Chaitra Navaratri is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April) for nine days beginning with first day of Chaitra month as ‘Navratri Sthapna’ or Ghat Sthapna’ that signifies invoking of Goddess Shakti – a form of Goddess Durga. The festival culminates on the ninth day with Ram Navami being celebrated with fervor all over the North India. Chaitra Navratri is also called Basant Navratri as it is celebrated in the Spring season. In West Bengal, this Navratri is celebrated as Basanti Puja.
Chaitra Navratri 2013 Dates
Chaitra Navratri in 2013 will be celebrated from 11 April to 19 April 2013
Chaitra Navaratri festival will be celebrated from 11 April 2013 when Navratri Sthapna (invoking Goddess Durga) will be done till 19 April 2013 marked as Ram Navami.
- Day 1- Navratri Ghat Sthapna: April 11, 2013
- Day 2- Sindhara Dooj: April 12, 2013
- Day 3- Gaur Teej/ Saubhagya Teej: April 13, 2013
- Day 4- Varadvinayak Chaturthi: April 14, 2013
- Day 5- Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat/ Naag Vrat : April 15, 2013
- Day 6- Skand Shashthi/ Yamuna Jayanti: April 16, 2013
- Day 7- Mahasaptami Vrat/ Chaiti Chhath: April 17, 2013
- Day 8- Sri Durga Mahaashtami/ Annapurna Ashtami: April 18, 2013
- Day 9- Ram Navami: April 19, 2013 (This year, Ram Navami will be celebrated on 20 April 2013)
Significance of Nine Days of Chaitra Navratri Festival
Navaratri (Nava= 9 and Ratri= Night) is the nine day long festival to worship Goddess Durga in her nine incarnations. Each of the day in Navratri is dedicated to one of the forms of Goddess Durga.
- First Navratri Day – dedicated to ‘Shailputri’, considered to be the daughter of the Himalayas. She is the form known as Goddess Shakti (Goddess of Energy)
- Second Navratri Day – dedicated to ‘Brahmacharini,’ representing ‘Tapa’ or penance. She is also a form of Mata Shakti (Grand Energy).
- Third Navratri Day – dedicated to the goddess ‘Chandraghanta’- she represents beauty and bravery form of the Goddess.
- Fourth Navratri Day – dedicated to the goddess ‘Kushmandas’- Amba the mother of the entire Universe.
- Fifth Navratri Day – dedicated to the Goddess ‘Skand Mata’- believed to be the mother of the chief warrior of the army of Gods- Skanda.
- Sixth Navratri Day – dedicated to the goddess ‘Katyayani’ having three eyes and four hands.
- Seventh Navratri Day – dedicated to the Goddess ‘Chandika’ – Chandi’ who makes all her devotees fearless.
- Eighth Navratri Day – dedicated to ‘Parvati’- Maha Gauri who represents calmness and wisdom.
- Ninth Navratri Day – dedicated to ‘Siddhidatri’- believed to be equipped with all the eight siddhis and worshiped by all the Rishis and Yogis (sages).
All the above incarnations of Goddess Shakti represent three different forms of womanhood – those of a child, young girl and a mature woman.
Chaitra Navratri Rituals
During the nine days of Chaitra Navratri, the devotees of Goddess observe fast on all the nine days. Some of them observe fast on first and last day of Navratri.
On the first day which is the day of Navaratri Sthapna, Ghat Sthapna is performed. Ghat is a metal or clay pot which is filled with holy Ganga water (or pure water) and scent, flowers, coins, mango leaves, rice, and coconut in red cloth tied with ‘Moli’ (red sacred thread). This represents invoking of various gods along with Goddess Durga. Along with this Ghat, a clay pot is also established at the place of worship with the idol or picture of the Goddess. This clay pot is filled with soil and barley seeds are sown into it. Water is poured into this clay pot on each of the nine days of Navaratri during ‘Puja’ (worship). This pot represent prosperity in the family. On the ninth day, some of the barley sprouts are offered to the Goddess and the rest are placed under a ‘Peepal’ tree in vicinity.
Every morning, all the members of the household worship the established ‘Ghat’ and barley pot along with the idol/ picture of the Goddess. In evenings too, ‘Aarti’ (devotional songs) is performed. All those who observe fast, do not eat regular food. They either have fruits all the day long or have ‘Sagaar’ only once in the day. Sagaar is a food prepared with flour of Kutu/Rajgiri/Singhada, potatoes etc. This food is taken after offering to the Goddess.
Chaitra Navratri and Other Navratri Festivals
Chaitra Navratri is not the only festival that worships the Goddess Shakti’s nine incarnations. There are five Navratri festivals altogether celebrated in a year of which two are the major ones- Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri celebrated in the month of ‘Ashwin’ (September-October). Below is the list of all the Navratri festivals celebrated during a year
- Chaitra or Vasanta Navaratri- Celebrated in the spring season (March-April)
- Gupta Navaratri- Also called Ashadha or Gayatri or Shakambhari Navratri celebrated in the month of Ashadha (June-July).
- Sharad Navaratri- It is the most important of the all Navratris- celebrated in the month of Ashvina (September-October).
- Paush Navaratri- It is celebrated in Paush month (December-January).
- Magha Navaratri- It is also referred to as Gupta Navratri- celebrated in the month of Magha (January-February).