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Navratri Festival Information - Guide To Nine-Day Festival Of Goddess Durga In September - October 2019 - Importance Of Sharad Navratri

Sharad Navratri (September - October) is the nine-day Hindu festival dedicated to Mother Goddess Durga and her numerous forms in Hindu religion. Sharad Navratri 2019 dates are from September 29 to October 7, 2019 in India as per Hindu Calendar. The festival is of great importance as it is the most significant festival dedicated to Mother Goddess in Hinduism.

The nine-day festival of Navratri in Hinduism celebrates the victory of good over evil - Dharma overcomes Adharma with the blessing of Goddess Durga.

The nine-day festival begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashwin or Ashwayuja (September-October) as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar.

2019 Navratri Calendar 

Day 1 – September 29 – Ghatasthapana – Chandra Darshan – Shailputri Puja
Day 2 – September 30 – Brahmacharini Devi Puja
Day 3 – October 1 – Sindoor Tritiya – Chitrangada Devi Puja
Day 4 – October 2 – Upang Lalita Vrat – Lalitha Panchami – Kushmanda Devi Puja
Day 5 – October 3 – Skanda Mata Puja
Day 6 – October 4 – Katyayani Devi Puja
Day 7 – October 5 – Kalaratri Devi Puja
Day 8 – October 6 – Mahashtami  – Mahagauri Devi Puja
Day 9 – October 7 – Maha Navami  Siddhidatri Devi Puja
Day 10 – October 8 - Dussehra
  • Saraswati Avahan in Maharashtra is on Oct 4.
  • Saraswati Puja is on Oct 5 in Maharashtra.
  • Saraswati Balidan is on October 6 in Maharashtra.
  • Mahalakshmi Puja is on October 5 in Maharashtra.
The tenth day is celebrated as Dasara or Vijaya Dashami. (October 8, 2019)

The nine days are famous for Bathukamma in Telangana (Sept 29 to Oct 7).

Dasara in Mysore (Karnataka) is from (September 29 to October 7, 2019)

Vijaya Dashami in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala is marked on October 8, 2019

Vidyarambham in Kerala is on October 8, 2019. (Puja Vyappu is on the evening of October 6).

Navratri September October

Significance of Navratri

Mother Goddess Shakti who appears in various forms to save and protect her children are worshipped on the nine days. There is no end to her forms. Whenever her children are in difficulty she takes a form to annihilate the evil and protect her children like a caring mother. She is the all providing mother who nourishes and feeds her children. Life on earth exists due to her blessing.

Symbolically the first three days of Navratri are an opportunity to overcome inertia (Tamas), the next three days are dedicated to overcoming passion (Rajas) and the next three days are for keeping the mind eternally focused on purity (Sattva).

The nine days are an opportunity to reboot. Make positive changes to life with blessings of Maa Durga.

Navratri - Importance and Spiritual Significance

Every Hindu festival has a spiritual message for the sadhaka. This nine-day festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. In fact the theme of the entire Vedas is reflected in the Navaratri festival: first remove all negativities; then purify the mind and cultivate positive virtues; and finally gain spiritual knowledge and transcend all limitations.

Nava means nine and ratri means night. During these nine nights the Mother Goddess is worshipped in her variously manifested forms as Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati.

On the first three nights Durga is invoked for her strength and ferocity which are required to cut out from the mind its strong rooted, deep-seated negative tendencies.

Goddess Laxmi is (then) worshipped on the next three nights. She is invited to bring in her wealth of noble values to nourish and purify the cleansed mind.

Finally Goddess Saraswati is invoked on the last three nights to bestow the Higher Knowledge of the Self possible only after cleansing and purification have taken place.

With the dawn of spiritual wisdom the little ego is destroyed. This destruction is commemorated on the 10th night with the burning of an effigy. This 10th day is called Vijayadashami (Vijaya-victory,dashmi-ten); or Vidyarambha (Vidya-wisdom, knowledge, rambha-joy) Victory Day or the Joy of Enlightenment respectively.

