A long list of rules accompanies any holy occasion in India or for that matter anywhere in the world. Besides, what to eat and what not to eat is always a big dilemma! We bring you the Navratri guide today!
Be it Navratri or any other holy occasion, the rules and rituals are generally passed down generations by word of mouth. We understand that it is hard for anyone to keep track of all of them.
This article is all about Navratri and all things associated. Do you know why we celebrate Navratri? Are you aware of the exact rituals? If you don’t, then there is nothing to worry about. We got your back!
Chaitra Navratri: From 25th March 2020 to 3rd April 2020
Sharad Navratri: From 17 October 2020 to 25 October 2020
Why Navratri is Late in 2020?
Navratri 2020 is late due to ‘Adhik Maas’. Adhik means extra and Maas is month in Hindi. Pitru Paksha ends on a no-moon day which is called Mahalaya Amavasya. However, in 2020, due to Adhik Maas, Mahalaya is being celebrated on 17th September 2020. The span of 30 days in between is the extra 13th month of the Hindu calendar. Hence, there is a gap of one month between Pitru Paksha and Navratri.
This is not the first time that this has happened. Back in 2001 also, the same thing happened and it will in the future too.
Navratri is made up of two Hindi words, Nav meaning nine and Ratri meaning night. Navratri is a Hindu festival that is celebrated for 9 continuous nights, hence, Navratri.
Navaratri is considered as the most essential and prominent festival for the Hindu community. Not just in India, but it is celebrated with great fervor across the world.
You are well aware that Navratri is celebrated twice every year, Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri. However, you will be amazed to know that there are four Navratris that fall each year.
The other two Navratris are Magh Gupt Navratri and Ashad Gupt Navratri. These two are lesser-known to the general public. The learned men who have read the ancient scriptures are aware of this.
Of all the four Navratris that are celebrated, Sharad Navratri is the most popular and significant. It is celebrated in the month of October and November every year.
Sharad is the Hindi word for the autumn season. Also, this is the harvesting time for Kharif crops. This Navratri is also known as Maha Navratri and other regional names.
Each Navratri has a different mythological tale behind it. Gods are said to be asleep during the period of Ashwin month (i.e. September and October) of the Hindu calendar.
Chaitra Navratri is the second most famous Navratri. Its name represents the spring season. Also, it is observed during Chaitra month that is during March and April.
The nine-day long festival commences from the first day called ‘pratipada’, of the first month of the Hindu Lunar calendar Chaitra.
It is also known as Vasant Navratri or Rama Navratri. Rama Navami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Rama. It usually falls on the ninth day during Chaitra Navratri.
Most of the rituals and customs are the same as followed during the ‘Sharad Navratri’. All nine days during Navratri are dedicated to nine forms of Goddess Shakti.
Magha Gupt Navratri
This is one of the two lesser-known Navratri. It is celebrated during the winter season. Among people, It is more popularly known as Vasant Panchami.
It falls during January and February, Magha Maah according to the Hindu Lunar calendar.
Ashad Gupt Navratri
Last but not the least, Ashad Gupt Navratri falls in June and July. According to the Hindu Lunar calendar, Asadh Maah befalls then, after which it is named.
It is said that Ashad Navratri is celebrated to welcome the hail of monsoon.
What To Eat and What Not To Eat in Navratri Fast?
Things You Can Eat During The Navratri Fast
- Flours and Grains
- Kuttu ka Atta (buckwheat flour)
- Singhare ka Atta (water chestnut flour)
- Rajgira ka Atta (amaranth flour)
- Sama or Samvat Ke Chawal (barnyard millet)
- Sabudana (sago)
There is no restriction on any kind of fruit to be consumed during fasts. All kinds of fruits including seasonal fruits can be savored while fasting.
People tend to feast on mangoes, water chestnuts, watermelons, musk melons, and apples.
Also, some devotees do not consume anything but just fruits during a period of nine days for fasting.
- Spices and Herbs
- Sendha Namak
- Cumin or cumin powder
- Black pepper and black pepper powder
- Green cardamom
- Black peppercorns
- Dry pomegranate seeds
- Fresh coriander leaves
- red chili powder
- dry mango powder
- chaat masala (especially with fruits)
- Sweet potato
- Arbi (taro root)
- Suran or yam
- Pumpkin (raw or semi-ripe)
- Bottle gourd
Though there are not many restrictions when it comes to vegetables, certain vegetables are consumed more often than regular. These are potatoes and taro root.
- Milk Products
All kinds of dairy products are welcome during fasting. It is advised to maintain a steady intake of milk and its products during fasting as it keeps the body stable. Also, nourishes our body with the required strength.
Dairy products like curd, paneer or cottage cheese, white butter, ghee, malai, and preparations with milk and khoya are highly consumed.
