Navratri is one of the most important festivals of the Hindu religion, which is celebrated in devotion to Goddess Durga, the symbol of “Shakti” or divine power. Literally translated as “nine nights”, Navratri is the period of fasting and purifying oneself by performing puja for a period of nine holy days and nights. According to the Hindu calendar, Navratri is celebrated twice in a year, once in March/April, which is known as Chaitra or Vasant Navratri, and the second time in September/October, which is called Sharad Navratri.
Navratri is an occasion celebrated with great joy and gusto all over India. During these nine auspicious days, people worship Goddess Durga in her various incarnations, including Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Lakshmi. They gather to perform the ritualistic puja and sing devotional songs or bhajans. Gujarat is the state which is famous for its Navratri celebrations, with its popular devotional dance “Garba” being famed all over the globe. This dance is based on the classic dance performed by Lord Krishna and his gopis (consorts) and is done using thin wooden sticks called dandiyas. During the Navratris, people get decked up in bright traditional costumes and participate in all night long festivities, which involve singing and dancing with musical bands to accompany the dance. Another venue where Navratri festivities are worth watching is the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu, which is visited by lakhs of devotees during these nine days. Himachal Pradesh is another state which witnesses the grand fair or mela on this occasion. This festival is celebrated in West Bengal and South India too. Another popular custom of Navratri in the northern part of the country is Kanjak Pujan, which involves worshipping young girls below nine years of age, as the incarnation of Goddess Durga and offering them food along with gifts and money. This ritual is followed in most of the Hindu households during this festive occasion.
Chaitra / Vasant Navratri 2015 Days and Calendar
Chaitra Navratri, also known as Vasant Navratri, falls in the first month of the Hindu lunar calendar and the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated as the festival of Ram Navmi, which marks the birthday of Lord Rama. This year 2015 will have Chaitra Navratri starting on March 21, 2015 and culminating on March 28, 2015. Following are the Chaitra/Vasant Navratri dates and calendar for 2015:
Day 1: March 21, 2015- Ghatsthapana, Kalash Sthapana, Pratipada
Day 2 and 3: March 22, 2015- Chandraghanta Puja, Brahmacharini Puja, Chandra Darshan, Sindoor Dooj, Dwitya and Tritiya
Day 4: March 23, 2015- Varadvinayak Chaturthi, Kushmanda Puja
Day 5: March 24, 2015- Skandmata Puja, Panchami