Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Navratri 2012

jai mata di,Navratri 2012, Navratri 2012 Festival

jai mata di,Navratri 2012, Navratri 2012 Festival

jai mata di,Navratri 2012, Navratri 2012 Festival
Navratri 2012 Dates
When:
Chaitra Navratri 2012: 23rd March - 1st April;
Sharad Navratri 2012: 16th October - 23rd October
Where: Gujarat, West Bengal and other parts of India

‘Navratri’ meaning ‘nine nights’ is a significant Hindu festival, which is celebrated twice a year - ‘Chaitra’ or ‘Vasant Navratri’ (March-April), and ‘Sharad Navratri’ (October-November). Both the celebrations center on the worship of Goddess Shakti.
In Gujarat, Navratri festival celebrates the worship of Goddess Jagdamba, while in West Bengal, Durga Puja is the reason to rejoice. Though, every region in India celebrates this festival in its own way, Navratri Festival is dedicated to the 3 avatars of Goddess Shakti - Durga (the warrior Goddess), Lakshmi (the Goddess of wealth), and Saraswati (the Goddess of knowledge).

History of Navratri
- Legend says that when Mahishasura, the demon, acquired unbeatable powers and started taking away innocent lives, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahesh of the Hindu Trinity united their supreme powers and created Goddess Durga who entered a war with Mahishasura. This war extended for nine days and on the tenth day she beheaded him. These nine nights signify the festival of Navratri.
- As per Hindu mythology, Uma, daughter of King Daksha of Himalayas, who married Lord Shiva, once visited her parents to take part in a yagna. The story goes that when her father offended Lord Shiva, unable to bear the insults she jumped into the agnikund, which is why she is also known as Sati. In her rebirth, she married Lord Shiva and also made peace with her parents. It is said that Sati comes to stay with them for nine days, this is celebrated as Navratri.
- It is also said that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in all her nine forms, for nine days, in order to gather all the powers required to vanquish Ravana the demon, and release his wife Sita from his clutches. Those nine days imply Navratri, and the tenth day when he killed Ravana, came to be known as Vijaydashmi and is celebrated as Dussehra.

Fasting and Rituals of Navratri Festival
The religious Navratri festival revolves around the three aspects of Goddess Shakti which are worshipped, with first three days devoted to Goddess Durga, followed by fourth, fifth and sixth days devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and last three days for Goddess Saraswati. The devotees observe fasting for seven to eight days, and break their fast on the eighth day (Ashtami) or ninth day (Navami) of the festival, by carrying out ‘Kanya Pujan’ or ‘Kanchika Pujan’. This involves worshipping and seeking blessings of nine young girls, representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga.
During fasting, only fruits, milk, potato and other root vegetables should be eaten. Sendha namak (rock salt) is a significant ingredient used instead of common salt.
Chanting of mantras, prayers and religious hymns (bhajans) related to the Goddess, form other religious practices of Navratri.

Navratri Festival Celebrations
Celebrations of Navratri, all across India, are characterized by the worship of Goddess Shakti. Navratri festival is considered to be the biggest festival of the year in Gujarat and West Bengal. It also involves fun-filled dance performances. Dandiya in Maharashtra and Garba in Gujarat add to the festive celebrations. In West Bengal, devotees of Maa Durga, celebrate Durga Puja which signifies triumph of good over evil. The idols of the Goddess are worshipped and on the tenth day they are immersed in water to bid her adieu. In Gujarat, jaagrans are observed and women perform the popular dance - Garba Raas.

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