Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now


Maha Navami – October 12, 2024

Maha Navami is celebrated in October, or sometimes November, depending on the lunar date in the Hindu calendar. In 2021, it falls on October 12. According to Hindu mythology, this was the day when the Goddess Durga slew Mahishasura, the ‘buffalo demon’. This festival is celebrated by millions of Hindus in India and all over the world as a symbolic triumph of good over evil.

History of Maha Navami

Mahishasura was a demon with extraordinary powers. However, the Asuras (demons) always lost their battle against the Gods. Tired of constantly being defeated, Mahishasura pledged to change things. Sacrificing his sleep, food, and all comforts of life, he meditated on Brahma, the creator of the universe and all life for many years. He, with unwavering devotion and focus, prayed to Brahma.

Brahma was pleased. He appeared to Mahishasura and told him that he could ask for anything, and his wish would be granted. Mahishasura asked Brahma for a boon that would make him invincible. “Let no man or god be able to defeat me”, he said. In his arrogance, Mahishasura believed that no woman could ever defeat him. Brahma granted him the boon.

Then Mahishasura unleashed his reign of terror. Soon he captured the Earth. Next, he attacked the heavenly abode of Indira, the King of Gods, and captured it too. All the powerful weapons that the Gods hurled at him were futile. Mahishasura seemed to be invincible, and the Gods were helpless.

All eyes then turned towards Goddess Parvati. She immediately took the avatar of Durga. Durga had 10 hands, fierce eyes, and gold ornaments. She looked beautiful, and yet terrifying. Riding a lion, she charged into battle with Mahishasura.

Mahishasura was powerful and had the ability to shapeshift between the human and buffalo forms. Durga and Mahishasura fought for nine days. On day 10, Durga pierced Mahishasura’s heart with a spade and killed him.

Thus, Goddess Durga ended the terror brought upon heaven and earth, which had been almost toppled by Mahishasura.

Since then, the day is celebrated as Maha Navami and day 10 as Vijayadashami (meaning both ‘victory’ and ‘10th’), a victory of good over evil.

Maha Navami timeline

3300 B.C
Durga is Worshiped

She is worshiped as a principal aspect of the mother goddess and is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and wars.

1500 B.C.
The Saga is Written

The story of Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura starts emerging in texts and is found in the Sanskrit language.

1600 A.D.
Maha Navami

Maha Navami is celebrated in West Bengal to mark the occasion of Durga slaying Mahishasura.

Maha Navami FAQs

Why is Maha Navami celebrated?

Maha Navami celebrates the victory of good over evil because it is the day on which the goddess Durga killed the buffalo demon.

What is the day of Navami?

This is one of the main Hindu festivals and signifies the birth of truth, joy, and purity. It is celebrated on a different day each year and, in 2021, it was on April 21.

What do we do on Maha Navami?

Devotees wake up early and pray to the goddess Durga. Since it marks the end of a nine-day fast, special dishes are prepared with ingredients such as saffron. Dishes include paneer rolls and various sugary treats.

Maha Navami Activities

  1. Take part in Durga ‘Pooja’ (Prayer)

    Celebrating Durga Pooja is a grand affair. Temples are lit with ‘diyas’ (lamps) and are decorated with flower arrangements. Some people conduct the ‘pooja’ at their homes. Certain rituals are followed, for example, ‘Kanya Pooja’, where the girls of the house have their feet washed and are fed with a grand meal to celebrate their feminine power.

  2. Fast for a day

    Fasting and its benefits have been stressed in almost all religions. Fasting can have a detoxing effect on your body and also gives your digestive system much-needed rest. Though some Hindus fast for nine days, you needn't go to that extreme. Fast till noon and break your fast with a light meal and then relish the mouthwatering sweets.

  3. Dig deeper into the story

    Research the story of Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura and others, and discover enchanting stories from ancient civilizations. You can also make social media posts about what you find out so that more people get to know about Maha Navami and other stories.

5 Facts About Goddess Durga That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Durga means ‘unassailable’

    Durga means, amongst others, ‘unassailable’, ‘invincible,’ and ‘impassable.’

  2. She is also Butsu-Mo

    In Japanese Buddhism, Durga is called Butsu-Mo, the earth mother.

  3. She is Shakti

    Durga symbolizes ‘Shakti,’ the feminine divine energy.

  4. She has many forms

    Durga has various names and forms, including Parvati, Kamakshi, and Ishi.

  5. She has many weapons

    Each of her 10 hands holds a different weapon including a discus, lotus, sword, arrow, mace, snake, and flame, each with spiritual significance.

Why We Love Maha Navami

  1. It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil

    Maha Navami is a celebration of the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasur. Maha Navami reminds us that however strong evil might be, it will always be defeated by good in the end.

  2. It celebrates feminine strength

    Maha Navami is a celebration of feminine strength. Mahishasura was killed by a woman, so Maha Navami is a day when womanhood is celebrated.

  3. It helps us explore Hindu mythology

    Hindu mythology is full of enthralling stories. This day provides us an opportunity to dive into the world of Hindu mythology and discover more fascinating stories.

Maha Navami dates

2021October 14Thursday
2022October 4Tuesday
2023October 23Monday
2024October 12Saturday
2025October 1Wednesday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.