Navaratri, a term made out of two words, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning night. Navaratri has its own very religious meaning in the lives of people following Hinduism. These nine auspicious and pious days are among some of the most sacred festivals followed in Hinduism. Spread in a range of 8 to 10 days, Navaratri is a festival where Goddess Durga (Shakti) is worshipped in her nine forms with full custom and religious traditions.
Every year this Hindu festival is celebrated in the autumn season, majorly in the month of Ashvin as per the Hindu calendar. The Ashvin month as per the International calendar is known to occur somewhere in the mid-September or early-October. The nine joyous days of the year are dedicated to worshipping the Divine goddess Durga. Every hindu community celebrates this festival by observing fast for the 9 auspicious days. Different communities do follow different rituals in observing the customs and traditions related to the entitled.
This year, the festival of Navaratri is beginning on Wednesday, October 10. Now that the festivals are all about the religious traditions and every festival has a story behind, it would be interesting to note the story behind the festival of Navaratri.
The story goes back to the era when the almighty gods often travelled to earth to ensure peace and prosperity. The story is about the struggle and war between the good beings, who had the authority to manage the functioning of earth and the evil beings who were veracious about power to rule and showcase their supremacy to the good beings and mankind.
The good beings (devas) had divine power that lead to prosperity, progress and a more divine society, while the evil beings (demons), had harmful power that instigated the negative wishes such as Greed, Lust, Envy, etc.
When these demons through hard meditation managed impressing lords and won boons as per their wishes, they took these powers as an advantage to take over the divine beings and the lords too and started wars against them. The lords continuously kept failing to defeat the demons, they started finding shelter for their lives and ran to lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh for help.
When the gods failed helping them, goddess Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati all together contributed their powers to form Aadishakti, Durga. Devi Durga, later on killed the demons and saved the mankind and Devas from the evil eyes of the Demons. One of the main demons she killed, that is always depicted along with her statue is that of Mahisa asura.
Navaratri thus, resembles the victory of light over darkness. Divine Durga protected the mankind and was then entitled as MAA DURGA. The people till today follow that same custom and worship Divine Durga to protect them from all evil and bless everyone with prosperity.