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 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.
- Ghatsthapana – Navratri Day 1
- Sindhara Dooj, Dwitiya -
- Gaur Teej, Saubhagya Teej, Tritiya
- Varadvinayak Chaturthi
- Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat, Naag Vrat Pujan
- Skand Shashthi, Yamuna Jayanti
- Mahasaptami Vrat, Chaiti Chath, Vijaya Saptami
- Sri Durga Mahaashtami, Annapurna Ashtami
- Vasant Navratri ends – Ram Navratri Day
- Lord Ram wanted to get the blessings of Goddess Durga before beginning the war with Ravana. Therefore he invoked Goddess Durga during Ashwin (October – November). This is why the Durga Puja during October is also known as Akal Bodhon or untimely invocation.
The Vasant or Spring Navratri is widely observed in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Most Hindu devotees in this part of India undertake Navratri Vrat or fasting. The festival occurs during the beginning of summer season. And it is said that the fasting helps in adapting the body to the changing climate.
Some of the important Temple fairs in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are organized during this period. Almost all the rituals observed during Navratri (held in October-November) are also observed during Vasant Navrati.
One of the important events in Haryana and Punjab is the worshipping of little girls. These little girls symbolically represent Goddess Durga and are known as ‘kanjaks.’ It is performed on the eight day or the Ashtami day.