Like the Maha Navratri that is celebrated in the months September - October, Chaitra Navratri, people fast during the nine days along with a series of rituals that they follow. Navratri is celebrated in a number of ways across the country. Different regions follow a variety of rituals through the course of the nine days. On each of the nine days, devotees make offerings such as sweets, toys etc. They perform special poojas and havans to welcome Goddess Durga to take shelter in their homes. Just like the tenth day of Sharad Navratri is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijayadashami, the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated as Ram Navami that is celebrated as Lord Rama's birthday. The Chaitra Navratri is therefore also known as as Rama Navratri.
Significance of Navratri:
Chaitra Navratri marks the transition between spring seasons to summer, while Sharad Navratra that is celebrated in September - Octobrer marks the beginning of winter. Devotees across the country believe that the fasts and Pooja that is performed during the course of the nine days help bring peace; prosperity and happiness in one's life
Scientific explanations for fasts and worships during Navratri:
Chaitra Navratri is observed during the time of the year when nature undergoes big changes climatically. It is believed that keeping fast during this time helps one prepare for the summer season. Chaitra Navratri symbolizes beginning of year according to Hindu calendar. It also marks beginning of spring season when new flowers and fruits start to bloom, worshipping gods during this time means, they will continue to bring in happiness throughout the year.
It is also believed that it was during this period that goddess Parvati was visiting her mother only for 9 days and it was during that period that she killed the demon Mahishasur. She is hence worshipped as the symbol of Shakti or Power.
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