Shardiya Navratri, also known as Maha Navratri, is a Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion across India and around the world. Celebrated over nine nights and ten days, the festival reveres the nine forms of the goddess Durga, with each day dedicated to a different avatar. This auspicious event encapsulates the richness of Indian culture and tradition through its vibrant rituals, dances, music, and a multitude of festivities.
This article will guide you through the intricate tapestry of Shardiya Navratri 2023, demystifying the rituals, exploring the celebrations, and offering insights into this deeply spiritual and joyful event.
Shardiya Navratri 2023 date:
In 2023, Shardiya Navratri will commence on Sunday, October 15th, and conclude on Tuesday, October 23rd. The festival of Vijayadashami or Dussehra will be celebrated on October 24th. As per the Hindu calendar, the Pratipada tithi of Shukla Paksha of Ashwin month will begin at 11:24 pm on October 14th, 2023, and end at 12:03 am on October 16th, 2023. Ghatasthapana is performed on the first day of Navratri and for the Shardiya Navratri of 2023, the propitious time to establish the Kalash will be from 11:44 am to 12:30 pm on October 15th.
Rituals of Shardiya Navratri:
The first day of Navratri is marked by Ghatasthapana, a ritual where a pot (ghata) is installed (sthapana) in the house. This pot, filled with water, betel nuts, durva grass and rice, is placed on a mound of soil and sown with barley seeds. It symbolizes the universe and the deity invoked within.
Daily Puja and Aarti:
Each day begins with a puja dedicated to the specific form of Goddess Durga worshiped that day. The Aarti, a devotional hymn sung in praise of the Goddess, is performed twice daily – once in the morning and once in the evening.
Many devotees observe a fast during the nine days of Navratri. Some fast only on the first and last day, while others fast for all nine days. The fast is broken with a feast on the tenth day, known as Vijayadashami.
Each day of Navratri has a designated color associated with the form of Goddess Durga worshiped that day. Devotees often wear clothes of these colors as a mark of devotion.
Recitation of Sacred Texts:
Devotees recite sacred texts such as the Durga Saptashati, a collection of 700 verses in praise of Goddess Durga, or perform the Devi Mahatmya, a ritualistic reading of scriptures dedicated to the Goddess.
On the eighth or ninth day, Kanya Puja is performed where nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. They are offered food, gifts, and blessings by the devotees.
Maha Navami Puja:
The ninth day is the culmination of the festival. The Maha Navami puja is performed, followed by a grand feast known as the Navami Bhog. It’s a joyous celebration marking the victory of good over evil.
How to celebrate Shardiya Navratri?
What is the first word that comes to your mind after hearing Navratri? “Garba” right? Yes, the nine-day long festival is incomplete without Garba and Dandiya Raas. People gather in large numbers to dance, sing and celebrate the victory of good over evil. Garba is among the most famous dance forms in India that originated from Gujarat and is now popular all over the country. Dandiya Raas, on the other hand, involves dancing with wooden sticks to the rhythm of traditional songs.
The festival of Navratri is also a celebration of food. Special dishes are prepared during this time using ingredients such as singhare ka atta, kuttu ka atta, and sabudana. These dishes are not only delicious but also have a religious significance as they are considered to be an offering to Goddess Durga.
Navratri is not just about dancing and feasting, it’s also a time for spiritual growth. Many people observe fasts during this period as a way of purifying their minds and bodies. It is believed that by fasting and praying, one can seek blessings from Goddess Durga and attain inner peace.
Shardiya Navratri is a time for family gatherings, celebrations, and new beginnings. It’s an occasion to spread love, happiness, and joy among friends and family members. The festival brings people together irrespective of their age, caste or religion, making it a symbol of unity and cultural diversity.
Each day of Navratri is associated with a different form of Goddess Durga, each representing a unique quality or power. It is believed that by worshiping these forms, one can attain their blessings and overcome any obstacles in life.
To summarize, Shardiya Navratri is not just a festival, it’s an experience. It’s a time to rejoice, dance, and connect with our roots. It’s a celebration of good over evil and the victory of light over darkness. So this 2023, let us all come together to celebrate this auspicious festival with full fervor and devotion.