This festival normally falls at a time where spring is transitioning to summer season. During this season Ma Durga is worshipped on all days in her nine avatars. According to Hindu mythology, there are four types of Navratris but among them, Chaitra and Sharad Navaratras are those celebrated pompously. According to the Hindu Puranas and scriptures, Chaitra Navratri was the most important Navratri in which Goddess Shakti was worshipped, until Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in the ‘Ashwin’ month during the Ramayana war. There is a special significance of each day of Navratri.
SIGNIFICANCE OF CHAITRA NAVRATRI
Devotees have special customs and prayers for each of the nine forms of the goddess on different days. On all nine days, Puja is performed with great enthusiasm in temples across the country. Devotees also decorate their houses and temples in-house courtyards. Havans are also performed so that houses remain peaceful. Devotees worship Maa Durga, the Goddess of cosmic powers, to be blessed by Her divine benediction. It is believed that if devotees worship Goddess Durga without any desires to be fulfilled, they will attain salvation. Chaitra Navratri also marks the onset of the summer season and is observed when the Mother Nature undergoes a major climatic change.
The reason for observing fast or vrat during the Chaitra Navratri is to prepare the body for ensuing summer season. Some Devotees consume fruits, milk and juices and abstain from taking non-vegetarian items, onions, garlic and certain kind of spices. People also try to maintain a calm and spiritual lifestyle during the nine holy days.
The festival is mainly celebrated in the Northern part of the country, but is marked as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. The festival of Gudi Padwa is the first day of the new year for Marathi people while in southern states like Andhra Pradesh, the celebrations kick start with ‘Ugadi’.
FOOD TO BE CONSUMED DURING VRAT (FASTING)
Although Navratris are about fasting, the kind of food that people prepare during the fasts is so mouth watering that it hardly feels like an abstinence. People stick to simple and SAATWIK food like potatoes, salads, fruits and milk but at the same time several delicious dishes such as KUTTU KI PURI, Singhade Ka Halwa, Singhare Ke Pakore, SABUDANA VADA, Almond halwa, Arbi kofta and SABUDANA KHICHDI gain immense popularity amongst those who are fasting. The idea is to cleanse the body and the soul of all impurities.
May this Chaitra Navratris Goddess Durga shower all her devotees with the choicest blessings. PEACHMODE would like to wish its readers Shubh Navratris.