Navarathri, which means “nine nights” in Sanskrit, is one of the most important festivals celebrated by Hindus. The nine nights festival marks the beginning of Autumn.
During Navarathri the Mother Goddess is thanked for keeping the universe in balance and for bestowing upon us the power to maintain our physical and mental health. Legend also has it that the festival of Navarathri came into existence as a celebration of good over evil after the Mother Goddess destroyed an evil demon king following ten consecutive days of fast.
The nine nights are dedicated to the Mother Goddess who represents energy, nature, fertility, and the bounty of the Earth.The various aspects of the Mother Goddess is adored through the worship of the three goddesses: Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswathi, respectively.
Durga is celebrated the first three nights for her strength and courage and she is said to remove all impurities from her devotees. The next three nights are devoted to Lakshmi as devotees pray for blessings of wealth and prosperity. Saraswathi is celebrated during the final three nights as devotees pray for wisdom and knowledge.
On the ninth and final day, Sarawathi Pooja, is held in homes, schools, and temples. A feast of pongal, sundal, aval, vadai, and fruit is offered to the Goddess and books and instruments are placed in front of the Saraswathi idol to invoke her blessings. In order for success, the blessings of all three Goddesses are needed hence the celebration and worship of courage, wealth, and wisdom.
This is our traditional feast from last night:
- Pongal (sweet rice)
- Aval (sweetened rice flakes)
- Sundal (tempered chickpeas)
- Vaadai (spicy donut)
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