The nine nights of Navaratri are celebrated all across India with pomp and piety as a time to absorb new energy and attain real wisdom
10/10/2016 4:56:11 PM
|written By : S B S Surendran|
The nine-day Hindu festival known as Navratri is part of a pan-Asian, nine-day autumn festival that goes by different names in various parts of Asia. For instance, the Taoist Chinese call it the Nine Emperor Gods Festival while it is celebrated as the Thetsakan Kin Che (Vegetarian Festival) in Thailand.
The most popular festival in India apart from Deepavali, Navratri commences on the first day (pratipada) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashwin. Generally, the festival is celebrated for nine nights once every year at the beginning of October. However, the dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar, so it does not begin on the same day every year.
The word “Ratri” means night and “Nava” means nine in Sanskrit language. These nine days, coming soon after the new moon, are a time for absorbing new energy and light to attain “real wisdom”. The entire universe is a combination of light and darkness. Darkness means not only no light but also connotes inner darkness or lack of enlightenment and inner awareness. Light, conversely, suggests enlightenment.
During the nine days of Navaratri, we invoke the energy of the universe in the form of the universal mother, commonly referred to as Durga (also known as Shakti, signifying energy and power) who is said to be the remover of the miseries of life. Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it is always there and hence imperishable. Women take centrestage in this festival and it is a celebration of feminine arts such as dance, music and decoration.