Sharada Navrati—which translates to nine nights—is an autumnal Hindu holiday, held in honor of the divine feminine: “Devi”. The holiday’s exact customs vary by region—associated in some with the victory of the Durga Puja over a buffalo demon, and in others with Rama’s defeat of the demon king Ravana— but in each the theme of divine victory of Good over Evil features prominently.
History of Navratri
Navratri is a Hindu holiday that celebrates the deity Durga for eliminating Mahishasura the demon. Due to his dedication to the supreme Lord Brahma, Mahushasura was gifted with immortality. Even though this meant that he couldn’t be killed, a condition to this blessing existed that the only one able to defeat the demon would be a female.
Confident in his strength, Mahishasura was assured that no woman would ever be stronger than him, or enough to kill him. With time, Mahishasura and his army became unstoppable, terrorizing people, and none of the gods were able to defeat him.
Three of the most powerful gods — Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma came together to create a woman who would be powerful enough to destroy Mahishasura once and for all. This woman was the goddess Durga.
Equipped with weapons, Durga met the demon for a battle. The duration of the battle lasted 10 days, by the end of which, Durga was finally able to vanquish Mahishasura.
What is the connection between Navratri and Dussehra?
Dussehra begins when Navratri ends. This is because in Hindu culture, Lord Ram devotedly worshipped the goddess Durga before leaving for his journey to battle Ravana.
What is the purpose of Navratri?
Navratri celebrates the story of the goddess Durga, but even more so celebrates the victory of good over evil.
What does Navratri mean?
Navratri means nine nights.
How to Observe Navratri
Perform the traditional dances
There are two main dances that are performed to celebrate Navratri. Join the dance or watch a performance of this exciting custom.
Fast on Navratri
Fast during the day, keeping your diet light, followed by a proper meal after sunset.
Worship the deities
Pray extensively for abundance in blessings, and carry out the spiritual rituals such as Aarti.
5 Facts About Navratri Worth Knowing
The goddess Durga is celebrated
Navratri celebrates the goddess Durga, and her victory against the demon Mahushasura.
The duration of the battle
The battle between Durga and Mahushasura lasted nine days and nights, which is where the festival got its name from.
A color a day
A different color is used each day of the festival, and each color symbolizes a distinct trait of Durga.
Concluding of the festival
Navratri ends with Dussehra.
The two main dances of Navratri
The two dances performed on Navratri are Garba and Raas.
Why Navratri is Important
A grand Hindu celebration
Navratri is one of the many Hindu festivals celebrated throughout the year. Navratri is a grand celebration of when the goddess Durga defeated the seemingly immortal demon Mahushaura.
Triumph of good over evil
The symbolism of the story is that good will always triumph over evil, even in the face of insurmountable odds.
The ancient Hindu story celebrates a woman and her power in this world, which is more relevant than ever in today’s modern world.