“Navaratri” simply translates to “nava” meaning nine (9) and “ratri” meaning night. The festival of Navaratri is celebrated over nine nights and ten days. Navaratri is one of the most celebrated and sacred Hindu festivals in which Goddess Durga, in 9 different forms, is worshipped. Celebrating the Hindu festival of Navaratri gives great importance to women and young girls in which they are offered gifts as a symbol of respect and love.
Devotion and worship surround the festivities and in some communities Dandiya (sticks) and Garba (form of dance) is played. The reason for celebration is the triumph of Mother Durga over the demon, Mahishasur who represents arrogance and egoism. Mother Durga represents the divine energy and feminine body and is also considered to be the combination of the Trinity of Goddesses (Luxmi, Saraswati, and Parvati).
The 9 forms of Goddess Durga:
“Shaila” means stone and “putri” means daughter. Praying to this form of Mother Durga will bring you strength (like a stone), courage and composure.
“Brahma” means infinity and “charya” means moving; Brahmacharya means moving in infinity. Praying to this form helps us recognize our true nature that is infinity.
“Chandra” means moon and “ghanta” means bell. The moon is connected to the mind and the bell is an instrument connected with alertness. Praying to this form of Mother Durga brings alertness.
Kushmanda means pumpkin. A pumpkin has many seeds and each seed contains the potential for many more pumpkins. Praying to this form increases one’s creative energy.
Skandamata means the mother of Skanda (Lord Karthikeya). Skanda means the skillful one. Praying to this form brings one skill along with innocence, and courage along with compassion.
This form of Mother Durga signifies the finer qualities of being in a relationship. Relationships come with a sense of security, commitment, togetherness and team spirit. Praying to this form bring you the blessing of healthy relationships.
“Kala” is time. “Ratri” also refers to deep rest. Praying to this form brings about deep rest from which you can then obtain dynamism.
8. Maha Gauri
“Gau” also means knowledge. Praying to Mother Durga in this form brings you the wisdom that is the elixir of life.
Praying to this form brings you the gift of perfection and enlightenment. “Siddhi” means perfection. Siddhidathri is the one who gives all the siddhis.
I hope this gives you a slight insight and meaning as to why the celebration of Navaratri is so important to myself and many other Hindus celebrating. Also check out Bengali’s Durga Puja!