A festival celebrated over the span of nine days, Navratri is all about the victory of good over evil. The word Navratri is derived from two Sanskrit terms, ‘nava’ meaning nine and ‘ratri’ meaning night. A celebration of Devi Durga and her nine forms, namely, Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalaratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. During these nine days, people often worship and pray, have recitals and enactments of the legends and dance to classical folk music. Across the streets of India, you will notice a burst of vibrant, traditional ethnic wear, adorned with different kinds of spiritual jewellery such as prayer beads, Japa malas and much more!
According to legend, a powerful buffalo demon, Mahishasura, was blessed with immortality by Lord Brahma. With the confidence of immortality, Mahishasura attacked earth, heaven and hell with all his might as he knew only a woman could defeat him as that was the condition given by Brahma. The worried Gods prayed to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to defeat the enemy as they didn’t stand a chance against the demon. Lord Vishnu created a woman as according to the boon, only a woman would defeat Mahishasura, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma poured all their powers into this woman, and she came to be known as Goddess Durga, a reincarnation of Goddess Parvati who was the wife of Lord Shiva. After a battle that lasted for 15 days and was said to have shaken earth, heaven and hell, she defeated the demon, and this celebration came to be known as Navratri.
Each day of Navratri is considered very auspicious and is dedicated to one of the nine forms of Durga. The symbolism and significance run deep in the Hindu culture, people observe fasts and pray religiously for blessings. Hindus even decorate their houses and wear outfits of a specific colour as these colours represent the different forms of Durga. The nine colours are orange, white, red, royal blue, yellow, green, grey, purple and peacock green.
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