Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it has been a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday. It is sometimes casually referred to as Turkey Day.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which is Columbus Day in the United States. In the United States, it falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated in Leiden, in the Netherlands. A different holiday which uses the same name is celebrated at a similar time of year in the island of Grenada.
Thanksgiving Day is a joyous family festival celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in US, Canada and several other countries. Thanksgiving Day Festival commemorates the feast held by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people at Plymouth in 1621. On this day people express gratitude to God for his blessings and give thanks to dear ones for their love & support. Feasting with family is an integral & most delightful part of Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
Origin of Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving is America's preeminent day. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. It has a very interesting history. Its origin can be traced back to the 16th century when the first thanksgiving dinner is said to have taken place.
Journey of Pilgrims
The legendary pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 in Mayflower-A 17th Century sailing vessel. About 102 people traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty. This was so because they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel. No one was allowed to go on the deck due to terrible storms. The pilgrims comforted themselves by singing Psalms- a sacred song.
Arrival in Plymouth
The pilgrims reached Plymouth rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place owing to winds blowing them off course. Nearly46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. However, in the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.
Day of Fasting and Prayer
In the summer of 1621, owing to severe drought, pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest in the coming season. God answered their prayers and it rained at the end of the day. It saved the corn crops.
First Thanksgiving Feast
It is said that Pilgrims learnt to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive . In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as “The first thanksgiving feast”. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place.
While some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious so, their thanksgiving would've included a day of fasting and praying, others say that the Thanksgiving dinner did take place.
Turkey and First Thanksgiving Feast
There is no evidence to prove if the customary turkey was a part of the initial feast. According to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc.
Pumpkin and Thanksgiving Feast
Pumpkin pie, a modern staple adorning every dinner table, is unlikely to have been a part of the first thanksgiving feast. Pilgrims however, did have boiled pumpkin. Diminishing supply of flour led to the absence of any kind of bread.
The feast continued for three days and was eaten outside due to lack of space. It was not repeated till 1623, which again witnessed a severe drought. Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanksgiving in the year 1676. October of 1777 witnessed a time when all the 13 colonies joined in a communal celebration. It also marked the victory over the British.
After a number of events and changes, President Lincoln proclaimed last Thursday in November of thanksgiving in the year 1863. This was due to the continuous efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She wrote a number of articles for the cause.
Thanksgiving Day Symbols
Thanksgiving symbolizes the joy of loving, caring, sharing. It is all about togetherness and merry making. The festival stands for the 'Oneness' of people. It epitomizes peace, harmony and union. People world over thank the Lord almighty for all the blessings and material possessions bestowed on them.
A symbol is an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance. Special thanksgiving symbols prevalent world over are:
Pumpkins are a Thanksgiving favorite for about 400 years.Another modern staple at almost every Thanksgiving table is the customary 'Pumpkin Pie'. It is not sure whether pumpkin was one of the dishes in the first thanksgiving dinner. Pilgrims probably made a pumpkin dish sweetened with honey or syrup. They were however a part of all traditional meals long before the arrival of pilgrims. Pumpkin leaves were also used as salads. According to historians, other seasonal vegetables included squash. People at that time were not particularly fond of vegetables, they were mostly meat eaters. Pumpkin is one of the important symbols of the harvest festival and has been an American-favourite for over 400 years now.
Turkey is an inseparable part of Thanksgiving celebration. The celebration of Thanksgiving will be incomplete without the legendary Turkey. It derives its name from the 'turk turk' sounds it makes when scared. Turkey was at one time being considered as the national symbol of America. Benjamin Franklin felt that turkey was the right choice because it was a good runner and had a sharp sight. A bald eagle later became the national symbol of America.
First Thanksgiving Feast
The famous 'Turkey' adorns the table of every household as a main course during the celebration. The customary dinner reminds of the 'Four Wild Turkeys' served at the 'First Thanksgiving Feast'.
It is said, that pilgrims had a feast consisting of cooked turkey after their first harvest in the year 1621, which popularly came to be known as 'First Thanksgiving Feast'. It continued for three days and included ninety Indians. There is however no evidence to prove that turkey was cooked during the first feast. It could have been Venison-flesh of a deeror wild goose meat.
