Navratri is a festival of worship and devotion. The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit; Nava – Nine and Ratri – nights.
During these nine nights Devi Maa is worshiped in nine forms of Maa Durga called Nava Durga. Mother Goddess Ma Shakti is the root of everything in this universe.
Navratri comes four times in a year. But this festival of navratri is mainly celebrated for nine nights twice every year in month of Chaitr (March-April) & Aswina (September-October).The dates of the festival are determined according to the Hindu lunar calendar, the festival may be held for a day more or a day less. The leading Navrati festival held in month Ashwina. The nine nights festival of Navratri begins on the first day (Pratipada) of Ashwina means the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin.
The following 9 forms of Maa Durga are worshiped during these nine days as Nava Durga Goddesses:
- Devi Maa Shailputri
- Devi Maa Brahmacharini
- Devi Maa Chandraghanta
- Devi Maa Kushmanda
- Devi Maa Skandamata
- Devi Maa Katyayani
- Devi Maa Kaalratri
- Devi Maa Mahagauri
- Devi Maa Siddhidaatri
All these nine names of Goddesses are described in ‘Devi Kavacha’ of the ‘Chandipatha’ scripture. According to a Hindu tradition, it is believed that there are three major forms in which Durga manifested herself are :- Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Kali who are the active energies (Shakti) of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively, without thes energies they are can’t do any thing even can’t move their fingers. As mentioned in Devi Bhagvatam without Shakti Shiva is just a “Shav” (Dead Body). These three forms of Goddess Durga further manifested in two more forms each, and thus emerged the nine forms of Durga, which are collectively called Navadurga or Nine Durgas.
The nine manifestations Maa Durga, the Nava Durga, whether worshiped with religious fervor during Navaratri, it is believed, lift the divine spirit in us and fill us with renewed happiness. Seeds are sown, sprouting is watched & worshiped by devotees and on the 8th and 9th days, Goddess Durga, Vijayashtami and Mahanavami are worshipped.