Sharad Navratri 2023: Date, Muhurat & Importance of the Divine Festival
By: Future Point | 29-Sep-2023Views : 431
What is Shardiya Navratri 2023?
Sharad Navratri or Shardiya Navratri is one of the most popular festivals that is celebrated by people of the Hindu faith. Navratri means “9 Nights” and marks the dedicated worship of Goddess (Maa) Durga by Her devotees that spans for 9 days (and nights). After the 9 days long worship of Goddess Durga, Navratri concludes and the festival of Dussehra is celebrated on the 10th day. Dussehra is also known as Vijayadashmi.
As per the Hindu Lunar Calendar, Sharad Navratri occurs in the month of Ashwin which is during the months of September or October or spans through both. Sharad Navratri marks the start of the ‘Sharad Ritu’ or the autumn season, hence the name ‘Sharad’ Navratri.
Navratri is a much awaited festival by devotees as it is a time to immerse yourself in the devotion of Goddess Durga and seek Her blessings to lead a life which is full of peace, joy, compassion, sound health, contentment & prosperity. This festival carries along a profound element of spirituality & opens up the doorway to divine grace in our lives.
It is observed with immense enthusiasm and fervor throughout the country, with each region adding its unique flavor to the celebrations. During Navratri, Hindus worship the Divine Feminine in the form of Goddess Durga, who symbolizes strength, power, and righteousness.
Sharad Navratri & its Significance
Sharad Navratri occurs in the month of ‘Ashwin’ and has enormous significance for people belonging to the Hindu faith. Devotees worship Goddess Durga in all Her 9 forms throughout these 9 days & nights.
The holy scriptures say that Goddess Durga in all Her forms descends on Earth to bless Her devotees. All 9 days of Navratri are associated with one particular form of Maa Durga.
Devotees worship all the 9 forms of the Goddess on the specific days that are dedicated to those forms.
The Sharad Navratri holds special significance as it celebrates the victory of Maa Durga over Mahishasur who was a demon whom Maa Durga killed during this time to strengthen Dharma. It instills the values of righteousness, courage, and devotion in the hearts of devotees.
The historical origins of Shardiya Navratri are rooted in the sacred Hindu faith. According to the holy Hindu scriptures, Lord Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva created Goddess Durga to combat the demon Mahishasura, who terrorized all the realms including the Earth.
Goddess Durga rode a lion and with cosmic & divine weapons that various divine forms gifted Her, She fought fiercely with Mahishasur for 9 days & nights. Finally, on the tenth day, She killed the demon and that day came to be known as Vijaya Dashami or what is popularly known & celebrated ever since as Dussehra.
This victory of good over evil is celebrated during Navratri, and the festival also marks the time when Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga before embarking on his journey to rescue his wife, Sita who was the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi Herself, from the demon king Ravana.
Over the centuries, Shardiya Navratri has evolved into a grand cultural and religious extravaganza, with various regions in India adding their own unique customs and traditions to the celebration.
It is a time of fasting, prayer, dance, music, and vibrant cultural displays, making it a truly remarkable and diverse festival that unites people across India in a common spiritual thread.
Dates for Celebrating Sharad Navratri in 2023
Following are the dates as per the Hindu Lunar Calendar for celebrating Sharad Navratri in 2023:
Navratri Pratipada: The Pratipada muhurat for Ghatasthapana will be from 11:24 PM on October 14th until 12:32 AM on October 16th. This marks the first day of Navratri.
Navratri Starts: October 15th Shardiya Navratri will officially commence on Sunday, October 15th. The Shubh muhurat for Ghatasthapana and Kalash installation is from 11:44 AM to 12:30 PM on this date.
Navratri Ends: After the nine days & nights of festivities and rituals, Navratri will conclude on Vijayadashami or Dussehra on Tuesday, October 24th.