According to folklore Queen Elizabeth of 16th century England was chewing a roast goose during a harvest festival. During the meal, she got to know that the Spanish Armada, on its way to attack England had sunk. In the joy of good news, she ordered for a second goose. Goose became a favourite bird at harvest time in England. However, when the pilgrims arrived in America, they replaced the roasted goose with roasted turkey as main course as it was easier to find and in plenty.
Today, every house cooks turkey as the main dish during the celebration. It is the main mascot of the modern-day thanksgiving. The festivity completes with the customary 'Turkey Song'.
Thanksgiving Day Turkey Song
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
How lovely are thy feathers
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
There could be nothing better!
We celebrate Thanksgiving Day
By putting your carcass on display.
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
You thought we were friends who came to greet you.
O turkey dear
O turkey dear
We gathered here to eat you!
O turkey day
O turkey day
The family is all together
O turkey day
O turkey day
We've over come bad weather
Seeing the family is so fab
We'll see ya'll again in rehab.
O turkey day
O turkey day
We'll drink away your memory.
Corn were a part of first thanks giving feast & are popular till date. Corn is one of the popular symbols of thanksgiving. It came in many varieties and colours-red, white, yellow and blue. Some Americans considered blue and white corn sacred. It is said that native Americans had been growing corn a long time before the pilgrims arrived in their country. The oldest corns date 7000 years back and were grown in Mexico. Americans taught pilgrims how to grow corn and help them survive the bitter winter of 1620. It is certain that corn were a part of the first thanksgiving dinner.
The tradition continues and corn finds its place on every dinner table world over during thanksgiving dinner. Ornamental Corncobs are quite popular during the festival. They are used to decorate dining tables and make harvest wreaths- A popular gift item among Americans. Ornamental popcorns are also widely used. Corn reminds us of the importance and heritage of the famous harvest festival. It also remains America's foundation of 'Modern-Agriculture '.
Cranberry sauce is turkey's favorite thanksgiving feast partner. Cranberry, is a symbol and a modern diet staple of thanksgiving. Originally called crane berry, it derived its name from its pink blossoms and drooping head which reminded the pilgrim of a crane. The name was later changed to what is popularly known as Cranberry. Pilgrims soon found out a way to sweeten the bitten cranberries with maple sugar. Ever since cranberry sauce is a permanent companion of turkey during thanksgiving feast.
Cornucopia is a horn-shaped basket filled with fruits & goodies. Cornucopia is the most common symbol of a harvest festival. A Horn shaped container, it is filled with abundance of the Earth's harvest. It is also known as the 'horn of plenty'. The traditional cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled to brim with fruits and grains. According to Greek legend, Amalthea (a goat) broke one of her horns and offered it to Greek God Zeus as a sign of reverence. As a sign of gratitude, Zeus later set the goat's image in the sky also known as constellation Capricorn.
Beans are regarded as the third of the Indian Three Sisters. Beans are a special symbol of thanksgiving. Native Americans are believed to have taught the pilgrims to grow beans next to cornstalks. This was so that beans could grow and use cornstalks as their pole. Thus American beans are also known as 'Pole Beans'. Famously known as one of the 'Three sisters', beans are a part of thanksgiving feast. Courtesy : http://www.thanksgiving-day.org/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving
Here is another great and awesome creativity by Piyush Goel. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “Meri Ekyavan Kavitayen” on Magic Sheet with the help of Wooden Pen.
He always try new ideas to create great masterpieces with his artistic mind.
Piyush Goel always try something new,now he has completed own write Book "Piyush Vani" on transparent sheet with the help of fabric cone liner ,the purpose to write on transparent sheet the words can be seen from both the sides,to read this book no need of Mirror.
Diwali 2014 - Festival Of Lights
This Year Diwali is on Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Diwali, Deepavali is popularly known as the Festival Of Lights, Fireworks, Sweets, Gifts. It is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Myanmar , Fiji and Surinam.
