As we slip into the autumn season, families across India are gearing up for the most awaited festivals. Though calendars are lined up with holidays, all corners of the country will be busy amids robust cultural celebrations. The beautiful hustle bustle of lined up festivals will begin with 9 days of Navratri.
One of the most significant festivals, Sharad Navratri is celebrated across major parts of India. People from various cultures come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
In Sanskrit, “Nav Ratri” means “Nine Nights” that signify the battle between Dunga and even Mahima Surah. These days are devoted to Goddess Durga and her reincarnations.
This year, Navratri celebrations will begin on 17 October and culminate on 25 October.
Significance of Sharad Navratri and Fasting
In each state, Navratri is celebrated in unique ways set in the wavelengths of local culture and traditions. However, it is a common notion that the Goddess descends on earth to be with her devotees during these 9 days. Therefore, devotees forgo the consumption of alcohol and non-vegetarian food. During Navratri, people also follow fasting rituals. Devotees consume light and vegetarian food. Some even observe “Nirjala Vrat” wherein people refrain from drinking water for the entire day. Experts don’t recommend the latter for pregnant women or people under health risks.
Fasting is a known ritual for this festival, hence it is important to practice healthy fasting. To maintain a balance during fasting, experts suggest following a fruit diet. You can eat fruits like bananas, grapes, apples and papaya. Furthermore, it is suggested that you use healthy cooking methods like roasting, boiling, steaming and grilling.
Such small changes will help you take care of your immunity too as you fast for Navratri.
What to eat during Navratri?
For Navratri fasting, people avoid grains, cereals and non-vegetarian food. Traditional values encourage people to consume vegetables, fruits and dairy products.One can also consume pseudo-grains and pseudo-cereals like sabudana and buckwheat. Makhana is a very popular ingredient in dishes made for devotees. Dosa from fasting rice, Kuttu Puri and Sweet Potato Chappati are some popular navratri savories. Water chestnut flour, yam, and arbi are a few more ingredients that can be included in your meals.
The celebrations of Navratri include folk dances and singing. In the state of Gujarat, people indulge in “Garba” which is a popular dance form. Navratri is also celebrated with great zeal in Northern States. Moreover, West Bengal observes an extensive celebration of Durga Pooja during this time.
People adorn themselves with beautiful clothes. Each day of Navratri is associated with different colours. A lot of people try to incorporate relevant colours into their days through accessorizing, clothing or even in their meals.
Here are important Navratri dates, colors and its significance-
|Date or Tithi||Color||Significance of the day|
|October 17- Gatasthapana/ Pratipada||Grey||The first day of Navratri involves a ritual called Kalash Sthapna. On this day, people worship Goddess Durga in the form of Shailputri.|
|October 18- Dwitiya||Orange||On Dwitiya, Goddess Brahmcharini, the incarnation of goddess Parvati is worshipped.|
|October 19- Tritiya||White||On Tritiya, Chandraghanta ( the name derived after Parvati married Shiva,she adorned her forehead with half-chandra) is worshipped.|
|October 20- Chaturthi||Red||Goddess Kushmunda is worshiped on Chaturthi. She is believed to be the creative force in the universe.|
|October 21- Panchami||Royal Blue||Skanda Mata” is another form of Goddess Durga. She is revered on the 5th day of navratri.|
|October 22- Sashti||Yellow||Goddess Durga takes up the form of “Katyayani” on the 6th day of navratri.|
|October 23- Saptami||Green||Goddess Durga is worshipped as “Kalratri” on the 7th day of navratri. Kalratri means dark night.|
|October 24- Ashtami||Peacock Green||On the 8th day, Durga is worshipped as “Maha Gauri”.|
|October 25- Navami||Purple||Durga adopts the form of “Siddhidatri” on the last day of navratri. It is known that Siddhidatri encompasses the 8 siddhis.|