Bhubaneswar, Oct 7: Navratri, a sacred Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Durga, holds immense significance in Northern and Eastern India. This nine-night celebration is marked by vibrant dance performances, an array of special culinary delights, and heartfelt prayers offered to Goddess Durga.
Hindus observe four seasonal Navratris in accordance with the Hindu calendar: Chaitra Navratri, Magha Gupta Navratri, Ashadha Gupta Navratri, and Sharad Navratri. Sharad Navratri, typically occurring in September and October, is the most widely celebrated. This year, Sharad Navratri will commence on October 15 with Ghatasthapana and conclude on October 24 with Vijay Dashami and Durga Visarjan.
During Navratri, devotees earnestly seek the blessings of Goddess Durga through various forms of worship. To observe this auspicious nine-day festival with devotion and respect, it's essential to adhere to certain rules and traditions. Here are some important dos and don'ts for Navratri that all devotees should consider:
Dos during Navratri:
Respect Women: Navratri is a celebration of the nine forms of Goddess Durga, emphasizing the importance of respecting women. Throughout the festival and beyond, remember to treat women with reverence to receive the divine blessings of Maa Durga.
Maintain Harmony: A peaceful and harmonious household attracts happiness and prosperity throughout the year. Strive to avoid conflicts, disagreements, and arguments during the nine days of Navratri within your home.
Vegetarian Diet: It is advisable to abstain from consuming non-vegetarian food during Navratri as a mark of reverence for the festival.
Akhand Jyoti: If you choose to light an 'akhand jyoti' (continuous flame) for the nine days, ensure that you adhere to all the rules and rituals associated with the puja.
Prasad Offering: Before partaking in the Prasad (sacred food offerings), it is customary to offer it to young girls, symbolizing the divine presence of Goddess Durga.
Avoid Garlic and Onions: Ensure that any offerings made to Maa Durga do not include garlic and onions, as they are typically excluded from sacred preparations.
Haircut and Shaving: Those observing Anusthan, a dedicated ritual, are advised to refrain from haircuts and shaving during the nine days of Navratri.
Recitation of Durga Saptashati: Reciting the shlokas (verses) of Durga Saptashati is considered auspicious during Navratri. If uncertain about the correct recitation, seek guidance from an expert pandit.
Don'ts during Navratri:
Alcohol and Tobacco: Abstain from consuming alcohol and tobacco throughout the nine days of Navratri as a sign of purity and devotion.
Sleeping During Anusthan: Those following the Anusthan ritual are advised to avoid sleeping during this sacred period.
Observing these guidelines will help you celebrate Navratri with utmost reverence, ensuring a spiritually enriching experience during this auspicious festival dedicated to Goddess Durga.