For five consecutive days every year, starting from a day when the moon decides to hide giving way to complete darkness, every Indian regardless of his/her caste, creed or religion celebrates a festival called ‘Diwali’ – a festival that glorifies the triumph of light over all that is darkness and of the good over all that is evil, and one which rekindles the flame of love and hope in one and all. This festival is also a manifestation to the fact that every ounce of darkness can be outweighed by something as weightless yet strong – willed as a ‘Diya’ (traditional Indian earthen lamps); one simply needs to muster the courage to stand and walk again.
Diwali, the festival of lights, gets its name from ‘Deepawali’ – a row of lights, where ‘Deep’ stands for ‘light’ and ‘Awali’ stands for ‘a row’. Indian households across the globe, on these five days, dwell in the dazzling luminosity of these earthen lamps, ‘Diya’. However, it’s not just Diyas that contribute in illuminating the nation during these Diwali days, but also fire crackers, which light up the sky unceasingly with a million sparkles. Their blaring sounds serving as messengers carrying joyous notes of gratitude from the rejoicing masses to the heavens for their generosity.
Diwali History & Legends
There are several theories pointing to the origin of this festival with one stating that the festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of the post – monsoon harvesting season. However, the festival is most often than not associated with Rama’s return from his fourteen year long exile and the great demon king Ravana’s execution at the hands of the former.
Rama’s return to Ayodhya
According to Hindu mythology, Kaikeyi, King Dashratha’s youngest wife and Bharat’s mother, stricken with jealousy tactfully forced her husband to exile her eldest son, Rama, whose blood mother was Kaushalya, for fourteen years on the eve of his son, Rama’s coronation ceremony. Rama, the embodiment of righteousness, an ideal son, husband and brother, acceded to his father’s helplessness and left Ayodhya with his wife, Sita, and younger brother, Lakshman. The trio donned a monk’s attire and journeyed southward on the banks of the river Godavari, where they built cottages and lived.
During their stay in the forests, Rama and his brother, Lakshman, humbled a few menacing demons, who, in their bid to avenge Ravana’s sister’s humiliation at the hands of Lakshman, tried to kill them. The deaths of these demons consequently sparked an outrage against the brothers in the demon world to which Ravana, the mighty demon King, responded by abducting Sita with guile while she was alone in her cottage.
Rama and his brother, Lakshman, after hearing the news plan an attack on the demon king by joining hands with a monkey King. Rama and his army of monkeys lay siege on Lanka, Ravana’s kingdom, and annihilate the powerful demon army and then go on to vanquish the mighty demon king, Ravana.
Meanwhile, the trio completes their fourteen year exile and prepares to return to Ayodhya. On hearing the news, Bharat, Kaikeyi’s son and Rama’s younger brother, who as a respectful gesture to his elder brother, Rama, refuses to sit on the throne and instead places Rama’s footwear on it after the latter left for his exile, jumps in exultation and prepares the kingdom for a grand welcome. The people of Ayodhya too are elated on hearing the news and clean their houses and decorate them with flowers, garlands, candles and earthen lamps (Diya). On the day of Rama’s return, every corner of every street was cleaned, watered and painted with colorful designs called ‘Rangolis’. The entire kingdom erupted with joy on having their dear King, Rama, back.
Narakasura, an invincible demon who ruled Pradyoshapuram, was obliterated by Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama, in order to rescue the people of Pradyoshapuram from the demon’s atrocities. The myth says Narakasura underwent a severe penance in an effort to seek blessings from Lord Brahma, who eventually acknowledged his devotee’s sincerity by granting him a powerful boon that he would only succumb to death at the hands of his mother, the earth goddess, Bhudevi. Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama, was a reincarnation of Bhudevi.
Krishna knew of this and cleverly sought help from his wife, Satyabhama, in a battle that was to ensue between him and the demon, Narakasura. Satyabhama accompanied Krishna to the battleground as his charioteer. However, after Krishna fell unconscious on being hit by Narakasura’s arrow, Satyabhama took charge and effortlessly killed Narakasura with an arrow. After the battle, Krishna reminds her of her reincarnation and the boon she had sought as Bhudevi.
