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Navratri 2024: Dates, Puja Vidhi, and Festive Food

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Navratri, also known as Navaratri, is a nine-night Hindu festival celebrated with great fervor and devotion in India and around the world. The word “Navratri” is derived from the Sanskrit words “nava” meaning nine and “ratri” meaning night. The festival is dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga and is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin, which usually falls in September or October.

Navratri is celebrated in different ways across the country, with each region having its own unique customs and traditions. The festival is marked by fasting, prayer, and the performance of various rituals to honor the goddess Durga and seek her blessings. The nine nights of Navratri are divided into three sets of three days, with each set dedicated to a different aspect of the goddess Durga.

Navratri 2024 Dates:

Navratri in 2024 will begin on Sunday, 29th September, and end on Monday, 7th October. The festival will culminate on the tenth day, which is celebrated as Dussehra or Vijayadashami, marking the victory of good over evil.

Puja Vidhi:

During Navratri, devotees perform the “Durga Puja” or worship of the goddess Durga. The puja involves offering prayers, performing rituals, and making offerings to the goddess. Here is a step-by-step guide to the Navratri puja vidhi:

1. Cleanse the puja area and set up a sacred space for the puja.

2. Begin by invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, by chanting his mantras and offering him prayers.

3. Offer flowers, incense, and sweets to the goddess Durga while reciting her mantras and prayers.

4. Light a lamp or diya and offer it to the goddess as a symbol of light and purity.

5. Offer fruits, sweets, and other offerings to the goddess as a token of devotion.

6. Conclude the puja by singing bhajans or devotional songs in praise of the goddess.

Festive Food:

Navratri is also a time for feasting and enjoying delicious festive food. While many people observe fasts during Navratri, there are also special dishes that are prepared to celebrate the festival. Some popular Navratri dishes include:

1. Sabudana Khichdi: A delicious and filling dish made with tapioca pearls, potatoes, and peanuts.

2. Kuttu ki Puri: Deep-fried bread made with buckwheat flour and served with potato curry.

3. Singhare ke Atte ka Halwa: A sweet and decadent dessert made with water chestnut flour, ghee, and sugar.

4. Aloo Tamatar Sabzi: A simple and flavorful potato and tomato curry that is perfect for fasting days.

5. Samak Rice Pulao: A fragrant and aromatic rice dish made with barnyard millet and mixed vegetables.

FAQs:

Q: Can non-Hindus participate in Navratri celebrations?

A: Yes, Navratri is a festival that is open to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Non-Hindus are welcome to participate in the celebrations and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Q: What are some common rituals observed during Navratri?

A: Some common rituals observed during Navratri include fasting, reciting prayers and mantras, offering puja to the goddess Durga, and attending community events and performances.

Q: Are there any specific colors to wear during Navratri?

A: Yes, each day of Navratri is associated with a specific color that is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Some of the colors include red, yellow, green, and orange.

Q: Can I eat non-vegetarian food during Navratri?

A: Many people choose to abstain from eating non-vegetarian food during Navratri as a form of purification and devotion to the goddess Durga. However, it ultimately depends on individual beliefs and practices.

In conclusion, Navratri is a joyous and auspicious festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil and the power of the goddess Durga. It is a time for prayer, fasting, feasting, and coming together as a community to honor and seek the blessings of the divine. May this Navratri bring peace, prosperity, and happiness to all who celebrate it.

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