Navratri 2019: Significance and history behind the festival
Navratri is a festival that is full of excitement and colour, a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate. Each of the nine days is dedicated to Goddess Durga’s nine avatars and considered very auspicious. In each part of India, it has a different significance.
The story associated with Navratri is the battle that occurred between Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura. Mahishasura had been granted immortality by Lord Brahma and had been told that he could only be defeated by a woman. He attacked Trilok (Earth, Heaven and Hell), and the Gods were not being able to defeat him.
Finally Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva together created Goddess Durga, who finally defeated Mahishasura. She fought with him for 15 days, and the demon kept changing his form. Mahishasura would take various forms to confuse Goddess Durga. Finally, when he turned into a buffalo is when Goddess Durga killed him with her trishul. It is on the day of Mahalaya that Mahishasura was killed. Each day of Navratri has a separate colour attached to it. The word Navratri is derived from Sanskrit, meaning nine nights - nava (nine) ratri (night). On each day a different form of Goddess Durga is worshipped. They are Goddess Shailputri (Day 1), Goddess Brahmacharini (Day 2), Goddess Chandraghanta (Day 3), Goddess Kushmanda (Day 4), Goddess Skandamata (Day 5), Goddess Katyayani (Day 6), Goddess Kaalratri (Day 7), Goddess Mahagauri (Day 8) and Goddess Siddhidatri (Day 9).
In the East and various parts of North east India, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja, where the festival symbolizes the victory of Goddess Durga over demon Mahishasura, signifying the victory of good over evil. In the Northern and Western parts of India, Ram Leela (retelling of the Ramayana) is held, ending in Dusshera, where effigies of Ravana are set on fire to signify Lord Ram’s victory over Ravana.