Among all Hindu festivals, Navratri is the most celebrated one. This the longest Hindu festival which spreads over nine nights. You must know how to do Navratri puja and fast with all the rituals to worship goddess Durga and gain her blessings.
Navratri Vrat holds immense religious significance as the devotees who observe it for nine long days are blessed with a lot of prosperity, abundance and happiness. There are several rituals and customs that need to be followed while observing the Navratri Vrat.
But first, let's talk about this festival.
The Navratri Festival
Navratri dates change every year; these dates are based on the lunar calendar. Navaratri comes five times a year, but let's talk about the most important ones:
- Maha Navaratri (Sharad Navratri) is celebrated in September or October every year. After the celebration of nine days, the tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami which is a celebration of good over evil and is also known as Dussehra.
To know exact dates about Maha Navaratri click the link below:
- Rama Navratri/Chaitra Navratri is celebrated in March or April. The final day-Ninth day-is celebrated as Rama Navami.
To know the exact dates click the link below:
People worship Goddess Durga and her nine forms during Navratri. According to our Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Goddess had nine forms and all the nine forms are worshipped during the nine-day-long festival. Now let's talk about how to do Durga puja at home during Navratri.
Worshipping Goddess Durga is like praying the shakti element of nature. She is the epitome of energy and devotees pray every different form of the Goddess on all the nine days. Each day is dedicated to the particular form, and devotees offer the elaborate Puja to please that form of the Goddess.
There is special Navratri prasad for all the nine days' Puja. Offering this Bhog (prasadam) with the recitation of Durga Chalisa and other Mantras pleases the Goddess.
It is believed that any devotee who wants to grow spiritually, must seek the blessings of Nav Durga (all nine different forms). It helps to activate different Chakras and Kundalini energy.
Now let's talk about how to do Durga puja at home during Navratri.
Ghatasthaapana or Kalash sthapana is the first and the most important step to begin Navratri Puja. You should place it near the idol of the Goddess and fill it with water. You have to put mango leaves on the top of the Kalash. Place a coconut on the Kalash, and tie a thread around its neck.
Let's check all the pooja items for Navratri.
- Idol or picture of Goddess Durga
- Durga Chalisa
- Ganga water
- Fresh mango leaves
- A coconut
- Roli, Kumkum
- Cloves and cardamom
People observe fast during Navratri in various parts of India. It is said that when someone worships Goddess Durga with a strict fast, he/she can achieve the maximum gain of this Puja. Devotees either take a single meal or can have a strict fast with only fruits and liquids. You may opt to fast one day for every three days of the fast.
Dos and Don'ts Of Navratri vrat.
- Bathing is a must. Keep yourself clean and try to bathe in the wee hours of the morning
- Kanya Puja is a sacred tradition which should be performed at least on the eighth and ninth day.
- If you are on one meal fast, have a full meal only after sunset.
- Keep yourself and the place of Puja clean. It is believed that the Goddess Durga visits every home during the puja time in these nine days.
- During Puja, at morning and evening recite Durga Saptashati.
- According to a belief, a person who is observing a fast should sleep on the ground, and he must follow Brahmacharya
- During Navratri, every day has different colors according to the form of Devi, so try to offer sarees of that particular color on that specific day. To know the colors of each day, click this link:
- Non-vegetarian foods and even garlic and onion is strictly prohibited
- Alcohol is also forbidden during these nine days
- Use rock salt, not the table salt during this fast.
- As per the belief, getting a haircut, shaving, or cutting nails should be abstained in the fasting time.
Navratri fasting food list
What To Eat
- Grains and Flours: Singhade ka Atta, Kuttu ka Atta, Rajgira,sama ka Atta, Sama ke chawal, Sabudana, Phool makhana, etc. can be used
- Nuts: All kinds of nuts are allowed to be consumed during fast.
- Spices: Rock Salt, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cumin powder can be used
- Seasoning agents: Green chilies, Ginger root, Coriander leaves, Lemon juice
- Fruits: All kinds of fruits are allowed. Seasonal fruits are best to consume during fast.
- Raw sugar, Jaggery, Honey, Or regular sugar can be consumed during Navratri fast.
- Milk, curd, coconut powder, grated coconut can be consumed
When To Break Navratri Fast?
After nine days of fasting, when you break your fast, you need to take care of a particular thing. After the pooja of the ninth day, some people break their fast on Vijayadashami. While some people even observe the fast of Dashami.
- When you break the fast, don't plunge on food.
- Some people prefer to break the fast with fruit juice
- Begin with simple and light food for the first two days
- Try having a leafy salad with curd
- Eat-in small portions after every 3-4 hours
- Keep yourself hydrated
Navaratri is a chance to re-energize your life with a vital Shakti element. Chant the Navdurga Stotra, along with Durga Chalisa to seek Devi's blessings.