Chaitra Navratri 2020: Significance, history behind the nine-day festival and how will it be different this year
Navaratri or the festival of nine nights is celebrated with much fanfare in India. The Chaitra Navaratri falls in the Chaitra month and marks the start of the new year of the Hindu calendar.
Devotees observe fast and worship nine incarnations of goddess Durga –Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kaalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidhatri. Some devotees observe ‘nirjala’ fast, where the person refrains from even drinking water. A few opt to keep the ‘phallar’ fast during which they only eat fresh fruits, milk and water.
During these nine days, people do not add onion and garlic to their food.
Date of Chaitra Navaratri 2020
This year, Chaitra Navaratri will be observed from March 25 to April 2.
When is Rama Navami 2020
Rama Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama, usually falls on the ninth day of Chaitra Navaratri and that is why the festival is also known as Ram Navaratri. This year, Ram Navami will be celebrated on April 2. Chaitra Navratri is more popular in northern India. In Maharashtra, Chaitra Navratri begins with Gudi Padwa and in Andhra Pradesh it starts with Ugadi.
As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva allowed his wife goddess Parvati to visit her parents for nine days. It is also believed that during these nine days, the goddess killed demon king Mahishasura, signifying the triumph of good over evil.
According to Hindu belief, goddess Durga gives strength to the devotees and showers them with good health and wealth.
Both Chaitra Navaratri and Sharad Navaratri, which is celebrated around September-October, are celebrated at the time of seasonal change. People are advised to eat light during this time as the body is more susceptible to diseases.
How will Chaitra Navratri 2020 be different
With the government imposing a lockdown across the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, one should not congregate in large numbers to celebrate Navratri. Social distancing and self-isolation should be followed even during the nine days of the festival. Gatherings such as ‘jagratas’ are to be avoided.
For those observing a fast, it is pertinent to maintain a healthy immune system by eating lots of nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables.