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Vasant Navratri 2024 – Auspicious 9-Day Durga Worship for Her 9 Divine Forms

DateMarch 30, 2024

Welcome Vasant Ritu, the beautiful Spring season ushering in one of the most celebrated festivals, Vasant Navratri, or Chaitra Navratri, observed especially across North India. ‘Chaitra’ means the beginning of a New Year. Vasant Navratri observes an auspicious 9-day worship to Durga Mata in all the splendour of her nine forms. This festival holds high spiritual significance and witnesses the devout worship of the fiery yet benevolent Warrior Goddess Durga.

 When is Vasant Navratri Observed?

Navratri is a timeless tradition celebrated in five seasons across India, among which Vasant (Spring) or Chaitra Navratri is one of the most important festivals, which occurs in the first month of the Hindu lunar calendar, Chaitra (Mar-Apr), in the Shukla Paksha (Bright Lunar Fortnight). This year, it starts on Apr. 9 and ends on Apr. 17, 2024.

 Why is Vasant/Chaitra Navratri Called Ram Navratri?

This festival is also known as Ram Navratri as it coincides with Ram Navami, which is observed towards the conclusion of Vasant Navratri. The ninth Day of Chaitra Navratri marks the birth of Sri Ram, the seventh avatar of Vishnu (Celebrated as Ram Navami).

 Celebrating Vasant Navratri

Vasant or Chaitra Navratri is widely celebrated by people of different ethnicities in Maharashtra, where it is observed on the first day as Gudi Padwa (New Year), in Kashmir as Navreh, and in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana as Ugadi. The festival is also celebrated in Manipur, such as Sajibu Cheiraoba and other states including Goa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujarat.

 Legend of Vasant Navratri

According to Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, Goddess Durga, a symbol of Shakti, the Ultimate Strength, she annihilated the evil demon Mahishasura. It is believed that the Goddess, created from the combined energies and powers of the Trimurti and other Gods, emerged as a formidable female power with multiple hands and weapons to destroy Mahishasura. The Goddess is believed to have eternal Divine energy that is invincible.

 According to the Brahma Purana, on the day of Chaitra Pratipada (First Day of Chaitra Month), Brahma created the Universe at the behest of Goddess Durga.

 Significance of Chaitra Navaratri

Goddess Durga is the Shakti aspect of the powerful Supreme and is revered as one of the main attributes of Mother Goddess Mahadevi. She battles evil and demonic forces threatening peace, prosperity and Dharma (Righteousness). Goddess Durga represents protection, strength, motherhood, devastation and conflict.

 According to the most prominent scriptures in Shaktism, the Devi Mahatmya and Devi Bhagavatam, she is the Primal creator of the Universe and the Brahman (Ultimate Truth & Reality). It is the triumph of good over evil that marks Navratri.

 Spiritual Aspects of Chaitra Navaratri

Chaitra Navratri calls for recognising, embracing and believing in the Divine powers of Shakti, symbolised by feminine energy. Navratri’s auspicious time is ideal for looking inward, analysing, reflecting, and introspecting. It enhances your spirituality and brings you closer to the Supreme Consciousness. Fasting and prayers are observed throughout the Navratri period.

It is a powerful time to meditate, offer prayers with fervour, attain peace of mind and manifest your wishes. It is also a time to identify your inner strength and venerate Mata Durga in each of her forms on the nine days- the first three days for Goddess Durga, the next three days for Goddess Lakshmi and the last three days for Goddess Saraswati. It is believed the Goddess comes to the earthly realm and showers her blessing on her devotees.

 Rituals

 Ghatasthpana Pooja- The first day of Vasant Navratri begins with Ghatasthapana Vidhi, also called Kalasha Sthapana, installing the sacred pot in which the deity (Mother Shakti) is invoked.

 Kanya Pooja- On Ashtami or the eighth day of Navratri, Ashtami Pooja is performed, and nine Kanyas (little girls) are called home. It is also called Kanya Pooja, as the little girls are believed to signify the nine Divine incarnations of Mata Durga. They are offered gifts and delicious food, and their blessings are sought.

 Prasad (Nivedhyam) Offered on 9 Days of Chaitra Navratri

Day 1- Desi Ghee

Day 2- Sugar & Fruits

Day 3-Milk, Kheer & Sweets

Day 4- Malpua

Day 5- Bananas

Day 6- Honey

Day 7- Jaggery & Sweets made of Jaggery

Day 8- Coconut

Day 9- Til (Sesame) Seeds

 Vasant Navratri 2024 Schedule

 April 9, 2024 – Vasant Navratri begins, Ghatasthapana, Chaitra Pratipada, Chandra Darshana, Shailputri Pooja (Ghatasthapana Mahurat- 06:26 AM -10:35 AM)

 April 10, 2024- Dwitiya Navratri, Sindhara Dooj, Brahmacharini Pooja

 April 11, 2024- Tritiya Navratri, Gauri Pooja, Soubhagya Teej, Chandraghanta Pooja

 April 12, 2024- Chaturthi Navratri, Varad Vinayak Chaturthi, Kushmanda Pooja

 April 13, 2024- Panchami Navratri, Naga Pooja, Lakshmi Panchami, Skandamata Pooja

 April 14, 2024- Shashti Navratri, Yamuna Chhath, Skanda Shashti, Katyayani Pooja

 April 15, 2024- Saptami Navratri, Maha Saptami, Kalratri Pooja

 April 16. 2024- Durga Ashtami, Annapoorna Ashtami, Mahagauri Pooja, Sandhi Pooja

 April 17, 2024- Ram Navami, Siddhidatri Maha Pooja

 April 18, 2024- Dashami, Navratri Parana

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