Navratri as the name says, the festival of nine nights celebrated twice a year. This Navratri has different significance depending upon states to states and region to region. In eastern and north eastern sates of India, this festival celebrated as Durga Pooja as the victory of Durga over buffalo demon to help restore Dharmam. On the other side, in the northern and western states of India, this festival celebrated as the Ram Lila and Dussehra. This celebrates the victory of Ram over the demon king Ravana.
Dussehra, celebrated on the 10th day after the nine day of Ram lila festival.
Navratri is celebrated by keeping fast and praying to Goddess Durga on every day. Some devotees fast for all nine days and some devotees fast for seven or eight days. Some devotees believe in keeping the fast as first and last depending upon their capacity. On the final days Eighth and Nineth day known as Ashtami and Navmi, devotees close the celebration with the ritual of Kanjak Poojan.
Importance of Each Day in Navratri:
Devotees believed that this festival primarily celebrated as the victory of goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura. Also, celebrated as the days of Good over Evil. Thus, these nine days are solely dedicated to the nine avatars of Goddess Durga.
Day 1: Shailaputri
Also known as Pratipada, an incarnation of Parvati. This day is celebrated by worshipping the consort of Shiva. This Goddess is depicted as riding the bull, Nandi with Trishula on one and Rose on the other hand.
Color of the day— Red, depicts action and vigor.
Food of the day– Beet root and carrot juice
Day 2: Brahmcharini
This is the second day of the festival, celebrated as the another incarnation of Parvati and is worshipped as Sati. Brahmcharini is symbol of moksh, peace and prosperity. This Goddess is depicted as bare foot holding japamala and Kamandalu in her hands.
Color of the day– Royal Blue depicts calmness-cum-energy.
Food of the day– Blue Berries
Day 3: Chandraghanta
Parvati’s avatar after marrying Shiva. This Godess depicted with little moon on her forehead which enhances the beauty. This Goddess is symbol of bravery.
Color of the day- Yellow
Food of the day– Kesar Kheer or Halwa
Day 4: Kushmunda
Fourth day of the festival celebrated as the Goddess with eight arms and sits on Tiger. This day celebrated as the endowment of vegetation.
Color of the day– Green
Food of the day– Kele ki barfi
Day 5: Skandmata
This day is for mother of Skand (Kartikeya) worshipped on the fifth day. She is depicted riding the ferocious lion having four arms and holding her baby. This day devoted to mother confronting the danger for her child.
Color of the day– Grey
Food of the day– Kuttu ke atta ki puri, tikki
Day 6: Katyayani
This is an incarnation of Durga and the warrior goddess. Katyayni considered as the most violent form of Goddess Parvati rides on lion and has four hands.
Color of the day– Orange
Food of the day– Ladoo (Motichoor), Oranges
Day 7: Kalratri
Seventh day, known as Saptami and many people ends their fast on this day to complete the ritual with Kanjak Poojan on next day. This day, celebrated as Parvati removed her fair skin to kill Sumbh Nisumbh.
Color of the day– White
Food of the day– Makhane ki Kheer, Sabudane ki Kheer
Day 8: Mahagauri
Mahagauri symbol of intelligence and peace and depicts optimism.
Color of the day– Pink
Food of the day– Rose petal kulfi
Day 9: Sidhidatri
Last day of the festival known as Navmi people pray to idol sitting on Lotus. Believed to posses all sidhis also known as Saraswati devi.
Color of the day– Purple
Food of the day– Anjeer
In the eastern and northeastern sates of India, sixth day the idol of Durga, welcomed at the home or Pandal. The idol be worshiped for the last three days and then on the 10th day, immersed in water. On that day, people get together and hop across pandals and provide food to the needy.