    • The last three days are especially significant as they honor Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of wisdom), leading up to Vijayadashami.
    • The practice includes visiting temples, performing Aarti, and participating in communal prayers.

2. Durga Ashtami (दुर्गा अष्टमी)

  • Timing: The eighth day of Navratri (both Chaitra and Sharad Navratri).
  • Significance: This day is dedicated to worshipping Goddess Durga in her most ferocious form, Mahagauri. It symbolizes the power of good to triumph over evil.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Many devotees observe a strict fast or Vrat on this day.
    • Some people may consume only water or specific fasting foods.
    • The day typically includes the worship of young girls (Kanya Puja) who are considered embodiments of the goddess.
  • Eight day of a fortnight is dedicated to Goddess Durga and some devotees observe a fast on the day.

3. Maha Navami (महानवमी)

  • Timing: The ninth day of Navratri.
  • Significance: Marks the culmination of Navratri celebrations and is often associated with intense prayers and rituals.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Many observe fasts similar to Durga Ashtami.
    • Rituals include elaborate Puja ceremonies, recitations, and offerings to the goddess.
    • Some regions also celebrate Ayudha Puja, worshipping tools and weapons, symbolizing the goddess’s power.

4. Dussehra (दशहरा) / Vijayadashami (विजयादशमी)

  • Timing: The tenth day following Navratri.
  • Significance: Celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura and also Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana. It’s a day of triumph and the start of auspicious activities.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Though not a fasting day per se, it concludes the period of Navratri fasting.
    • Many devotees break their fast with communal feasts and celebrations.
    • Rituals include the burning of effigies of Ravana, symbolizing the eradication of evil.

5. Jyeshtha Ashtami (ज्येष्ठ अष्टमी)

  • Timing: Falls on the eighth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Jyeshtha (May-June).
  • Significance: It is especially significant in Kashmir where it is known as Kheer Bhawani festival, celebrating the Goddess Kheer Bhawani (a form of Durga).
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Devotees observe fast, primarily focusing on a sattvic diet.
    • Special offerings of kheer (a sweet rice pudding) are made to the goddess.

6. Kumari Puja (कुमारी पूजा)

  • Timing: Observed during Navratri, especially on Ashtami and Navami.
  • Significance: Honors young pre-pubescent girls as embodiments of the goddess.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Fasting is observed until the ritual is performed.
    • The young girls are fed lavishly and offered new clothes and gifts.

7. Varad Vinayak Vrat

  • Timing: Observed on the 14th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Ashadha (June-July).
  • Significance: Though primarily a Ganesh festival, it is also a day of fasting for Goddess Durga in some traditions.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Devotees may observe a partial or full fast, consuming only fruits and milk.
    • Rituals include prayers and offerings to both Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga.

8. Gupt Navratri

  • Timing: Observed in the months of Magha (January-February) and Ashadha (June-July).
  • Significance: These are lesser-known Navratris focusing on secret or esoteric worship of the goddess.
  • Fasting Rituals:
    • Similar fasting practices as the other Navratris.
    • Emphasis on more private and meditative worship practices.

General Fasting Practices for Goddess Durga

  • Sattvic Diet: During these fasting periods, devotees often follow a sattvic diet, avoiding grains, meats, and certain vegetables. Instead, they consume fruits, dairy products, and special fasting foods like buckwheat flour and water chestnut flour.
  • Prayers and Hymns: Reciting Durga Saptashati, Devi Mahatmya, and other hymns dedicated to the goddess is common.
  • Visiting Temples: Devotees often visit temples dedicated to Goddess Durga to participate in communal prayers and rituals.
  • Charity and Service: Many engage in acts of charity and service, reflecting the goddess's compassion and strength.


Fasting for Goddess Durga is a deeply spiritual practice that varies widely in its observance but consistently aims to honor the goddess's power and benevolence. Whether through the grand celebrations of Navratri or the quieter observances of Jyeshtha Ashtami and Gupt Navratri, these fasts are integral to Hindu devotion and worship.