Today is the 6th day of the festival called Navratri. In Sanskrit, ‘Nava’ means nine and ‘Ratri’, night. A festival which lasts 9 nights and 10 days long. During Navratri, Hindu goddess ‘Durga’ and her various forms are worshipped. She is the Supreme Mother to all, encompassing love, compassion, divinity, wisdom, courage and much more.
These 9 nights are spent worshipping three main Goddesses in Hinduism; Parvati(Durga), Lakshmi and Saraswati. Goddess Durga represents courage and power. Goddess Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and Goddess Saraswati blesses her devotees with spiritual wisdom and knowledge. Devotees spend each night of Navratri for a specific form of Durga Ma (Mother Durga).
Day 1 – Shailaputri
She is the daughter of the Himalayas. She is worshipped as the consort of Lord Shiva.
Day 2 – Brahmacharini
Her name is derived from ‘Brahma’, which means penance.
Day 3 – Chandraghanta
She is the symbol of beauty and bravery. She adorns a half-moon (Chanda) shaped like a bell (Ghanta) on her forehead.
Day 4 – Kushmanda
She was thought to have created the entire Universe just from her laughter.
Day 5 – Skandamaata
The mother of Lord Skanda, the God of War.
Day 6 – Kaatyayani
Seated on her vehicle lion, Kaatyayani destroyed the demon Mahishasura.
Day 7 – Kaalratri
Kaalratri is as black as a dark night and anger in her eyes is evident. She is the fiercest form of Goddess Durga.
Day 8 – Mahagauri
This form of goddess Durga is extremely beautiful and symbolizes purity, wisdom, and calmness.
Day 9 – Siddhidaatri
She is purely energy and has no form. She is worshipped by humans, gurus, devas and asuras (demons) for her supernatural powers.
The last day is called Vijayadashami, where in some regions in India, idols of Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and more are brought to a river in a large procession accompanied by songs and music. They are then immersed in water. Dussehra also coincides with this event. It is a celebration of good over evil. Lord Rama defeated the ten-headed demon Ravana and to remember this victory, effigies of Ravana are set on fire.
There you go. A short description of the long and elaborate festival celebrating the Divine Mother. I’ve learnt more about this festival while researching about it for the last 3 days. In certain parts of India, Navratri is celebrated on a larger scale than Diwali (Festival of Light). I would love to take part in this wonderful celebration in India in the near future. All the colours, music, dancing, food and most importantly, thanking and remembering the beautiful Mother Durga.
I am a believer that we are all walking temples. The Gods and Goddesses in all religions can be found within you and I, residing quietly in our hearts, waiting to be awaken. So, during Navratri, I don’t only celebrate the victory of Durga Ma against the demon Mahishasura. I celebrate my sisters, daughters and mothers out there, merging victoriously from their personal battles with their own demons. I celebrate women of all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and walks of life. I celebrate being a woman, because there is a goddess within me. And every time I see a beautiful statue of Durga Maa, I wish to be a woman capable of loving unconditionally, forgiving, remaining courageous and being pure in my heart, mind and soul, just like Her. That is what I wish upon all of you as well.
Click here to read a poem I wrote in conjunction of this festival.
Thank you for reading!
Much love, Ema xx