Navratri, the Festival of Nine Nights, is celebrated in honour of the Supreme power Shakti. The festival is celebrated for nine nights twice in a year. The first Navratri falls in the month of March-April and are known as Chaitra Navratri. The other are celebrated in the month of September-October and are called Sharad Navratri. During these nine days, we conduct Puja in the praise of the deity. Here is the method for performing Navratri Puja.
Navratri is the time when the universal motherDurga is worshiped. The goddess is known as the remover of sufferings and troubles of life. According to the beliefs, it is the energy of Maa Durga, which carries out the continuous cycle of creation, conservation, and demolition of the universe. During Navratri you can also worship Goddess Durga, and her nine forms to get her blessings.
NINE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF NAVRATRIFirst to Third day :
A small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room and barley seeds are sown on it on the first day of Navratri. These initial days are dedicated to Maa Durga, the Goddess of power and energy.
Fourth to Sixth day :
During these days, Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped.
Seventh day :
These final three days of the festival belong to Maa Saraswati who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge.
Eigth day – Mahaashtami
The day begins with a recital of Sanskrit hymns by the devotees; they offer prayer to the goddess. Kumari Puja or the worship of little girls as the mother goddess is a special part of the rituals observed in a number of traditional and household pujas.
Ninth day – Mahanavami :
The festival of Navratri culminates in Mahanavami. On this day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered food mainly consisting of kala chana, halwa and poori along with coconut pieces and dakshina is offered to the kanjaks.
FASTING DURING NAVRATRI
To begin the fast, the observer takes shower in the morning and wears neat and clean clothes. Durga Mata is worshipped and Aarti is done. Dry fruits of 5 types, fruits, mishri and milk are offered to the Goddess as Bhog. After this, devotees can take the food meant for Navratri. In the evening, Puja is done again and Aarti is done with lighting incense sticks (Agarbatti)
DIFFERENT BHOG DURING NAVRATRI
The nine different forms of Goddess Durga are served up with different Bhogas (food) for all the nine days.
1st day: Ghee is offered to Goddess Shailputri
2nd day: Sugar is offered to Maa Brahmacharini
3rd day: Milk/ sweets prepared from milk/ kheer
4th day: Malpua
5th day: Banana
6th day: Honey
7th day: Jaggery (Gur)
9th day: Til (sesame seeds)
Puja is considered complete after we offer dakshina
FOOD RESTRICTIONS DURING NAVRATRI
- Onion and garlic
- Legumes and lentils Common salt is not used and in place of it rock salt (sendha namak) is used.
- Turmeric (haldi), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), dhania powder (coriander powder) and garam masala
- Alcohol and non-vegetarian food