Auspicious nine nights of Navratri festival is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. Navaratri or the Nine nights/Moons of the Goddess is a vital time period wherein the Supreme Goddess in the forms of Maa Durga the Warrior Goddess, Maa Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth and the Goddess of Wisdom ‘Maa Saraswati’, jointly destroy the demons. During Navratri festival, Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped by the devotees to get blessing for a beautiful life, happiness and prosperity.

This holy festival occurs during the beginning of summer season and second time beginning of winter seaon in a year. The Vasant Navratri and Sharad Navratri are extensively celebrated in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Jammu and Kashmir with great devotion. Many fairs and events are also held during these nine days in Haryana and Punjab during Navratri 2013. Most of the Hindu devotees from these parts of India observed Navratri vrat till nine days or on the first and eight day of Navratri. At the time of navratri, one of the important events is the worshipping of nine little girls. These little girls symbolically represent Goddess Durga and are known as ‘kanjaks.’ During Kanya puja, the feet of girls are washed to welcome the goddess and show respect to her. The girls are offered a set of new clothes as a gift from the devotees at the end of the puja. Generally Kanya pujan or kanjak is performed on the eight day or ninth day, after kanya puja devotees break their fast.

Navratri holds an important festival for Gujratis and Bengalis. One can see passion, devotion and enthusiasm of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the Navratri season. People in West Bengal create a giant Pandal and put a clay idol of Maa Durga to worship. Jaagran has also been organised by the devotees and people sing devotional songs and hymns all over the night. Dances during Navratri are also one of the important parts of the festive activities. Dandiya and Garba Rass are the main highlights of the festival in Gujarat and Maharashtra. All devotees including girls, boys, men and women indulge in dandiya raas and enjoy all over the night.

Devotees from different regions celebrate the festival in different ways, according to their rituals but the thoughts and devotion behind the celebration of Navratri are the same. Navaratri festival is the time to cleanse our own evil characteristics like anger, jealousy, greed, violence, etc. inside and outside of us. When a person acquires triumph over evil tendencies of ego, anger and other animal instincts, he/she experiences a void. This void is filled with spiritual wealth.

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