People tend to make cottage cheese at home in order to maintain purity. Buttermilk and lassi are great drinks to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
- Cooking Oil
- Desi ghee
- Peanut oil
- Mustard oil
- Coconut oil
One can also have makhanas, coconut or coconut milk preparations, Sonth ki Chutney (made with tamarind), melon seeds, and peanuts.
Things You Should Not Eat During The Navratri Fast
- Flours & Grains
- Wheat and Wheat flour
- Rice and Rice Flour
- Chickpea Flour or Besan
- Sooji or Semolina
- Maida or Refined Flour
- Corn Flour or Starch
- Millets and Millets flour like ragi and Pearl millet
- Eggplants (Baingan)
- Okra (Bhindi)
Onions and Garlic are strictly prohibited and should not be used in any dishes during the nine days comprising the Navratris.
- Legumes and Pulses
No legumes and pulses are allowed during this period of Navratri.
- Table Salt or regular Salt
- Turmeric powder (Haldi)
- Garam Masala
- Curry powder
- Coriander Powder (Dhaniya powder)
- Sarso or Rai (Mustard seeds)
- Hing (Asafetida)
- Fenugreek Seeds (methi dana)
- Cooking Oil
Avoid cooking oils that are seed-based. Also, refrain from using refined oil for cooking.
Alcohol, fizz and aerated drinks, eggs, and all non-vegetarian food including chicken, meat, pork, and beef are strictly prohibited. Also, activities like smoking are denied totally.
Also, people avoid eating any kind of fast food or anything from the bazaars as they are unsure of whether the food is prepared as per the rules or not.
Yes, one can eat jaggery during Navratri fast.
Yes, it is okay to consume beverages like tea and coffee during fast.
One can have drinks like frooti and rooh afza keeping in mind the preservatives that are added to them. As for the health drinks like bournvita, one should refrain from adding these to milk.
Absolutely, dates can be eaten during fasting.
Oats fall in the category of whole grains and according to Hindu scriptures, eating whole grains is prohibited during fasts.
No, saunf or fennel seeds are not allowed to be consumed during any kind of fasting.
No, eating chocolates is not recommended during the fasts.
Cabbage, cauliflower, and capsicum are avoided due to their strong, pungent, or salty taste.
Since tomatoes are considered fruits, they can be consumed during Navratri fasting.
Yes, you can use cumin or cumin powder, black pepper powder, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ajwain, black peppercorns, dry pomegranate seeds, kokum, tamarind, and nutmeg during your Navratri fast.
Yes, you can and you should keep yourself hydrated with fluids like coconut water, buttermilk, green tea, lemon water.
Yes, you can consume any root vegetable or tubers during Navratri fast.
No, oats should be avoided during the Navratri fast.
No, haldi should be avoided during the Navratri fast.
No, asafoetida (hing), mustard (sarson or rai), fenugreek seeds (methi dana), garam masala, and dhania powder (coriander powder) are not allowed during the Navratri fast.
Yes, pumpkin, lemon, raw banana, ginger, tomato, carrot, and colocasia come under the category of falahari saatvik vegetables. Hence, you can consume all of these during your Navratri fast.
Yes, potatoes, sweet potato, tomato, bottle gourd or lauki, arbi, kachalu, suran or yam, lemons, raw or semi-ripe pumpkin and raw pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, bottle gourd, cucumber, and carrots are allowed and all of these can be eaten during your Navratri fast.
Yes, all fruits are allowed during Navratri fast.
Yes, you can have Lauki (bottle gourd) juice, Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice as well as tender coconut water.
Yes, you can have medicines during your Navratri fast. It is allowed to take medicines in any fast in case of emergency. However, you should always consult your doctor to confirm if you can take your medicines empty stomach or not.
Why Navratri Fast is Important?
As we already know, whatever our scriptures say has a significant reason behind it. And this reason is always backed up by a scientific explanation.
Religiously and spiritually fasts are important to every devotee. It is a way of expression of their devotion for them towards the Almighty. Apart from that, it maintains bodily balance.
You might still ask but why do we have to fast during the Navratri? So here is a little insight to answer your question.
When the climate around us changes, our body is affected too. Have you ever noticed that you instantly catch a cold or cough when the weather changes?
Navratri fast is important as it protects our bodies from different kinds of bacterial infections arising due to climate change. The light and nutritious food we consume during the Navratri fast protect our bodies from these seasonal infections.
Scientifically when climate changes, the negative impacts affect our bodily functions. We tend to ignore them initially but it does anyway. And by the time we realize it has already infested.
To eradicate such situations, our elders deemed it fit to make fasting a necessity during Navratri as a ritual. Due to this, common problems like indigestion, cough, and cold, headaches, etc lie at bay.
Hence, it is advised to consider keeping fast throughout the period of Navratri.
It is better if you can follow the process of fasting or minimal eating in the four Navratri’s as it will keep you extremely fit and attract positive energies towards you.
Why are Magha & Ashad Navratris Called ‘Gupt’?