At Navaratri time the Rasa (dance of joy) of Shree Krishna and the Gopis is also performed. As the mind becomes purer, calmer quieter, a greater understanding of the nature of the Inner Self is revealed, giving rise to joy and happiness which is expressed in this dance of Realization.

Why is the Navratri Festival celebrated at night? The spiritual message of night-time worship is that “you have lived long enough in the sleepy realm of tamas, it is time to get up now.

Source: An article published in the magazine October 2000 edition of Chinmayam a magazine of Chinmaya Mission.

Navratri Traditional Puja

House should be cleaned properly.
The person performing puja should take bath early in the morning.
Sankalp or decision should be made to have a peaceful nine days.
No alcohol, smoking, paan, and sexual intercourse during the nine days.
The first puja is performed to Ganesha.
Next puja should be offered to Matrika, Lokpal, Navagraha, and Varuna.

Mother Goddess is offered the usual sixteen step puja (Shodashopachara Puja)
Puja should be offered to Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, and Mahakali.
Chant a Mother Goddess Mantra daily.

You can find more about the puja and how to observed here - How to do Navratri Puja?

Begins with Ghatasthapana

Wheat or Jowar is sowed in a clay flat pot on the first day of Navratri. Water is sprinkled and it is covered with Mango leaves. The first shoots will appear on the third day. It then grows quickly symbolically representing fertility, hope, and progress. It is also a sign of good health and wealth.

In South and Eastern parts of India this ritual is skipped.

Nine Goddess Worshipped

Navdurga or nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped on the nine days of Navratri. The nine forms are Shailputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri.

Scripture Read During Navratri

Durga Saptasati is the scripture read during the nine days of Navratri. There are 700 slokas and it was composed by Lord Brahma, Rishi Vasishta and Rishi Vishwamitra. Saptasati indicates the 700 slokas.

Importance of Sharad Navratri

Vrat/Fasting

You can perform Vrat on all nine days by consuming water and fruits.
Vegetarian food should only be consumed during the nine days.
Majority people observe fast only on the seventh (seventh) or eighth (Ashtami) or ninth day (Navami). (Navratri Fasting Rules and how to observed the vrat can be read here in detail)

Navratri Fasting Should Not Be Starving or Eating Oily Food

During Navratri either people fast from morning to evening or eat oily and deep fried vrat food items creating health problems. The Navratri fasting and the eating habits cause damage to health.

The best method to fast during the period is by eating small portions of food. One should eat salads, fruits, milk, water, fresh juice, vegetable juices, lassi, curd, or lemon juice during short intervals. But Why? Earlier people used to meditate during the fasting period – there was inactivity. But now people do lot of activities working, studying, traveling etc – this includes house wives they should also realize that they are working like anyone else. Proper nutrients are needed for these activities. Fasting and working causes dehydration, fatigue, weakness, stomach related disorders. It is like asking a vehicle to run without petrol.

Another method of fasting is eating oily and fried food and lots of sweets. All these foods are gorged in the name of Prasad or vrat foods.

Sabudana vada, potato fries, numerous vrat fried foods, various types of puris, kheer, laddoos and other sweets from temples contain high calorie and a person ends up taking in more calories. And majority of the vrat foods are harmful when eaten on empty stomach. As it is fasting, most people end up consuming more of such foods.

The best option therefore is to include milk, yoghurt, fruits, salads, vegetables, nuts, seeds, dry fruits and coconut in the diet during Navratri fasting. Avoid fried items and opt for simple salads without dressing and simple food.

Another option is to skip all non-vegetarian food during the fasting period and eat vegetarian food. This is much better than starving or over eating the friend snacks and causing harm to the body.

Navratri Essential Food Items – Ingredients Used to Prepare Dishes during Navratri

There are some essential food items needed during Navratri festival. These ingredients are used to prepare dishes mostly by people who opt for partial fasting or only eat vegetarian food.

Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour) – This is very much part of nine days as most people only eat food prepared using Kuttu ka Atta.

Rock Salt – Rock salt is widely used during the nine days as all other types of salt are prohibited.

Rice – A special rice known as ‘Vrat ka Chawal’ is used widely in western and northern parts of India for cooking.

Sabudana or Sago – This is widely used during fasting. Vada, Khichdi and Upma is prepared using Sabudana.

Khoya – Sweets are prepared using khoya. So large quantities of khoya is used during the period.

Peanuts – It is widely used in dishes and on its own during Navratri.

Mixtures, chips, farsan without salt is widely consumed during the period.

Another type of atta or flour that is used during the period is Singhare Ka Atta. Singhare is prepared from water caltrop also known as water chestnut, buffalo nut, bat nut, devil pod or ling nut.

Black gram or Kala Chana is also used to prepare dishes during Navratri especially during Kumari Puja.

Lime water. This is widely used to keep the body fluid levels intact.

In some regions, fruits are only consumed during the nine days.

Samak Rice as Vrat Food during Navratri – Health Benefits of Sama Ke Chawal - Moriyo or Varicha Tandul

Khichdi prepared using Samak Rice during Navratri is considered a good vrat food with high nutrition and good health benefits. The rice is known as sama ke chawal, mordhan or sava chaval in North India, samo or moriyo in Gujarati and bhagar or varicha tandul in Marathi. The rice is procured from a wild grass and is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals.

It is considered as a fruit and an ideal substitute to rice. Rice and other grains are not consumed by many people who undertake Navratri fasting.

Health benefits of Samak Rice
  • High fiber content.
  • Easily digestible
  • Similar to rice in taste.
  • Rich source of minerals and vitamins.
  • High in potassium
  • Good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C
  • Good source of Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Phosphorus, iron, folate and copper.
Food prepared using Samak include
  • Samak Pulao
  • Samak kheer
  • Khichadi
  • Plain rice

Kanya Pujan

On eight or ninth day of the festival, people perform Kanya Pujan. Young girls less than the age of nine is invited and given food and clothes.

Navratri Mantra

You can chant any mantra dedicated to Mother Goddess. Here are three mantras chanting of which are considered highly helpful and meritorious.
  1. सर्वमङ्गलमाङ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके  
    शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ते
  2. शङ्खचक्रगदाशङ्र्गगृहीत परमायुधे।
    प्रसीद वैष्णवीरूपे नारायणि नमोऽस्तुते।।
  3. देवि प्रपन्नाॢतहरे प्रसीद  प्रसीद मातर्जगतोऽखिलस्य।
    प्रसीद विश्वेश्वरि पाहि विश्वं त्वमीश्वरी देवि चराचरस्य।।

In South India

  • In South India, Goddess Durga is worshipped during the first three days.
  • Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped during the next three days
  • Goddess Saraswati is worshipped during the last three days. Ayudha puja including keeping of books, musical instruments and other educational materials on Ashtami. The materials are not touched on Ashtami and Navami.
  • A kalash symbolizing the Goddesses is prepared and worshipped during the Navratri period.
  • People avoid non-vegetarian food during the period and some people also perform Navratri fasting on certain days. A partial fast is also observed during the period.
  • Musical concerts and Navratri Golu dolls are highlights of the festival.
  • Vijayadasami is observed as Vidyarambham in Kerala.

Bommai Kolu - Navratri Dolls

The festival in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is famous for the arrangements of dolls known as Bommai Golu. It is known as Bommala Koluvu in Andhra Pradesh and it is known as Gombe Habba in Karnataka. (know more about Bommai Kolu)

Bathukamma in Telangana

The nine day festival is famous for the Bathukamma festival. It is performed using natural wild flowers and clay. The festival is nature worship and Mother Goddess worship together. (know more about Bathukamma)

In Karnataka, the festival is famous for the world famous Mysuru Dasara.

