The beginning of spring and autumn are important junctures of climatic and solar influences. These two periods are considered to be sacred for invoking Durga. Navratri, symbolising victory of positivity over negativity, literally means “Nine nights” in Sanskrit; Nav, Nine, and Ratri, nights. During these nine nights and 10 days, the three forms of the Divine Mother are invoked: Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. Navratri is a colorful 9 day celebration for Hindu worshippers during the autumn that focuses on the Goddess Durga in her 9 different forms. The holiday is celebrated in different ways all throughout India and the world, but there are a few similarities between all of the celebrations. You can participate in Navratri no matter where you are!
Set aside time for longer meditation sessions:
Religious and spiritual introspection is important during Navratri. If you don’t currently meditate every day, try to set aside a least 15 minutes every day during the 9 days to slow down and focus on your spirit. If it’s difficult for you to find time to meditate, do it when you wake up in the morning or just before bed, since you’ll be winding down and in a more introspective mood during these times.
Light an Akhand Jyot in front of Goddess Durga’s statue or picture:
The Jyot is an oil lamp that burns for a long time once lit. During the 9 nights of celebration, keep the lamp lit in front of a picture or statue of Durga to honor her image. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving the lamp lit when you leave your home, you can use an electric candle while you’re away and relight the lamp once you return.
Perform Aarti in front of the image or statue of Goddess Durga:
Offering Aarti is a way to show respect to Durga during the celebration. Soak the wicks of a few lamps in purified butter and light them. Then, wave the wicks in front of the image or statue and say a short prayer in front of Durga to show your complete love and respect. Some people choose to bow while saying their prayer in order to show devotion. It’s up to you to decide how you would like to perform the offering.
Fast if you feel comfortable doing so:
There are many ways to fast during Navratri. The first includes only eating fruit and drinking milk throughout the nine days. Another way to fast is abstaining from food only on the first, fourth, and seventh days of the celebration. Some people choose to fast by eating only one vegetarian meal per day, prepared without garlic or onions.
Give gifts like sweets and traditional food to young girls:
Durga is said to be exemplified by young girls, so it’s common to wash their feet and give them treats like fruit and other traditional food during the celebration. Normally, since many people fast during the day, the gifts are given at night to break the fast. This tradition also extends to married women by treating them with the highest respect and sharing food and treats with them as well to honor their strength.
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Decor Ideas for Navratri
Here are a few ideas to spruce up your home this Navratri.
- You can paint your house in earthy colors for Navratri.
- You can also use flower garlands and wreaths for decoration.
- Scented candles, reed infusers and Bakhoors give a pure and serene feeling to the guests who visit your house.
- You can enhance your pooja decor with antiques and figurines.
- You can make rangolis or Alpana outside the house.
- Light diyas inside the pooja room to make it brighter naturally.
- Also, using Retro Prints, Square Prints.
Participate in charity work that benefits the needy:
Navratri encourages people to give back to their community with the gift of food during the celebration. Most of the time, this means cooking meals for the needy or feeding the homeless to encourage growth and positivity in the community.
- Navratri is celebrated in many different ways all across India and the world. If you’re interested in a specific celebration style, you might want to follow their specific rules for Navratri to feel closer to Durga.
If you have questions about how to celebrate Navratri, locate a local priest who will be able to help you plan your celebrations and prepare for fasting.