This mythical story is not just a story about the unfathomable physical and mental prowess of gods and goddesses, but also one that conveys a simple yet powerful message, which says that every parent is under a moral obligation to punish his/her children should they tread a wrong path. And that the good of the society and not personal bonds should be placed on a higher pedestal. The myth also says that Bhudevi, Narakasura’s mother, announced that her son’s death should not be mourned, but celebrated.
Incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi, the embodiment of sublime beauty, opulence and divine grace, is a Hindu goddess who rules health, wealth, spiritual, material and intellectual prosperity, and fertility. She came into being as a result of a conquest undertaken by the gods and demons for achieving immortality.
Both the smaller gods and demons initially were mortal. In order to be immortal, they decided to consult Vishnu, who helped them churn the ocean of milk, Kshirsagar, for Amrit (the nectar of immorality). In this process, a number of divine celestial objects including Lakshmi surfaced. Amrit, however, was the last one to come up. But the gods could only consume the nectar of immortality if the demons were in some way distracted. Vishnu then took form of a beautiful maiden and distracted the demons helping the gods achieve immortality.
Ever since, Goddess Lakshmi has dwelled in the heavens and accompanies Lord Vishnu each time he descends on earth as a manifestation of himself in human or superhuman or animal form.
Diwali as a Harvest Festival
Among the many Diwali legends, most of which are strong manifestations of unflinching Hindus beliefs, there is one legend that deviates from religion and moves into the realm of provable historical facts. This theory, which points to the festival’s origin, stems from India’s cultural, social and economic history. It states that Diwali is celebrated to mark the onset of the post–monsoon harvesting season. Speaking of which, the defining role of India’s agrarian society in carving her economic structure gets starkly highlighted.
Owing to the heavy influence of agriculture on the Indian society, quite a few festivals celebrated in India find their roots in the land of farmers. However, there is an identifiable difference in the way different Indian societies celebrate these festivals. In rural India, the harvesting festivals are celebrated by observing traditional rituals that reciprocate God’s generosity in providing the farmers with a bountiful cropping season. Whereas, the urban masses celebrate these festivals by observing rituals that pay an obeisance to God for His generosity in showering wealth and prosperity on them. These festivals may not be celebrated in the same manner, but the fact that some typical traditions and customs associated with these harvesting festivals found their way to the modernized urban society goes to prove each Indian’s unyielding commitment to his cultural values.
Five Days of Diwali
Dhanteras is the Thirteenth lunar day of the Krishna Paksh, the dark forthnight of Kartik month according to the Hindu calender. The day is also called Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhan Theras. With the day of Dhanteras the Diwali celebrations begin. Word “Dhan” means wealth and “Teras” means the Thirteenth lunar day. Dhan, wealth is worshiped of this special day. Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth, light, beauty and prosperity; therefore, Indians worship her and seek her blessings for a prosperous new beginning. Footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder at the entrance of the house, to mark the awaited arrival of Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps are kept burning all through the night. As a form of good omen, people buy an ornament or a piece of precious metal on Dhanteras to bring a financial good Luck. Lord Dhanwantari emerged out of the ocean with Ayurvedic for mankind on this day.
There is a legend accosiated with Dhanteras. A Sixteen year old son of king Hima was destined to die on the fourth night of his marriage. So to save him from untimely death, his wife heaped up lot of gold and silver ornaments and coin on her husband’s room entrance. Lighted so many diyas in the room and kept telling stories and singing songs all night. She kept her husband awake the entire night. Lord Yama came and set on the heap of gold, listening to the songs and left in the morning. This is how the king’s son was saved from death, by him wife. On this day, before sunset, people bathe and offer lighted diyas to Lord Yama, the Lord of death to protect themselves from untimely death.
Chhoti Diwali is the second day of Diwali. Lord Krishna defeated the devil Narakasur on this day thus giving a sigh of relief to the people. With this belief this day carries a lot of importance for Indians.
