Every year the festival of Chaitra Navratri is celebrated with great enthusiasm and high spirits all over India. Chaitra Navratri starts from the beginning of the month of the Chaitra according to the Hindu calendar. This festival is observed for 9 days as the name itself suggests. Chaitra Navratri is the worship of Ma Ambe or the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Each and every day of this festival has its own significance. Elaborate puja or ceremony is organized in majority of the households where the 9 day fasts are carried out by men and women. Purification of the soul and the environment is observed.
During the first 3 days of this fasting festival seeds of wheat are planted in a mud pot called jwara. Ma Durga is worshipped with utmost religious fervor. Next 3 days are also observed in the worship of Ma Lakshmi for the prosperity of the family. The last 3 days are observed by preparing for yagnas which is performed on the 8th or 9th auspicious days called the Ashtami and Navmi.
There are 9 goddesses, who also signify the victory of good over evil. Many devotees worship all the 9 forms of the goddess. At the end of festival small girls are worshipped as Ma and considered pure and divine. Chaitra Navratri is about worshipping all the 9 forms of goddesses which are the symbols of strength (Shakti) for 9 days.
Even though fasting is the most important ritual of this festival it does not dampen the spirit of joy and festivity. Folk dance of Gujrat- Garba is organized. Devotees gather around in a common place to perform Garba in colorful, traditional clothes all night long. Bhajans and devotional songs of Ma Ambe are sung live by talented singers and performers.
On the date of Pratipad, before starting Navrati Puja, Kalash Sthapna or the Ghat Sthapna is performed. Devi Pujan has a great Mahatmya in the Hindu Dharm. In this period, 9 days fasting is observed. On the 9th day, 10 years old girls are worshipped and offered food. In every religious pilgrimage, Ghat Sthapna is performed during the auspicious muhurat after sunrise. On the first day of Navratri, Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesha are worshipped. Seeds of barley and wheat are sown in soil, placed in a vessel made of mud.
Nine Incarnation of Goddess
Nine incarnations of Mata are worshipped during Navratri. The names of nine Goddesses are as follows:-
5. Skanda Mata
8. Maha Gauri