Know Your Neighbour: Navaratri

Know Your Neighbour: Navaratri

As part of the Know Your Neighbour series, we are talking this week about the Hindu festival, Navaratri. This is a time in the year when women and the female representation of the divine are celebrated!

What is Navaratri?

Navaratri is one of the greatest Hindu festivals and symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It is also a festival where the female manifestations of God are recognised and God is adored as Mother.

Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, but this festival is also known as Durga Puja.

When is Navaratri?

This festival usually takes place around harvest time at the beginning of October. In 2015, Navaratri will take place between 13th and 22nd October.

Why is Navaratri celebrated?

Navaratri is a festival dedicated to Durga who is the mother goddess. Durga represents power and annihilated the demon Mahishasura after a battle that lasted nine days and nine nights, hence the length of the festival.

Hindus celebrate Navaratri because of this amazing battle and use it as an opportunity to celebrate femininity, women, and motherhood.

How is Navaratri celebrated?

The creative power of the feminine in the divine is personified in the forms of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.

One of the main ways to celebrate Navaratri is for families to get together for dances and feasts each night.

However, other traditions include some women who plant nine food grain seeds in small containers during the nine days and then offer the young saplings to the goddess.

Some devotees of Durga will also fast and offer prayers for the protection of property and health.

Navaratri is also a time for shopping, when women will shop for new clothes and new pots, as well as gold and jewellery. Women tend to dress very elaborately for each of the nightly feasts and dances. 

Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones

Date: 09 October 2015