The demon king Narakasur after defeating Lord Indra, had snatched away the precious earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess (the ruler of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, Lord Krishna\'s wife) and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. Enraged with the hostile behavior of Narakasur, Satyabhama appeals Krishna to allow her to destroy Narakasur. On the other side, it was said that Narakasur was destined to be killed by a woman. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight against Narakasur. Satyabhama entered the battle field with Krishna as her charioteer and destroy Narakasur. Soon after that the imprisoned women were released, and Krishna accepted to marry them. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smudged his forehead with the demon king\'s blood. Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Narakachaturdashi day. Krishna got a scented oil message on his body by the womenfolk and took a bath to remove the filth of demon’s blood from his body. Since then to message the body with scented oil to get rid of tiredness and take bath early in morning has become a traditional practice on this day. Bhudevi, the mother of Narakasur declared that this day should not be for mourning but to rejoice the victory of good over evil. So the festival of Diwali is celebrated with lots of happiness and hopes.
The Diwali day is the fifteenth lunar day of the dark forthnight of Hindu month Kartik. It is the heart and soul of the entire Diwali festival. It falls on the darkest day, the Amavasya. To wade away the darkness and welcome the new year on a bright path; innumerous diyas, lights and candles are lit.
On this day women wake up early in the morning and make Rangoli on the threshold of the house. Also make small footprints of rice, vermillion and turmeric near the entrance of the house; depicting it to be Goddess Lakshmi’s footprints. People decorate the house beautifully and light lots of diyas in the evening. The families wait for Goddess Lakshmi to visit their house and bless them with wealth and prosperity. It is believed that on Diwali day Goddess Lakshmi descends on earth from heaven in her celestial being and visits all the homes and blesses them. She visits the cleanest, decorative and well lit house first. In the evening Lakshmi Puja is performed along with Ganesh Puja to please and seek blessings of the God and Goddess. Later in the evening kids and youngsters burst firecrackers to fill the sky with adorable colors and light.
Padwa / Gowardhan Puja
The fourth day of the Diwali is commonly known as the Hindu New Year. It is said that as the Indians lit the diyas on the Amavasya night, the diyas illuminate the darkness and welcome a bright new year. This day has many legends associated with it. At large, this day is associated with Gowardhan Puja.
Gokul, a small town in Uttar Pradesh is where Lord Krishna lived. The people there used to celebrate a festival to worship Lord Indra at the end of the monsoon season to express their gratitude for good rain. On a particular year, Lord Krishna stopped them from worshiping Lord Indra, instead he asked them to worship their fields and cattle as there are the ones who earns them their bread. There was a heavy down pour that year. People were scared thinking that this down pour is the result of Lord Indra’s Anger for not worshiping him. So to save the people of Gokul Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Parvat on his little fingure and thus gave shelter to the Gokul residents. Since then this Day is celebrated in honour of Lord Krishna, The Gowardhandhari. A small hillock is made, depicting Gowardhan parvat and decorate it with flowers and light. The devotees worship the Gowardhan parvat and the Gowardhandhari.
On this day as part of the Gowerdhan Parvat legend, people also offer “Annakoot” to Lord Krishna. The devotees cook 56 or 108 food delicacies. Make a mount of it for offering it to the Lord. They pray to save them from all the pains and trouble as Lord Krishna saved the “Gokul Vasi” from the heavy down pour.
Gudi Padwa is celebrated on this fourth day of Diwali. It’s a Marathi festival. Gudi Padwa celebrates love and devotion between husband and wife. The wife applies a tilak on forehead of her husband and prays for his long life. As a part of the Ritual, outside the door or the widow of the house, a decorated Gudhi is kept. It is a symbol of victory and happiness. The newly wed daughter along with her husband is invited for a meal at her parents place on Gudi Padwa.
The Hindu New Year is also celebrated as “Kartik Shuddh Padwa” or “Bali Padyami” by the south Indians. It is believed that King Bali come to visit the people on earth from Patalaloka (netherworld) as per boon given by Lord Vishnu, on this day.
From this Day the Vikram Samvat begins. It is said that this day marks the Coronation of King Vikramaditya.
