10 Days Of Navratri Celebrations

by VioletteRose

Navratri is an important Hindu festival celebrated across India for ten days. The tenth day is celebrated as Dussehra which is considered as one of the most auspicious days.

Actually the word navratri can be translated as nine nights. Navratri is a celebration of nine nights and ten days. The significance of the name 'navratri' in the festival points to the fact that the nine nights of celebrations are more important than the celebrations during the days, even though the tenth day is considered the most important.

Navratri is sometimes referred as Maha Navratri meaning the most important nine nights. This festival is also celebrated in many parts of the country Nepal.

The picture of the goddess is from Wikimedia Commons Image.

As I mentioned above, nine nights and ten days are celebrated and the festival is based on the worship of the Hindu Mother Goddess Shakthi. Nine forms of the goddess are worshipped during these nine nights and finally on the tenth day, Dussehra is celebrated to remember the victory of the goddess over the evils.

The different forms of the goddess is believed to represent the different forms of nature, starting from the peaceful form to the fierce form of existence.

In temples, the goddess is worshipped carrying out poojas or rituals and the devotees worship the goddess in their own homes or in the temples by reciting specific prayers and devotional songs. The poojas are also known as Durga Pooja, where Durga is another name for goddess Shakthi.

Actually, the festival will be really grand on areas near to temples where the goddess is worshipped as the main deity. However, in other temples too, the goddess is worshipped with special rituals, prayers and offerings during the festival time.

Dussehra

Dussehra is the tenth day of navratri celebrations. It is also commonly known by the name Vijayadashami. Both the names can be translated as 'victory on the tenth day'. Dussehra is also sometimes referred as 'Dasara'. The ninth day of navrathri celebrations is also very important for worship, and the day is commonly known as Maha Navami. 

The celebrations are based on the Hindu lunar calendar.

In 2014, the Navratri celebrations start on September 24th night and so the first day of celebration is on September 25th. Dussehra falls on October 3rd.

The celebrations may vary according to the different regions of the country, however vijayadashami day is considered very auspicious day to start education for young children.

It is a belief that the things that you start on the Vijayadashami day will be mostly successful.

The word 'Vijaya' means success.

 

Starting education of young children

In India, traditionally children started education around five years of age. Years back, this was possible. But in today's life, this is not practical and so we all start our kids education early. Among the Hindus, young children between ages of 2 to 3 years formally start their education on an auspicious day, mostly on the Vijayadashami day.

Either a priest or one of the parents usually help the child to write on a plate full of raw rice. Sometimes a grandparent, or someone else who is respectable may also do the function.

Either a stone pencil or a dried piece of fresh, dried turmeric is used to write on the rice. What the children write on the rice can vary depending on the region, but it will be definitely include prayers to the goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and also other gods.

Goddess Saraswathi, one of the nine forms of the goddess, is seen as the goddess of education.

After writing on the rice, kids can write on papers or books. The function is known as Vidyarambham which can be translated as the beginning of education.

Two days prior to the Vijayadashami day, the prayers and celebrations intensifies and actually the last three days including the Vijayadashami day have more importance than other days. People usually displays small figurines or statues of different forms of gods and goddesses. These figurines are generally known as Golu.

The three days are considered very important for school going children too, as this is a time particularly related with prayers on education. Students may keep their books and study materials for worship and they are not expected to read or write on those three days. Schools usually remain closed for these three days.

On the Vijayadashami day, after the morning prayers are offered, the books can be taken back. In most of the places, all the little kids usually write prayers on either rice or papers, even though this is not mandatory. 

Prayer Songs For The Vijayadashami Day

Did you know about Navratri or Dussehra before?

The information I have entered above is based on my knowledge on the festival. The celebrations may vary from place to place.

Updated: 09/30/2014, VioletteRose
 
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VioletteRose on 12/11/2014

The word "navam" means nine in Malayalam language too, and I believe it is the same in Sanskrit and many other Indian languages. Similarly the word "dasam" denotes ten in many Indian languages. But these are not words that we usually use while talking to someone.

It is interesting that Latin has similar words!

frankbeswick on 12/11/2014

Reading through this I spotted some patterns in the words: navrati [nine nights] The Latin for nine is novem [quite similar.] Dussehra [tenth night. ] The Latin for ten is decem [again similar] No wonder the Romans who visited India saw similarities between their Latin language and Sanskrit.

VioletteRose on 10/22/2014

Thanks WriterArtist. I love to do the fasting sometimes(never did for navratri yet) , but I can't imagine doing it along with the housework! I used to fast while I was in the office, though.

WriterArtist on 10/21/2014

My mother used to fast at Navratri and I wonder how she could do all this in addition to her job and house work. We celebrate Navratri with beautiful decorations here with our neighbours, call them and distribute sweets.

VioletteRose on 09/26/2014

Thanks pateluday!

VioletteRose on 09/26/2014

Thanks Derdriu, I agree. Starting education on an auspicious day is a great idea!

pateluday on 09/25/2014

Very Good write up and informative as well.

DerdriuMarriner on 09/24/2014

VioletteRose, Thank you for sharing information about this festival.
The idea of starting education on an auspicious day is endearing: such a wonderful idea!

VioletteRose on 09/24/2014

Thanks Frank, I am happy to share what I know.

frankbeswick on 09/24/2014

Some people across the world know of some Hindu festivals, but there are many of which we have not heard. I have studied the Hindu philosophical and religious schools, but my knowledge of festivals has lagged behind. So when you are explaining Hindu festivals you are performing a valuable educational task. Keep up the good work


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