Indian festivals and holy celebrations are among the most significant events in the country. All quarrels are forgotten, special food is prepared, and Hindu gods and goddesses receive the attention of the people all across India. Needless to say, this spring’s Navratri is also going to be big and exciting as it marks the ending of spring and the beginning of truly hot summer days. Here are 8 things you need to know about Navratri April 2019.
The name ‘Navratri’ literally means ‘nine days’, which is both the length of the festivities and the number of Goddesses worshipped during these nine days. Navratri takes place in autumn and in spring, marking the changing of the seasons. According to the Vedic calendar, new year comes only after Vasanta Navratri in spring!
Mother Goddess (or Maa Shakti) is worshipped during these auspicious days in her nine forms. Also known simply as Devi (goddess) or fearless Durga that removes all miseries from one’s life, Mother Goddess can be referred to as Shakti – the female power that makes everything alive and without which the world itself would cease to exist!
It means that this is one of the most female empowering celebrations you’ve ever witnessed or taken part in! The main Hindu Godesses will be worshipped on different days of Navratri: Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity; Durga, the remover or all vices and impurities; Saraswati, the goddess of art and wisdom.
It is believed that Shakti or Divine Mother will help anyone in need. It is demonstrated in the story from Devi Bhagavata telling about prince Sudarsana, who was exiled from his kingdom as a young boy, but eventually married successfully and got back to his throne after reading the Devi mantra and becoming Devi’s follower.
This year’s Vasanta Navratri is also closely tied to the story of Sri Rama (an avatar of Vishnu), Sita, and fearless Hanuman. Sri Rama, being the descendant of king Sudarsana, was also the devotee of Devi and asked her for help in the time of utmost need when demon king Ravana kidnapped his beloved wife Sita. Of course, Devi answered his prayers!
There’s a Navratri fast during which you eat Sattvic food only (filled with maximum prana or life force). Your body gets a necessary break and fully detoxifies during the nine days of the festival.
Fasting doesn’t mean you don’t get to eat yummy things. For example, it is during Navratri that people get to eat lots of different fruits and drink hot sweetened milk to get an energy boost and last the whole day.
This year’s Navratri starts on the 6th of April and ends on the 14th of April, with the highly auspicious Durga Ashtami falling on the 13th of April. After the end of Vasanta Navratri it’s official summer in India!