Shardiya Navratri 2023 overview
|Shardiya Navratri 2023 End date
||Tuesday, 24 October 2023
||11:24 PM on Saturday, October 14th
||12:32 AM on 15th October 2023
||11:44 AM to 12:30 PM on 15th October 2023
Importance of Goddess Durga
Goddess Durga is a central figure in the Hindu faith and holds immense significance in the hearts of Her devotees. She is revered as the epitome of divine femininity and symbolizes strength, courage, and righteousness. The worship of Goddess Durga during Shardiya Navratri is not merely a religious ritual but a profound spiritual journey.
Depiction: Maa (Goddess) Durga is picturised as the manifestation of Adi Shakti Herself with a lion as Her ride and various divine weapons in Her multiple arms. These symbols represent Her ability to protect Her devotees from all forms of evil and adversity.
Motherly Aspect: While She is a fierce warrior, Goddess Durga also embodies a motherly aspect. Her compassion and love for Her devotees are evident in the way She safeguards them from harm, both physical and subtle.
Defeating the Evil: Sharad Navratri marks the auspicious victory over the demon called Mahishasur. This triumph symbolizes the eternal battle between good and evil, emphasizing the belief that righteousness will always prevail.
Navratri Rituals and Traditions
Sharad Navratri is an opportunity for devotees of Maa Durga to immerse themselves in Her devotion with sacred puja (worship) rituals, dedicatedly for 9 days to seek Her immensely auspicious blessings. These rituals are not only spiritually enriching but also help connect individuals with their cultural roots.
Establishing the Sacred Pot: Devotees begin the festival of Sharad Navratri with the process of Ghatasthapana which basically involves establishing a sacred pot that symbolizes Maa Durga’s presence. Devotees meticulously follow specific guidelines to perform this ritual at an auspicious time.
Daily Puja (Worship) Rituals: Goddess Durga has 9 forms and each day of Navratri is associated with a specific form of the Goddess. Devotees offer flowers, incense, lamps, and prayers to honor the specific form of the Goddess for that day.
Observing Fasts: It is very common and rather a tradition among the devotees of Maa Durga to observe fast/s during Navratri. Fasting typically involves abstaining from certain foods, and some may even observe strict water or fruit fasts.
Kanya Pujan: At the completion of Navratri days, young girls are invited and worshipped as incarnations of the Goddess Herself. This ritual, known as Kanya Pujan, reflects the belief that the divine feminine energy resides in every girl.
Vijaya Dashami: After the conclusion of Sharad Navratri, the festival of Vijaya Dashami is celebrated the very next day. It is also known as Dussehra. This day holds great significance as it marks the triumph of good over evil, symbolized by the defeat of Mahishasura by Goddess Durga.
Nine Forms of Goddess Durga
Navadurga refers to the nine distinct forms of Goddess Durga, each of which represents a facet of Her divine power and purpose. During Shardiya Navratri, devotees worship these nine forms on nine consecutive days, invoking the blessings and protection of each manifestation. These forms are not only symbolic but also embody various qualities and attributes.
Detailed Descriptions of Each Form
Day 1 Maa Shailputri (Sunday, 15 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Shailputri, the first form of Navadurga, is depicted as a beautiful Goddess riding a bull. She is depicted as holding a Trident and a Lotus in Her right and left arms respectively.
Significance: Maa Shailputri signifies purity and the start of the Navratri festival. The Goddess is associated with the Earth element and signifies the power & strength of mountains.
Day 2 Maa Brahmacharini (Monday, 16 October 2023):
Appearance of Maa Brahmacharini: Maa Brahmacharini appears as a form of Maa Durga who holds a divine rosary and sacred pot of water in Her right & left arms respectively. She symbolizes simplicity and knowledge.
Significance: This form represents the pursuit of knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Devotees seek Her blessings to attain spiritual growth.
Day 3 Maa Chandraghanta (Tuesday, 17 October 2023):
Appearance of Maa Chandraghanta: Maa Chandraghanta is depicted as a fierce form of Goddess Durga having a crescent Moon on Her forehead. She holds various weapons and a bell, signifying courage and bravery.
