Monday, 15 October 2012

Happy Navratri 2012 : Significance, Fasting, Recipes

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Navratri Festival 2012

Navratri 2012 Festival Begins Today and Here are the Important Navratri 2012 Dates

The festival of Navratri is around the corner. The Navratri commences on the first day of the full moon, bright fortnight of the lunar month called Ashwin. The festival is celebrated for nine nights every year during the beginning of October, as the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less.  Navaratri in 2012 starts on the 16th of October and will commence on 24th of October.  The nine day festival of Navratri is dedicated to the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga. Each day a form of Shakti and the different manifestations of Goddess Durga are celebrated and the commencement of the festival on the 10th day is known as Vijayadashami or dussehra.

Significance of Navratri

There are two important occasions in the beginning of spring and beginning of autumn that are very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are considered to be sacred for the worship of the Divine Mother Shakti. Navratri literally meaning nine nights in Sanskrit is fixed according to the lunar calendar and on all these days, the people preach various forms of goddess Durga with fervour and devotion.

Forms and Manifestations of Goddess Durga

Nine forms of Shakti are worshipped during the Navratras.  There are different traditions and rituals that are followed in various regions. The different manifestations of Goddess Durga are

  • Bhadrakali    
  • Amba or Jagadamba- Mother of the Universe
  • Annapurna Devi- The one who bestows grains (annas) in plentiful
  • Sarvamangala- The one who gives joy(mangal) to all
  • Bhairavi
  • Chandika or Chandi    
  • Lalita
  • Bhavani
  • Mookambika

Navratri Rituals

Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. In North India, all three Navaratris are celebrated by fasting on all the nine days and worshipping the Mother Durga in her different forms. The Chaitra Navaratri commences with Ram Navami and the Sharad Navaratri commences with Durga Puja and Dusshera. In Gujarat the Durga Puja is celebrated by dancing Garba to live devotional songs. The Dusshera of Kulllu in Himachal Pradesh is also very famous in North India.  The last four days of the Sharad Navaratri take up a dramatic form in states of eastern India like Bihar, Jharkand, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam as Durga Puja is celebrated with fervour and it is their biggest festival of the year. Life size idols that are beautifully carved and decorated depicting the Goddess Durga slaying the demon Mahishasura are set up in temples. These idols are worshiped and immersed in the river on the last day.

Navratri Fasting

During Navratri, some devotees of Durga observe a fast for nine days and offer prayers for the health and prosperity of the family. Devotees avoid meat, alcoholic drinks, wheat, grains, onions etc during this period as it is believed that during Navratri, that is the period of seasonal change, grains attract and absorb a lot of negative energy from the surroundings therefore it is best to avoid eating grains in this auspicious period for the purification of the Navaratri and eliminate all the negative energy. It is also considered to be a very auspicious time for starting new ventures.

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