Celebrating The Power of Good: Navratri and Dussehra

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ffNavratri 2017: The festive season is just about getting set to knock at the door and we can barely keep calm ahead of starting the celebrations for this much awaited 9-day affair. This Hindu festival will start from September 21 and will culminate on September 30. In the following days, the nine forms of Maa Durga will be worshipped and the tenth day will be celebrated as Dussehra. Navratri is celebrated across the country with a lot of vigour and passion and each region has a different ways of celebrating it. Despite being one of the most celebrated festivals, there are many who are unaware of how the celebration came into being. Here’s a guide to all those who want to know everything about this upcoming festival
Sharad Navratri is celebrated during the lunar month of Ashvin and is widely celebrated in the eastern, northern and western part as Durga Puja. Navratri is dedicated to nine forms of Maa Shakti and the nine days celebrates the slaying of demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga after a battle between them, according to Indian Express. According to another legend, it is also believed that Lord Ram ahead of his battle with Ravana worshipped Goddess Durga to gain power to be able to defeat him. The tenth day, also known as Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera, when Lord Ram wins back Sita after defeating Ravana.
The Navratri dates are decided according to the lunar calendar and it is believed that the starting of spring and autumn is auspicious to worship Goddess Durga. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. According to india.com, all the nine days follow a different colour code. This is also considered as an ideal time to worship Shakti (Power). The recitation of Gayatri Mantra is considered as an important tradition during Navratri. Fasting is also considered as an important ritual during the Navratris.
Why is Navratri celebrated:
Navratri is celebrated in different parts of the country in various ways. The celebration which continues for nine days worships the forms of Goddess Durga which signifies different powers, according to Quint.
Day 1: Pratipada (21 September 2017)- Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on this day.
Day 2: Dwitiya (22 September 2017)- Goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped on this day.
Day 3: Tritiya (23 September 2017)- Goddess Chandraghanta is worshipped on this day.
Day 4: Chaturthi (24 September 2017)- Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped on this day.
Day 5: Panchami (25 September 2017) – Goddess Skandamta is worshipped on this day.
Day 6: Shasthi (26 September 2017)- Goddess Katyayani is worshipped on this day.
Day 7: Saptami (27 September 2017)- Goddess Kalaratri is worshipped on this day.
Day 8: Ashtami (28 September 2017)- Goddess Mahagauri is worshipped on this day.
Day 9: Navami (29 September 2017)-Goddess Siddhidatri is worshipped on this day.
According to popular belief, Lord Rama fought against Ravana for 10 days and defeated him to rescue his wife, Sita, whom Ravana had abducted. This victory of Lord Rama also signifies the victory of good over evil. During this festival, ramleela or plays are organised in various corners of the country to enact the tale of The Ramayana. The nine days before Dussehra are collectively known as Navratri, during which people pray and fast.

In the East, Dussehra signifies the end of the nine-day festivities of Durga Puja. It again signifies the victory of good over evil, as this was when Goddess Durga killed the demon Mahisasura to protect the people. In South India too, Goddess Durga or Goddess Chamundeswari is worshipped, who defeated the asur Mahisasura and his demon army on top of Chamundi hills to safeguard the people. Along with Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya are worshipped. This day sees grand processions to the river or the sea where the idols are immersed into the water as devotees chant, sing and celebrate.

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