Significance: Maa Chandraghanta is the protector of Her devotees and wards off negative energies. Her worship instills courage and fearlessness.
Day 4 Maa Kushmanda (Wednesday, 18 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Kushmanda is depicted as a radiant Goddess seated on a tiger. She has eight arms and holds various weapons, a rosary, and a lotus.
Maa Kushmanda’s Significance: As per the holy Hindu scriptures, Maa Kushmanda brought this universe into existence. Her name, "Ku-shm-anda," means "the cosmic egg," signifying Her role in bringing light to the universe.
Day 5 Maa Skandamata (Thursday, 19 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Skandamata, the mother of Lord Skanda (Kartikeya), holds Her infant son in Her lap while riding a lion. She has four arms.
Significance: This form epitomizes motherly love and protection. People worship this form of the Goddess to seek Her blessings and ensure a happy life for their children.
Day 6 Maa Katyayani (Friday, 20 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Katyayani is a fierce form of the Goddess with four arms, carrying a sword and a lotus. She is often portrayed riding a lion.
Significance: Maa Katyayani is the warrior Goddess who symbolizes strength and valor. Her worship is believed to bring courage and protection against evil forces.
Day 7 Maa Kaalratri (Saturday, 21 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Kaalratri is a fearsome form of Maa (Goddess) Durga with a dark complexion. She wears a necklace of lightning and holds a curved sword and a Vajra in Her arms.
Significance: Maa Kaalratri is the destroyer of ignorance and evil. Her worship is believed to remove obstacles and grant spiritual awakening.
Day 8 Maa Maha Gauri (Sunday, 22 October 2023):
Appearance: Maa Mahagauri is depicted as a radiant Goddess dressed in white. The Goddess in one of Her 4 arms, is seen holding a divine Trident.
Significance: Mahagauri represents purity and serenity. Her worship is sought for inner peace and spiritual purity.
Day 9 Maha Navami (Monday, 23 October 2023):
Appearance of Maa Siddhidatri: Maa Siddhidatri is depicted as a divine form who has 4 arms and the One who sit on a big divine Lotus. She holds a mace, a conch shell, a discus, and a lotus.
Significance: Maa Siddhidatri grants spiritual and mystical powers to Her devotees. Her worship is believed to bestow divine blessings and accomplishments.
Regional Variations of Shardiya Navratri
Celebrations in North India
Shardiya Navratri, while celebrated across India, exhibits regional diversity in its customs and traditions. In North India, particularly in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana, Navratri is synonymous with vibrant and lively celebrations.
- Garba and Dandiya Raas: In the northern states, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan, Garba and Dandiya Raas are the highlights of Navratri. These energetic and colorful folk dances are performed by men and women, often in traditional attire, using sticks or clapping their hands to the beats of the music.
- Ramlila: In Uttar Pradesh and many other parts of North India, Ramlila performances are organized during Navratri. These enactments depict episodes from the life of Lord Rama, culminating in the burning of the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnada on Dussehra.
- Kanjak Pujan: A unique tradition in North India is "Kanjak Pujan," where young girls are invited into homes and worshipped as embodiments of Goddess Durga. They are offered gifts and special meals as a symbol of respect for the divine feminine.
Navratri in South India
In South India, particularly in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh, the focus during Navratri is primarily on the worship of Goddess Durga in Her various forms.
- Golu Display: A prominent tradition in South India is the "Golu" or "Kolu" display. Families arrange tiers of steps and decorate them with idols, figurines, and dolls depicting various deities and themes. This exhibition is visited by friends and relatives during Navratri.
- Saraswati Puja: In some regions of South India, the ninth day of Navratri is dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge and learning. Books, musical instruments, and tools are placed before the deity for blessings.
- Vijaya Dashami Processions: The culmination of Navratri is marked by grand processions and idol immersions. In Mysore, the Mysuru Dasara festival is renowned for its royal procession featuring an elaborately decorated elephant carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari.
