OM SARVE MANGAL MANGALIYE, SHIVE SARWATH SATHIKE, SHARANAYE TREYAM BAKE GAURI NARAYANI NAMOASTUTE
Often referred to as Shradhiye Nav Ratri, this festival is predominant among Hindus of all origins - North India, Bengal, Western India especially Gujarat, South India to Punjab. It starts a day after the Pitra Paksh Shradh amavasiya on the first day of new moon of the Ashwin month and runs to the ninth day.
Sri Nav Ratri Festival marks the worshipping of our three principal Goddesses - Sri Saraswati, Sri Laxmi and Ma Durga/ Kali. As the name suggests, Nav Ratri means celebration over nine nights. Literally, we celebrate Nav Ratri twice a year, the first is March during the births of Sri Ram and his three brothers. Both the Nav Ratri can be over eight or 10 nights - depending on the movement of the moon - thus Hindu lunar calendars could make this festival a day short or even a day more.
Nav Ratri is divided into three equal days in which each of Goddesses are invoked to seek their blessings.
1st , 2nd & 3rd nights of Nav Ratri
Lord Shiva's wife, Devi Parvati, Kali or as Ma Durga - she is worshipped during the first three nights. Ma Durga is regarded as the Mother of Valour, Power & Energy (adi shakti - highest strength). Celebrations and fasting during these days are dedicated to Ma Durga's divine ruup (form). By fasting and performing yagna sacrifices during these days, we ask ma Durga to destroy our sins, deficiencies and prepare us for the year ahead.
4th, 5th & 6th nights of Nav Ratri
Lord Vishnu's wife, Ma Lakshmi is prayed to during these days for shanti (peace), abundance and bliss (prosperity). Wealth is not the only aspect of life that Ma Lakshmi governs, she also aids in basic things like families, friends and food.
7th, 8th & 9th nights of Nav Ratri
Brahma's wife, Ma Saraswati is giver of knowledge - education and ability to use it for a proper living in life. Knowledge in all aspects is obtained from Devi Saraswati - not just spiritual but also the ability to comprehend things and decide between what is dharma and what is adharma.
During the last days of Nav Ratri, Kanya Puja is also observed - where nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped.
10 th day - Vijaya Dussera
This is the day, Sri Ram destroyed Ravana, the demon king of what is now Sri Lanka. An effigy of Ravana is usually burnt on this day to mark the end of evil (Ravan) and triumph of good (Sri Ram).
Garba & Dandiya Raas
Garba originates from Sanskrit Garba Deep - Garba meaning inside and Deep referring to Diya. Ladies place a Garbha Deep in the middle as a symbol of shakti/ Ma Durga and dance around it with clapping hands and singing praises of Ma Shakti.
Dandiya Raas is somewhat connected to Garba but it was traditionally performed by the men. It originated in Gujarat and dances are performed in similar fashion in circular groups but using a pair of bamboo sticks.
Ma ki Chowki & Jagran
Ma ki Chowki & Jagran was originally intended as an all night vigil where praises of Mata are sung from early night till the dawn of the next day, however recently and particularly in western countries - Jagran is held to midnight.
Special Puja Details
1) Puja requirements - Shringhar Samagri - bangles, chunri, sindoor, small mirror, comb, neckalce, earrings, ring, kajal, mehandi, bindi, chandan powder, kumkum, raw rice, kapur, attar, dhoop, Devi Durga murtis, water, coconut, prasad.
2) Fastings - For best benefit out of your Nav Ratri festival, observe full nine days of fast on fruits and milk.
Other events for 2016
DEEPAWALI - Sunday 30th October
SRI KARTIK MAAS - Sunday 13th October
TULSI LEAVES HEALING POWERS-Medicinal Benefits
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