Navaratri - Festival of Divine Feminine

Navaratri - Festival of Divine Feminine

The festival of Navaratri is observed by Hindus all over the world through different customs and traditions to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Depending on the region of India and the legends revolving around them, the Navratri celebrations last over nine days in honor of Goddess Durga who is also known as Shakti.

In the month of Ashvin the festival celebrates the divine feminine energy over nine days which are popularly known as Navratri, ‘Nava’ and ‘Ratri’ meaning a period of nine nights.

On the tenth day, Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, marks the end of Navratri. While most people use this time for dancing and feasting, many others engage in learning religious thought and fasting. Garba is a popular dance ritual followed in Gujarat during Navratri celebrations. Maharashtra and Karnataka also celebrate Navratri as a very popular event.

The nine nights of the festival are often devoted to various aspects of the divine feminine energy or Shakti. The first third of the festival usually concentrates on features of the goddess Durga, the second third on the goddess Lakshmi, and the last third on the goddess Sarasvati, however, the pattern varies significantly in different places.

Offerings and ceremonies are frequently done in honor of the goddess and their incarnations. Navratri in Bengal is celebrated in the form of Durga Puja ("Rite of Durga"), the biggest state festival and holiday where devotees pray and make offerings to Devi Durga.

The tenth day is revered as Vijaya Dashami where joyous processions carry Durga idols to honor her victory over the buffalo-headed demon ‘Mahishasura’. The idols are immersed into local rivers or reservoirs. The triumph of good over evil, such as Durga's over Mahishasura, is celebrated at Dussehra.

Dussehra is also celebrated in various regions of India as the day that Lord Rama defeated the evil king Ravana. Ram Lila ("Play of Rama") is enacted throughout parts of north India. Young performers in extravagant costumes and masks recreate many scenes of the epic fight sequence between Lord Rama Ravana from Ramayana, concluding with the burning of enormous Ravana effigies. Dussehra is believed to be an auspicious occasion to begin new endeavors.