Sanaatan religion, commonly known as Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion in the world. The scriptures and various texts associated with this religion are loaded with knowledge, stories and lessons. Having a lot of festivals, Navratri festivals are one of popular ones. Here we will study more about them.
Navratri (called “Nauraat” in Hindi) refers to the series of different annual festivals which spans for exactly nine days each. The word, “navratri” is a Sanskrit word which means nine nights. Hindu texts such as Ramaayan and Mahaabhaarat talk about this series of festivals. There are four different kinds of Navratri and all of the kinds occur every year lasting for nine days each. Believers perform customs, pray to god and study the Hindu texts specially like ‘Durga Saptasati’ written by Sage Markandeya about 8,000 years ago during the period of Mahaabhaarat. (Read about Mahaabhaarat in the History of Sanaatan religion)
Here are those four kinds:
1. Magha Navratri
Magha Navratri (also known as Gupt Navratri) is a kind of Navratri festival which is often referred as something ‘secretive’ because it is not observed by most believers. It is a festival celebrated for nine days in January-February. It symbolizes overcoming life difficulties, materialistic problems and is considered a kind of test of faith on how believers are actually able to follow all the customs duly and secretively in this festival. It honours the 9 manifestations of Goddess Durga. In this festival, The Hindu text, Markandeya Puraan (part of Puraans) is studied.
2. Chaitra Navratri
Chaitra Navratri is the second most popular kind of Navratri. It is a festival celebrated for nine days in March-April. It symbolizes prosperity and happiness which is believed to be blessed by the spiritual visit of Goddess Durga among the believers.
3. Ashada Navratri
Ashada Navratri is a kind of Navratri festival celebrated for nine days in June-July. It symbolizes wealth, strength, power, victory and wishes.
4. Shardiya Navratri
Shardiya Navratri (also known as Maha Navratri) is the most popular kind of navratri. It is festival celebrated for nine days in September-October. It symbolizes the victory of truth over falsehood marking the story of Goddess Durga killing the demon Mahihshasura.