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The auspicious occasion of Navratri is a biannual festival celebrated by devotees all over the world. The first Navratri, known as Chaitra Navaratri, is usually performed from March to April. while the second which is the primary Navaratri, Shardiya Navaratri falls from September to October.

Navaratri is celebrated in honor of the nine avatars of Goddess Durga which she manifested during her 9-day battle with Demon Mahishasura, which ended with Goddess Durga defeating and killing Mahishasura on the tenth day, also known and celebrated as Vijayadashami day. During the nine days of the festival, devotees and followers indulge in rituals and festivities in devotion to the nine forms of Goddess Durga.

The rituals followed during Navaratri are as follows:

Ghat Sthapna Puja:

On the morning of the first day of Shardiya Navaratri, the Ghat Sthapna Puja ritual is performed. During the ceremony, the devotee should place an idol or photograph of Durga at a place where it cannot be moved for the duration of the festival. The ceremony also requires worshipers to place a jug filled with mango leaves and coconuts near a pitch and plant sorghum seeds around it. The devotees, who are supposed to perform the various tasks, usually gather and put together in the morning and ask Goddess Durga to bless them with wealth and knowledge.

Durga Aarti

Another important part of the festival is the Durga Aarti which is the prayer performed to honor Goddess Durga twice a day. The devotees generally perform the prayer early in the morning and late in the evening as it allows them to make different preparations in their free time. Devotees generally recite the prayer every day throughout the Navaratri festival.

Durga Saptshati Path

Durga Saptashati Path is a sacred text or poem that conveys the teachings and beliefs of Goddess Durga in her own words. Devotees read the text or poems to honor and absorb the knowledge the goddess has left in the text.

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Kanya Pujan

In this ritual, devotees prepare Goddess Durga’s favorite food which is Halva, Puri and Chane to be offered to girls in the neighborhood, who are invited and welcomed to feast during the time. Devotees also touch their feet as a sign of respect and to ask for blessings from them. The girls also receive gifts after their parties.

Quick Navratri

Devotees generally practice fasting according to their convenience and health measures. Usually, many devotees start their fast from the first day of Sharidiye Navratri and continue to fast for the nine days of the festival. While some only fast on the start and end days.

Dandiya or Garba Raas dance

One of the most beloved and iconic days of the festival is the day of Garba and Dandiya Raas, where devotees engage in the act of dancing using two bamboo sticks. The dance symbolizes the battle between the goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura. The dance is also known as the sword dance.

Navratri Jawar Visarjan

On the ninth day of the celebration, devotees while worshiping the goddess and take the grown Jawar, which was planted around the pitcher on the day of commencement, is taken for immersion in rivers, or sometimes devotees even place them under Peepal trees.

Duga Visarjan

Just like her name, Durga Visarjan, or the immersion of Goddess Durga in rivers, ponds and lakes is also practiced by devotees. Many places that hold pandals with huge Durga idols manage to immerse large Goddess Durga idols.

These are some of the rituals that can be witnessed during Shardiya Navaratri festivities. Shardiya Navaratri this year will start on September 26th and end on October 5th.

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