The nine-day festival of Navratri in Hindu religion is held in honor of the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Navratri literally means ‘nine nights’ and is celebrated differently in different parts of India by Hindus. But in all places the victory of good over evil is celebrated and Goddess Shakti is propitiated. Such adoration to Mother Goddess is unique to Hinduism.
The Hindu festival of Navratri is celebrated twice a year. The first Navratri of the year is known as Chaitra Navratra, as it falls in March-April. The second Navratri is held in October-November, which coincides Durga Puja. This also marks the arrival of winter season, a period when Nature undergoes several changes.
Navratri begins on the first day of the bright half of Ashvin or Ashwayuja (September-October). Navratri ends on the ninth day of Ashvin. The tenth day is celebrated as Dasara or Vijaya Dashami.
The nights of Navratri are devoted to the reverence of Goddess Durga, who is worshipped in many forms. Prayers are offered to Goddess Durga, as she is considered the manifestation of the absolute energy that pervades the Universe. All through the nine days, the devotees would chant mantras, sing songs and bhajans in the praise of the deity. Fasting on Navratri is considered auspicious.
In Hindu mythology, Navratri celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon. She fought for nine days and nine nights before emerging victorious on the tenth day.
Goddess Shakti in the nine forms is worshipped during the period for knowledge, wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness. Knowingly or unknowingly during this period we also recognize the primordial source of energy (Shakti), which manifests in all living and nonliving.
This year festival of Navratri will get started from 11 April 2013 and Ram Navani is on 19 April 2013.