East and West India Navratri Traditions
Navratri traditions in Eastern and Western India also showcase regional flavors.
- Durga Puja in West Bengal: West Bengal is famous for its elaborate Durga Puja celebrations during Navratri. Beautiful idols of Maa Durga are housed and worshipped during Navratri in temporary structures called “Pandals” where people pay a devotional visit. The city of Kolkata, in particular, comes alive with artistic and cultural events.
- Navratri Raas-Garba in Gujarat: Gujarat, in Western India, is the epicenter of Garba and Dandiya Raas dances during Navratri. Communities gather in open grounds and venues for these energetic dance forms.
- Navratri in Odisha: In Odisha, the festival is celebrated as "Sharadiya Navaratra," and it involves the worship of Goddess Durga in Her various forms. Elaborate decorations and cultural performances are part of the festivities.
Navratri Songs and Music
Music is an integral part of Navratri, elevating the festive atmosphere and enhancing the spiritual experience. Devotional songs and music associated with Navratri are diverse and culturally rich.
- Bhajans and Aartis: Devotees sing bhajans (devotional songs) and perform aartis (worship ritual songs) dedicated to Goddess Durga. These songs express devotion, gratitude, and praise for the Goddess.
- Durga Stuti and Chants: The recitation of Durga Stuti, a hymn that extols the virtues of Goddess Durga, is a common practice during Navratri. Chants like "Om Dum Durgayei Namaha" resonate with spiritual significance.
- Contemporary Navratri Music: In addition to traditional music, contemporary Navratri songs have gained popularity. These songs fuse traditional melodies with modern beats, creating a dynamic and vibrant musical experience.
Role of Dance in Navratri Celebrations
Dance plays a pivotal role in Navratri celebrations, fostering a sense of community, joy, and devotion.
- Social Gathering: Navratri is a time when communities come together to dance, socialize, and celebrate. Garba and Dandiya Raas serve as platforms for people of all ages to connect and enjoy each other's company.
- Expression of Devotion: The energetic and rhythmic dance forms are not only a mode of celebration but also a means of expressing devotion to Goddess Durga. The synchronized movements and beats align with the divine energy of the Goddess.
- Cultural Preservation: Garba and Dandiya Raas are more than just dances; they are cultural expressions that preserve the rich heritage and traditions of Gujarat and India as a whole.
Shardiya Navratri Decorations
A. Home Decor
Shardiya Navratri is not just a religious festival; it's a grand celebration of culture and tradition, and this is beautifully reflected in the way homes are adorned during this auspicious time.
- Mesmerizing Designs with Rangoli: Home entrances are beautifully decorated with breathtaking designs of Rangoli. These colorful patterns, created using rice flour, colored powders, and flower petals, are not only visually appealing but also symbolize the welcoming of Goddess Durga into the household.
- Flower Decor: Flowers, especially marigolds and jasmine, are used abundantly for decoration. Strings of fresh flowers are hung across doorways and windows, infusing the air with their sweet fragrance.
- Traditional Lamps: Oil lamps or diyas are placed around the house. These lamps symbolize the victory of light over darkness and are lit to welcome the Goddess and ward off negativity.
- Torans and Garlands: Doorway hangings known as "torans" or "bandhanwar" are made from mango leaves, marigolds, and other decorative items. They signify prosperity and good luck. Colorful flower garlands also adorn various parts of the home.
B. Temple and Puja Area Décor
The heart of Navratri celebrations lies in the worship of Goddess Durga, and the temple or puja area is adorned with great care and devotion.
- Idol and Kalash Decoration: The idol of Goddess Durga is dressed in exquisite traditional attire and adorned with jewelry. The sacred Kalash, representing the Goddess, is decorated with bright cloth, flowers, and leaves.
- Prayer Accessories: Items such as conch shells, incense holders, and decorative plates for aarti (ritual offerings) are embellished with artistic designs and colors.
