Ram Navami 2019: Significance, history and rituals
Ram Navami is a spring Hindu festival which marks the birth of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu on the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri. The festival falls on the 14th of April this year and it marks the descent of Lord Vishnu on earth as Rama avatar, as he was born to King Dashratha and Queen Kaushalya in Ayodhya in the Tretha Yug. According to the Hindu calendar, this festival falls in the Shukla Paksha (bright half) of the Chaitra month.
History and Significance of Ram Navmi
Ram Navami is recorded in Rama recitals, especially the Ramayana which is considered one of the two great Sanskrit epics of the Hindu religion. The story of Ram Navami is also called the Vratha Katha. It describes how King Dashratha and his three queens, Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra performed the Putra Kamesti Yagna on the advice of Rishi Vashishth, when neither of King Dashratha’s wives was able to bear him an heir. After the yagna, the three queens were given kheer, which was blessed by Yajna, Lord of Yagna. The queens conceived soon after they consumed the kheer and on the ninthth day of Chaitra month, Queen Kaushalya gave birth to Rama. Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrugana were born to the other queens.
Lord Rama had to step back from his rightful throne of Ayodhya, due to the promise made by King Dashratha to his third wife Kaikeyi. However, he ruled the kingdom once he came back from 14 years of exile and became a just and loved ruler.
How it is celebrated
Ram Navami is one of the biggest Hindu festivals and is celebrated in a number of ways. Some devotees bathe and dress up miniature idols of Lord Rama and place them in a cradle to mark his birth. A lamp is lit in front of the idol and kheer is prepared as an offering to God. A lot of people celebrate Navami by providing food for the needy. Hindus also perform the rituals of Kanya Puja on this day, where nine girls are invited at home and given respect as Hindus believe that they are the manifestation of Indian Devis. A prashad consisting of halwa and puri is also prepared and given to the girls.