India is a multicultural country, and people celebrate several festivals throughout the year. Navaratri is one such Hindu festival celebrated with grandeur and zest. ‘Nav’ and ‘Ratri’ mean 9 and nights, respectively. This festival continues for nine nights with several rituals and fasting.
However, Navaratri is much more than ‘larger than life’ celebrations! Hence, we should tell your kids the significance and interesting things about Navaratri so they understand their cultures and traditions better!
1. Why do we celebrate Navratri?
The worship of goddess Durga for nine days and nights is marked as Navratri. During these 9 days, devotees worship 9 different incarnations of Maa Durga – Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skanda Mata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri.
These 9 incarnations signify power and energy, and combine to form Goddess Durga! As per mythology, Goddess Durga killed Mahishashura, the buffalo-headed demon after a terrible battle that lasted 9 days.
Hence, Navratri also celebrates the good over the evil!
2. Reason behind fasting
Vrat or fasting is an integral part of Navratri that kids may know. However, you need to tell them the reason behind it. Besides showing devotion to the goddess Durga, fasting also have health benefits.
For instance, it is great for digestive system and also helps flush out toxins accumulated in your body. However, fasting during Navratri means the worshippers can have a full meal only after the sunset once the puja is done!
They can also have tea, juice, water and fruits during the day time!
3. Kanya puja
Kanya means ‘girls’ and one of the interesting things about Navratri is worshipping 9 girls during this festival. Although devotees can perform Kanya puja on any day of Navratri, it is usually done on Ashtami and Navami.
The devotees take shower in the morning, worship goddess Mahagauri and Siddhidatri. They invite nine girls aged between 2 to 10 years, wash their feet with clean water, let them sit in a seat and worship them followed by feeding them food at the home.
Since Navratri celebrates the immense female power and energy, Kanya puja is a major part of it. This puja gives a message to society to treat women equally, respectfully and celebrate them wholeheartedly!
4. Kalash Sthapna
The celebrations and all the rituals of Navratri starts after you fill a Kalash (earthen, copper or brass pot) with barley seeds, cover the top with a lid and tie red threads around it.
The vessel full of grains is considered to bring prosperity to home. This is also a way to invite goddess Durga and pray her to stay for these 9 days of Navratri.
5. Different states celebrate Navratri differently
Navratri is celebrated across the country and it has different names in different regions. For instance, Sarad Navratri in West Bengal or eastern India is celebrated as Durga Puja.
In western part of India, Navratri is celebrated with Garba dance and Dandiya-raas! Southern India celebrates it as Ayudha puja and in north India, the ninth day of Navratri is celebrated as Ram Navami (the birth of Lord Ram).
What other interesting things about Navaratri that you think your kids should know? Let us know in the comments below!