History Behind Celebrating The Navratri Festival

By Ajanta Sen

Navratri is amongst the most important and eminent festivals that the Hindus celebrate in India and in many other parts of the world. This festival is devoted to Goddess Durga. The Hindus celebrate this festival with a lot of dedication and loyalty all over the country.

The festival is known to stretch for a constant period of nine days and each day is dedicated to a different form of Goddess Durga. The festival is celebrated in accordance with the Hindu calendar and the festival falls on the Ashvin month, which is between the months of September to October.

History of Navratri

The celebrations of Navratri include stage decorations, the narration of the great legend of Navratri, chanting the Holy Scriptures and enacting the entire story. On the ninth day of this revered festival, the idols of Goddess Durga are immersed in the water bodies or the evil statue is burnt with the help of the fireworks, which marks the destruction of evil.

History of Navratri

The Legend Of Goddess And Mahishasura

There are different legends in the eastern and the northern part of India. According to the legend prevailing in North India, a demon named Mahishasura was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, and was granted the boon of immortality by him. Mahishasura started torturing the common people and his ultimate aim became to rule all the three lokas.

The gods of Swargalok appeared in front of Lord Shiva and prayed to him to protect them and their kingdom. In order to protect them from the torture of the demon king, the Trinity of Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma united and they gave rise to a female warrior, who was Goddess Durga.

Mahishasura was struck by her beauty and proposed her for marriage. The Goddess kept the condition that she would marry him only if he could defeat her in a battle. She wanted to end the false confidence of the demon.

Mahishasura was overestimating his powers and amused by the condition that Goddess had put, he immediately agreed to this battle. The battle went on for nine continuous days and on the last day, Goddess Durga defeated Mahishasura by beheading him. These nine days came to be known as Navratri and the last and the final day as Vijayadashami, which meant the victory of good over evil.

History of Navratri

The Legend Of Goddess Sati And Lord Shiva

According to this legend, the king of the Himalayas, Daksha, had a very beautiful daughter, Uma. Uma wanted to be the wife of Lord Shiva. To please him, she kept praying to him and finally managed to please the lord. But when the lord came to marry Uma, he was clad in tiger skin. This angered Daksha and he did not want to keep any relationship with Uma and her husband.

Later, Daksha arranged for a yajna, where he invited everyone except Lord Shiva. Uma was unhappy to see that Shiva was not invited, yet she attended the function. However, she could not bear her father humiliating her husband for long and jumped into the Yajna fire. It is said that she attained immortality through the Yajna fire and married Shiva, the invincible god again in the after life. It is said that even after death she used come to her parents house for nine days every year in the Ashvin month during Shukla Paksha. These days came to be known as Navratri and are celebrated as a grand festival now.

History of Navratri

The Legend Of Ravana And Ram

Navratri is also related to the Ramayana, which is one of the Hindu epics. It is said that Lord Ram prayed to Goddess Durga for a period of nine days in order to get the strength and the power to kill the demon king Ravana. These nine days came to be known as Navratri and on the tenth and the final day, Ravana was killed by Lord Rama. Since then, this day is known as the Dussehra or Vijayadashami and signifies the triumph of Lord Rama over the evil demon king Ravana.

Navratri also calls for the celebration of Diwali, the festival of lights, which comes just after twenty days of Dussehra. Navratri is celebrated with a lot of excitement all over the country of India. This year, the Navratri will be celebrated from October 10 to October 18, 2018.  

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