Navaratri, known by multiple names in different regions of India is a grandiose festival epitomizing the triumph of good over evil. It also signifies self introspection and spiritual realization. It is known as the Durga Puja in Bengal, Dussehra in Bombay and the Saraswati Puja and Ayudha Puja in south.
The origin of the word Navaratri lies in the Sanskrit language and means ‘nine nights’ (nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights). These nine days, which fall in the month of September/October each year, mark the worship of the divine goddess Shakti/Devi.
During this period of festivities, Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped as three different manifestations of Shakti, or the cosmic energy. Consequently, Navaratri is divided into sets of three days to revere different aspects of the supreme goddess.
During this period of festivities, Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped as three different manifestations of Shakti, or the cosmic energy
On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga who symbolizes the destruction of all negativity, evils and vices.
The next three days, the Mother is venerated as a provider of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is known to possess the power of bestowing on her devotees, the boon of boundless wealth.
The final set of three days signifies the worshipping of the mother as the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. To have absolute success in life, the blessings of all three forms of the divine mother are elemental; hence, the worship for the nine nights.
The last three days of the Navaratri are called Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadasami, and they are considered extremely sacred in comparison with the rest of the days of celebration.
People of Kerala celebrate Navaratri in all manner of pomp, prayers and merriment in the most befitting manner. The Saraswati puja and Ayudha Puja are performed on the Durgashtami day. A ceremony called Poojavaipu is performed in the evening .Prior to the Poojavaipu, all studies and work which require intelligence and skill, are brought to a halt.
Following the ‘Poojavaipu’, a Pooja is performed offering prayers to goddess Saraswati, during which fruits, beaten rice, roasted paddy (malar), jaggery etc, are offered to the divine goddess. The following day is known as Mahanavami during which the Saraswati Pooja is performed both in the morning and in the evening.
On the Vijayadasami day after a Pooja in the morning, the Books and tools are removed from the room and this ceremony is called the `Pooja Eduppu’.
This auspicious festival also witnesses the introduction of children to first few letters of the alphabet written on rice or sand directed by revered elders. This marks their initiation into the world of knowledge. This is a tradition carried down over centuries and is called the `Ezhuthinu Iruthu’ or ‘Vidyarambham’ and as per the widespread belief, only after this ceremony will a child become entitled to and capable of reading and writing.
This auspicious festival also witnesses the introduction of children to first few letters of the alphabet written on rice or sand directed by revered elders. This marks their initiation into the world of knowledge.
This festival also sets forward an attraction in the form of an assortment of sweets and dishes prepared all over the country apart from various colorful idols and figurines showcased in every nook and cranny. Navarathri renders the country colorful and ridden with utter joy, merriment and worship, truly a sight worth beholding.