The annual nine-day festival of Brahmotsavam in Tirupati Balaji Temple is also organized during the Navratri period.

Durga Puja in Eastern Parts of India

In eastern parts of India mainly in Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura and other states, Navratri is famous as Durga Puja. The main rituals are observed on Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami day. (You read more about the Durga Puja here - A guide to Durga Puja)

Dashain in Nepal

The nine-day Navratri is popularly known as Dashain in Nepal. The myth behind the celebration and the period are the same as Navratri but the method of celebration differs.

The festival begins with Ghatasthapana. As the name indicates, a pot or kalash with an image of Goddess Durga is installed in the house on the day. The pot or kalash is filled with water and is covered with cow dung and seeds are sown on the dung. The pot is kept on a sand bed and seeds are sown on this too. 

Special pujas are conducted on the pot and water is sprinkled daily. The room where kalash is kept is known as Dashain Ghar. Several beds of the plant are made as they are distributed on the Vijayadashami day. This plant is known as ‘Jamara’ and is considered to be the blessing of Goddess Durga.

The seventh day is known as fulpati. Animal sacrifices are held on the eighth and ninth day.


Chandra Darshan during Navratri – Worship of Moon

Chandra Darshan is the viewing of the moon and worship of it during the second day of Navratri. Nine nights of Navratri dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti begins on the day after Amavasya (September/October) – the no moon day. Chandra Darshan is observed on the second day of Navaratri. In 2019, Chandra Darshan is on Sept 29.

Chandra Darshan is of great significance in North India, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

On the first day of Navratri, Ghatasthapana is performed in North India but the moon is not clearly visible on the day as it is the Pratipada – the first day after Amavasya.

Chandra Darshan takes place on the second day when the moon becomes brighter.

Sindoor Tritiya

Sindoor Tritiya is observed on the third day of the 9-day Navratri festival. On this day Maa Chandraghanta is worshiped. In 2019, Sindoor Tritiya is observed on September 30. This day is of great significance in North India.

This is a ritual during Navratri, which is closely associated with Sindoor – the red powder or Vermilion – which is an essential part of Hindu ritual and closely associated with Mother Goddess worship.

The day also marks the end of the first three days of Navratri, especially in South India. The first three days of Navratri is here dedicated to Goddess Durga. The next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Other Navratri's in a Year

Apart from the Navratri in September – October, there are three other Navratras in a year. The most important among the three is the festival observed in March-April especially in North India. This is also known as Vasant or Ram Navaratri as it coincides with the Ram Navami festival.

Thus there are four important Navratri in a year in a traditional Hindu lunar calendar.

Chaitra Navratri March - April 2019 dates

Day 1 – April 6, 2019 – Ghatasthapana - Navratri Begins – Chandra Darshan
Day 2 – April 7 – Sindhara Dooj, Dwitiya
Day 3 – April 8 – Gaur Teej, Saubhagya Teej, Tritiya
Day 4 – April 9 – Varad Vinayak Chaturthi 
Day 5 – April 10 – Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat, Naag Vrat Pujan
Day 6 – April 11 – Skanda Shashti, Yamuna Jayanti
Day 7 – April 12 – Maha Saptami Vrat, Chaiti Chhath, Vijaya Saptami
Day 8 – April 13 – Sri Durga Maha Ashtami, Annapurna Ashtami
Day 9 – April 14, 2019 - Navami - Chaitra Navratri ends. The day is also observed as Ram Navami. (Get complete detail of Chaitra Navratri here)

Magh or Gupt Navratri (January – February)
Begins on February 5, 2019, and ends on February 14, 2019 (Read more about Magh Festival here)

Ashad or Gupt Navaratri (June – July)
Ashad Navratri begins on July 2, 2019 and ends on July 10, 2019

Navratri 2020 (September/ October) dates - October 17 to October 25, 2020

Another important festival is the Shakambari Navratri observed in Poush month which is exclusively dedicated to Goddess Shakambari Mata.

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