Chaitra Navaratri (March 20th to March 27th 2015), or the nine (nava-) nights (-ratri) of Durga, are celebrated in the first nine days of the bright half of the month of Chaitra (starting from the day after Amavasya). According to the Indian lunar calendar, this usually occurs in late March or early April. This period of nine days heralds the onset of spring and also marks the beginning of the new year for the hindu calendar in most parts of India.

durga puja in pune

The nine-day festival honors the role of three prinicipal female Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon – Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The period of Chaitra Navaratri concludes with Ramanavami (or Lord Rama’s birthday) on the tenth day of the festival.

Observing Chaitra Navratri

The nine day period is marked as a period of “cleansing” and fasting by all devotees of Devi. The durga suktam is chanted with great vigor every evening during this period. The festival is marked on the eighth day or ashtami by honoring a group of kanjaks or pre-pubescent girls. A group of five (or seven or nine) such girls are invited into the household and treated as representatives of Durga. The head of the household washes their feet, and then they are fed a sumptuous meal of halwa, puris, black chana and yogurt with boondi. They are then given a set of red clothes or a red chunni and a small gift of cash and asked to bless the household.

History and Traditions of Chaitra Navratri

The story of Durga that is most frequently associated with Navaratri is the incarnation of her as the slayer of the buffalo-headed demon or asura, Mahishasura. A long war had been waged between the gods, led by Indra, and the anti-gods. The king of the anti-gods, the genie Mahisa (the Powerful), won the war and established himself in heaven. The gods wandered homeless on the earth. Then, guided by Shiva and Vishnu, they concentrated their power into the shape of a goddess named Durga (the un-reachable one).

durga slays demon mahishasura

The power of Shiva formed the head, that of Yama the hair, that of Vishnu the arms, that of Indra the waist, that of Brahma the feet. All of the Gods handed over their weapons to the goddess Durga. The goddess chose a lion as her vehicle, and defeated the armies of the anti-gods In her final battle, she fought the demon Mahisawho took on many shapes to fight her, and finally that of a buffalo, the symbol of death. Durga pierced the throat of the buffalo and restored the heavens to the Gods. Hence, Durga is often referred to as Mahisasura-mardini, the slayer of Mahisasura.

durga slays demon mahishasura

Tell us about your Navaratri celebrations by leaving a Comment below. Thank you for reading and sharing.

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From our archive. Revised March 2015.
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4 Responses to Chaitra Navaratri – Spring Festival of the Goddess

  1. G.P.M.ANAND says:

    Sir,
    I thank you very much for your kind message in respect of observance of nine days festival from the first day of Ugadi – new year as-per our Panchangam. Here in Andhrapradesh especially in Bhadrachalam we observe and celebrate nine day festival
    or Utsavam of our Lord RAMA. This has been celebrated all over AP.with utmost care and  Bhakti. The festival is being participated all communities including  Muslims in all most all the places. We used to enjoy this festival in a happy blissful mood.

    Thank you once again for making me remember this Sree Rama Navami festival.

    regards
    GPM ANAND
    vijayawada

  2. Shija says:

    Please inform the procedures for chanting devi Mahatmayam. Like; Within How many days we’ve to complete one chanting. Every day How to start and where to end.

  3. Ushaswami says:

    Navarthiri is clelbrated four times a year. SHE defeated asuras Mahishsuran, Thumaralochan,Nusumban & Chanda Mundan. In south Sarada Navarathiri (Mahishasuran) clebrated in big way, where as the vasantha (chitra) navarathiri clelbrated in North. She has come from three moorhti's (Siva, Vishnu & Brama) power. After chitra navarathiri pooja Rama had a war with Ravana. SHE IS MOSHATHADRI. (She can only given Mosham( without further birth)

  4. rahulkaul says:

    rahulkaul
    newdelhi,
    It is evident from, the centuries and we all maintain it from time to time
    as and when the Navratri days are approaching.
    We are all eagerly awaiting for the festival to come, so that we can devote
    more sincerely and pray for all during theses pious nine nights with high
    good spirit.
    We pray Durga God dess with great reverance and are able to have some
    life long relief in day to day life.
    Every one gets benefited in any temple who ever visits.
    It is a rested fact and tht is real
    May Godess Durga shower the good prosperity to all
    With wishes,
    rhulkaul.
    newdelhi

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