Navaratri is a Hindu festival that spans nine nights (and ten days) and is celebrated every year in the autumn. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian cultural sphere. Theoretically, there are four seasonal Navaratri. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navaratri that is the most observed in the honor of the divine feminine Devi (Durga). The festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
- worship nine goddesses in nine days
- stage decorations
- recital of the legend
- enacting of the story
- chanting of the scriptures of Hinduism.
The nine days are also a major crop season cultural event, such as competitive design and staging of pandals, a family visit to these pandals, and the public celebration of classical and folk dances of Hindu culture. Hindu devotees often celebrate Navaratri by fasting. On the final day, called Vijayadashami, the statues are either immersed in a water body such as a river or ocean, or the statue symbolizing the evil is burnt with fireworks, marking the destruction of evil. The festival also starts the preparation for Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after Vijayadashami.