- Floral Arrangements: Fresh flowers, especially lotus flowers, are placed around the deity as a symbol of purity and devotion. These flowers further enhance the beauty & positive ambience of the space.
C. Public Celebrations
Beyond homes and temples, public spaces are transformed into vibrant arenas during Shardiya Navratri.
- Pandal Decor: Temporary structures known as "pandals" are erected for community gatherings and cultural events. These pandals are adorned with intricate artwork, often depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.
- Decorations with Lights: The pavilions (pandals) along with public places like markets are given a pleasant & illuminating makeover with lights of multiple colours.
- Art Installations: Elaborate art installations, including statues and sculptures, are set up to showcase the cultural heritage and the spirit of Navratri.
Significance of Colors in Navratri
The celebration of Navratri is not only a spiritual journey but also a visual spectacle, thanks to the significance of colors associated with each day of the festival. These colors are more than just aesthetic choices; they carry deep spiritual meaning and symbolism that add to the richness of the Navratri experience.
Day 1 - Pratipada (Orange):
Orange symbolizes energy, enthusiasm, and a fresh start. It reflects the excitement and anticipation of embarking on the nine-day devotion to Goddess Durga.
Day 2 - Dwitiya (White):
White represents purity, peace, and serenity. It signifies the inner purification of the devotee's heart and mind in preparation for divine blessings.
Day 3 - Tritiya (Red):
Red embodies strength, courage, and action. It represents the resolve to overcome hurdles by seeking the blessings of Goddess Durga.
Day 4 - Chaturthi (Royal Blue):
Royal blue is associated with the infinite potential within every individual. It encourages self-reflection, spiritual awakening, and tapping into one's inner strength.
Day 5 - Panchami (Yellow):
Yellow represents happiness, optimism, and positivity. It reminds people of the joy that comes with devotion and the radiant light within.
Day 6 - Shashti (Green):
Green symbolizes growth, harmony, and prosperity. It signifies the nurturing of the soul through worship and devotion.
Day 7 - Saptami (Grey):
Grey signifies the power & determination to face obstacles that one might encounter on the path of spirituality. It represents unwavering resilience.
Day 8 - Ashtami (Purple):
Purple embodies mysticism and inner peace. It represents the link between the physical & subtle realms and promotes intelligence & divine perception to know the Divine.
Day 9 - Navami (Peacock Green):
Peacock green, with its elegance and beauty, reflects the graceful culmination of the nine-day devotion to Goddess Durga. This colour portrays the Mother Divine in Her eternal grace.
Spiritual and Cultural Significance
Navratri as a Time for Spiritual Growth
Shardiya Navratri, spanning 9 days (and nights), holds profound spiritual significance for millions of devotees across India and the world. At its core, Navratri is a celebration of the divine feminine energy, epitomized by Goddess Durga, and it carries several spiritual meanings:
- Victory of Divinity over Evil: Navratri signifies the triumph of Maa Durga in Her battle against demon Mahishasur. This victory symbolizes the eternal battle between good and evil, reinforcing the belief that righteousness and virtue will always prevail.
- Devotion and Surrender: Navratri is a time when devotees express their deep devotion and surrender to the divine. Through prayers, rituals, and fasting, individuals seek the blessings of Goddess Durga, inviting Her grace and protection into their lives.
- Inner Transformation: The period of Navratri represents a journey of self-purification and inner transformation. Devotees use this period to cleanse their minds and hearts, letting go of negative traits and embracing positive qualities.
- Energy of the Feminine Divine: The festival of Navratri celebrates and connects with the energy of the Feminine Divine with a sense of immense gratitude. Devotees invoke this energy to attain spiritual growth, wisdom, and inner strength.
Cultural Impact and Celebrations
Navratri is not just a religious festival; it is a vibrant celebration of India's diverse cultures, traditions, and unity. Its cultural significance extends to various aspects:
- Dressing-Up Traditionally: Both men & women wear beautiful traditional dresses to celebrate the festive spirit of Navratri. These outfits showcase the rich textile heritage of India.
