Navratri 2023: Shardiya Navratri, also known as Maha Navratri, is a significant nine-day Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm across India and among Hindu communities worldwide. This auspicious festival is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her various forms.
Shardiya Navratri 2023 is scheduled to commence on October 15 and conclude on October 23. During these nine days, devotees engage in the worship of each form of the goddess, participating in various rituals, prayers, and cultural festivities. The culmination of this celebration occurs on the tenth day, known as Vijayadashami or Dussehra, signifying the triumph of good over evil, symbolized by the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana.
A Special Feature for 2023: Goddess Durga’s Elephant Procession
In 2023, a unique feature of Shardiya Navratri is the inclusion of an elephant in Goddess Durga’s procession. According to Hindu traditions, when Goddess Durga arrives on a Sunday or Monday, she is believed to ride atop an elephant, considered highly auspicious. This association with an elephant is thought to bring abundant rainfall, ensuring a bountiful harvest in the upcoming year.
Shardiya Navratri 2023: Start and End Dates
Shardiya Navratri 2023 will begin on Sunday, October 15, and conclude on Monday, October 23. Here is the tithi calendar for Shardiya Navratri 2023:
- 15 October (Sunday): Ghatasthapana, Maa Shailputri Puja
- 16 October (Monday): Maa Brahmacharini Puja
- 17 October (Tuesday): Maa Chandraghanta Puja
- 18 October (Wednesday): Maa Kushmanda Puja, Vinayaka Chaturthi
- 19 October (Thursday): Maa Skandamata Puja
- 20 October (Friday): Maa Katyayani Puja
- 21 October (Saturday): Maa Kalaratri Puja
- 22 October (Sunday): Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja, Kanya Puja
- 23 October (Monday): Maha Navami, Maa Siddhidatri Puja, Havan
- 24 October (Tuesday): Vijayadashami, Dussehra, Navratri Paran, Durga Visarjan
Navratri 2023: Colors and Their Significance
Each day of Navratri is associated with a specific color, symbolizing different aspects of life and spirituality. Here are the colors for Navratri 2023:
- Day 1 (October 15): Orange
- Day 2 (October 16): White
- Day 3 (October 17): Red
- Day 4 (October 18): Royal Blue
- Day 5 (October 19): Yellow
- Day 6 (October 20): Green
- Day 7 (October 21): Grey
- Day 8 (October 22): Purple
- Day 9 (October 23): Peacock Green
Shardiya Navratri 2023: Shubh Muhurat
The shubh muhurat for Shardiya Navratri, specifically the Pratipada Tithi, begins at 11:24 PM on October 14 and ends at 12:32 AM on October 16.
Navratri 2023: History and Significance
The roots of Shardiya Navratri can be traced back to ancient Indian mythology. It is believed that during this period, Goddess Durga manifested in her nine different forms, each symbolizing a facet of feminine power. These nine forms are worshipped during the festival, with each day dedicated to a specific form of the goddess. The festival also commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil.
Navratri 2023: Rituals and Traditions
Shardiya Navratri is characterized by a multitude of rituals and observances that deepen devotees’ connection with the divine. Fasting is a common practice during these nine days, with many individuals abstaining from certain foods and refraining from eating during specific periods. The traditional Navratri Vrat involves consuming simple, sattvic meals. Key rituals include:
- Ghatasthapana: The festival begins with the ritual of Ghatasthapana, where a pot symbolizing Goddess Durga is filled with water and sown with barley seeds. This pot is kept in the puja room and nurtured for nine days until the seeds sprout into small plants, which are considered auspicious.
- Durga Puja: Puja ceremonies are conducted throughout the nine days. Devotees perform aarti (prayer) and offer various offerings like flowers, fruits, and sweets to the goddess. Many also observe fasting during Navratri as a form of penance and devotion.
- Garba and Dandiya Raas: The evenings of Navratri come alive with energetic and colorful Garba and Dandiya Raas dances. People gather in large groups, dressed in traditional attire, and dance to the rhythmic beats of Garba and Dandiya sticks. These dances celebrate the joyous spirit of the festival.
- Kanya Pujan: On the eighth or ninth day of Navratri, young girls are worshipped as incarnations of Goddess Durga in a ritual called Kanya Pujan. They are treated as guests, given special meals, and presented with gifts as a gesture of honor.
Navratri 2023: Puja Vidhi and Vrat Katha
Each day of Shardiya Navratri corresponds to a specific form of Goddess Durga, and devotees perform special prayers and pujas to honor that form. The festival begins with the worship of Goddess Shailputri and concludes with the worship of Goddess Siddhidatri. The Durga Saptashati or the Chandi Path, a scripture narrating the tales of Goddess Durga’s valor, is recited during these nine days.
Shardiya Navratri 2023: Celebration
The festival is celebrated by vibrant and elaborate Garba and Dandiya Raas dances, where people gather in colorful traditional attire to celebrate and dance in honor of the goddess. These dances symbolize the circle of life, unity, and devotion. Pandals (elaborately decorated temporary shrines) are set up and adorned with statues or images of Goddess Durga. Devotees visit these pandals to offer prayers and seek blessings.