The fifth day of Diwali got its name as it falls on the second day of full moon forthnight, “Dooj”. This day is very auspicious for every brother as on this day the sister applies a tilak on her brother’s forehead, performs an aarti, shares a meal with him and prays to save him from all the evils and seek blessings from God for his long life. This day is also addressed as “Bhai Phota” or “Bhai Biij”.
Yamraj went to meet his twin sister Yami (Yamuna) on Bhai Dooj. They were meeting each other after a long separation. Yami warmly welcomed Yamraj, applied the tilak on his forehead and performed his aarti to pray for his long life. She cooked delicious meal and shared it with Yamraj. Yamraj was so much pleased by his sister’s affection that he declared that if a brother receives a tilak, aarti and a meal from his sister on this sacred day, he would he saved from hurdles and hell.
A legend about Bhai Phota is Lord Krishna after slaying the demon Narakasur, went to meet his sister Subhadra. The affectionate Subhadra greeted victorious Krishna by garlanding him and applying sacred tilak on his forehead.
Another popular legend of Bhai Bij says after the nirvana of Lord Mahavir, his brother Raja Nandivardhan became extremely sad and depressed. With the assistance and affection of his sister Sudarshana, he was brought back to normal.
Diwali Photos and Wallpapers
The festival of Navratri (nav = nine and ratri = nights) lasts for 9 days with three days each devoted to worship of Maa Durga, the Goddess of Valor, Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. During the nine days of Navratri, feasting and fasting take precedence over all normal daily activities amongst the Hindus. Evenings give rise to the religious dances in order to worhip Goddess Durga Maa.
The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar. Being the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism has numerous belief systems.
In Hinduism the adherents believe in one omnipresent Deity but may worship Her/Him in any of the numerous manifestations that are prevalent all over India. Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power]. Dasahara, meaning ‘ten days’, becomes dussehra in popular parlance. The Navaratri festival or ‘nine day festival’ becomes ‘ten day festival’ with the addition of the last day, Vijayadashami which is its culmination. On all these ten days, the various forms of Mother Mahisasura-mardini (Durga) are worshipped with fervour and devotion. The 9 nights festival of Navratri begins on the first day of Ashwina of the bright fortnight. Seeds are sown, sprouting is watched, the planets are consecrated, and on the 8th and 9th days, Goddess Durga, Vijayashtami and Mahanavami are worshipped. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.
1st - 3rd day of Navratri
On the first day of the Navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room and barley seeds are sown on it. These initial days are dedicated to Durga Maa, the Goddess of power and energy.
4th - 6th day of Navratri
During these days, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped. 7th - 8th day of Navratri
These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna (holy fire) is performed.
The festival of Navratri culminates in Mahanavami. On this day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped.
Navaratri is celebrated five times a year. They are Vasanta Navaratri, Ashadha Navaratri, the Sharada Navaratri, and the Poushya/Magha Navaratri. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri of the month of Puratashi and the Vasanta Navaratri of the Vasanta kala are very important.
1. Vasanta Navaratri: Basanta Navrathri, also known as Vasant Navratras, is the festival of nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the spring season (March–April). It is also known as Chaitra Navratra. The nine days of festival is also known as Raama Navratri.
2. Gupta Navaratri: Gupta Navratri, also referred as Ashadha or Gayatri or Shakambhari Navratri, is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Ashadha (June–July). Gupta Navaratri is observed during the Ashadha Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon).
3. Sharana Navaratri: This is the most important of the Navratris. It is simply called Maha Navratri (the Great Navratri) and is celebrated in the month of Ashvina. Also known as Sharad Navaratri, as it is celebrated during Sharad (beginning of winter, September–October).
4. Poushya Navaratri: Poushya Navratri is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Pousha (December–January). Poushya Navaratri is observed during the Pousha Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon).
5. Magha Navaratri: Magha Navratri, also referred as Gupta Navratri, is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Magha (January–February). Magha Navaratri is observed during the Magha Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon).
Meaning: O Mother ! You are the personification of all that is auspicious, You are the benevolent form of Lord Shiva, You bestow Divine energy and help people achieve Righteousness, wealth, fulfill desires and Liberation, You are worthy of being surrendered to. Three eyes adorn You. O Narayani Devi, I pay obeisance to You !