- Music and Dance: The lively and rhythmic Garba and Dandiya Raas dances are integral to Navratri's cultural identity. These folk dances foster a sense of community, joy, and cultural pride.
- Art and Craft: Navratri inspires intricate artwork and craftsmanship, from the creation of beautiful idols of Goddess Durga to the design of rangoli patterns and pandal decorations. These artistic expressions showcase India's cultural diversity.
- Culinary Delights: The festival is an occasion for relishing a variety of traditional dishes, sweets, and snacks. Regional specialties, such as Gujarati dhokla and Bengali sweets, add to the culinary richness of Navratri.
Navratri is celebrated differently in various regions of India, reflecting the cultural diversity of the country. Whether it's the grand Durga Puja in West Bengal, the exuberant Garba in Gujarat, or the traditional Golu display in South India, each region adds its unique flavor to the festival.
Famous Navratri Celebrations
Navratri in Gujarat
Gujarat, the land of vibrant culture and traditions, is renowned for its grand Navratri celebrations. The state comes alive with the infectious energy of Garba and Dandiya Raas, making it one of the most famous and extravagant Navratri festivals in India.
Kolkata Durga Puja
In West Bengal, Navratri takes on a unique form as the Durga Puja festival. It is one of the most famous and elaborate celebrations in the state, celebrating the Goddess's arrival with unmatched fervor.
Tips for a Safe and Joyous Navratri
- Get sufficient sleep during the nine-day festival to avoid exhaustion.
- Have light and nutritious food when fasting; avoid long gaps between meals.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water, juices, coconut water, chaas, etc.
- Avoid strenuous exercises and physical stress during the fasting period.
- Manage chronic health conditions carefully and consult doctors if needed.
- Take prescribed medications without skipping or delaying doses.
- Stop the fast if you feel unwell and have something nourishing to eat.
Safety Measures during Public Celebrations
- Cooperate with organizers and police personnel at celebration venues.
- Keep valuables safe and avoid carrying excess cash.
- Follow all safety rules and avoid overcrowding at pandals or performances.
- Drive slowly and avoid using vehicles if possible due to crowds.
- Stay vigilant of surroundings and promptly report any suspicious activity.
Shardiya Navratri in the Modern Era
While the ancient legends and rituals endure, Shardiya Navratri has adapted to the modern age in creative ways. Youth organize Navratri theme parties and fusion garbas. Bollywood songs with dandiya beats are a hit. Tech savvy pujas use apps for mantra chanting and japa.
Cultural events like Ramlila play to packed audiences. Fashionable outfits rule over traditional wear. Specialty food stalls cater to diverse tastes. Inclusivity and innovation allow the essence of Navratri to resonate across generations. The festival retains its exuberance and divinity despite changing times.
Sharad Navratri is an opportunity to immerse your soul in the devotion of Mother Almighty Goddess Durga. Seek the blessings of Maa Durga by worshipping all Her 9 forms and open up the door to divine bliss & grace in your life. This Sharad Navratri festival not only strengthens one's faith but also fosters unity and cultural diversity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When does Sharad Navratri 2023 begin?
As per the HIndu Lunar Calendar, Sharad Navratri in 2023 will begin on 15th October 2023.
How is Goddess Durga worshipped during Navratri?
Goddess Durga is worshipped through prayers, fasting, temple visits, and cultural performances like Garba and Dandiya.
What does the 9 forms of Maa Durga signify?
Each form of Maa Durga represents different qualities and aspects of divine feminine energy, including power, wisdom, and protection.
Do the Navratri celebrations differ as per regions in India?
Giving the message of “beauty in diversity”, Navratri celebrations differ as per regions in India.
What message does the Sharad Navratri promote?
Sharad Navratri is a festival that promotes utmost devotion and dedicated worship of the 9 forms of the Feminine Divine who is the very basis & core of the creation.