Gupt means hidden or unknown. Since many people are unaware of the Asadha and Magha Navratri, these are justifyingly called Gupt.
Moreover, this Gupt Navratri is not celebrated by the common folks. It is mainly celebrated by the Sadhaks or seekers of Tantra Sadhana or practice.
It is believed that ardent devotees and anyone else who is inclined towards Tantra Vidya fast during the Gupt Navratri. They do so to seek the blessings of the Goddess Kali in order to fulfill some of their most cherished desires.
Also to please the Goddess vehemently. This way they intend to learn the ten Mahavidyas or Great Secrets associated with the Tantra Shakti from the Goddess Kali herself.
There is no written proof in any scriptures of such beliefs so they might as well be great myths that the folklore added to entertain kids.
Navratri Puja Vidhi
Navratri holds special importance in Hinduism. Thus the devotees of Goddess Durga follow a set of rituals for the nine days of Navratri. It is said to be the most powerful period in existence.
The rituals that are followed vary according to the region but the following customs are adopted almost everywhere.
- The houses are cleaned and dusted nicely.
- The idols of the goddesses are installed in respective houses. All the family members worship them daily for the 9 days of Navratri.
- Everyone in the family bathes and worships the Goddess with a pure heart. Durga Chalisa is chanted daily.
- Each day is dedicated to a different avatar of Goddess Durga and mantras are chanted accordingly.
- Many people observe fast on all nine days and others believe in couplets. That is the fast on any two days of the nine.
- On all the nine days, yagna is performed in households and temples alike. It is said that the fumes from the yagna spread positive energies in the household. Also, it purifies the house.
- On the eighth or ninth day, Kanya Puja is performed. In this, nine young girls are worshipped and fed. These girls are believed to symbolize the nine goddesses.
- People also sow barley in their fields and pots at home which signifies growth, prosperity, and abundance.
How To Break Navratri Fast?
Navratri fast is broken after performing Kanya Pujan. Kanya Puja symbolizes that the devotees have performed their bit of devotion by feeding the nine girls.
Kanya Puja is celebrated on the eighth or ninth day as per the regional and religious beliefs.
When To Break Navratri Fast?
There are various opinions and traditions that surround the culmination of Navratri fasting. Each family usually sticks to their traditions that have been followed by their ancestors over the years.
Regardless, Navratri fasts are broken only after performing the ‘Kanya Puja’. Kanya Pujan and yagnas are performed on the days of the culmination of the Navratri festival.
In many households, Kanya Pujan is done on the eighth day of Navratri, that is they break their fast on the eighth day after the puja. Others perform this puja on the ninth day, that is they observe fasting for eight days.
Few people observe fast for all nine days, hence they break their fast on the tenth day, Dashmi. As per the Nirnaya-Sindhu, Navratri Parana is done when Navami tithi ends and Dashmi tithi prevails.
Parana Time: Navratri 2020
- Ashwin Navratri Parana on Sunday, October 25, 2020
- Ashwin Navratri Parana Time – after 07:41 AM
- Navami Tithi Begins – 06:58 AM on Oct 24, 2020
- Navami Tithi Ends – 07:41 AM on Oct 25, 2020
Note: If Navami Tithi is getting over before sunset then the fast is broken on the same day and if the Navami Tithi is getting over after sunset then Navratri Parana is postponed for the next day and Navratri fast is broken after sunrise on the next day.
This is done so as to make sure that the Navratri fasting is observed for nine-nights regardless of the Navami Tithi. If Navami Tithi is getting over before sunset then the fasting would be observed for eight nights only.
Important Tips For Navratri Fast
Fasting and showing your devotion towards the almighty is one thing but maintaining your health is another. One should not be too hard and fast on oneself when it comes to their dedication.
Here are some tips that you should use to keep yourself healthy and active during the Navratri fast:
- High on liquids: One should drink a lot of water and other fluids to maintain the right composition of the body. You may take ample amounts of coconut water, buttermilk, fruit juices, and milkshakes.
- Do not starve yourself: Starving oneself means crash dieting. This is not the best thing to do. A healthy way of fasting will be to keep eating nuts and fruits every two hours. Unless you don’t have prior experience, you should not attempt fasting without eating anything at all.
- No fried foods: Nobody is immune to cravings and fried foods lure us the same. There is no point in fasting if one ends up hogging on fried foods. Stick to pan tossed snacks with minimal or no oil. Also, do not overload your plate with ghee.
- Stick to the basics: Do not chomp on packets of chips even if they say ‘diet chips’ or ‘Navratri special’. These are nothing but marketing gimmicks to get customers to buy such foods. Stick to home-cooked meals.
9 Days of Navratri 2020 With Devi Names
The nine forms of Goddess Durga that are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri are mentioned below with the days they are worshipped on.
Navratri is a time when fasting and feasting go hand in hand. We have looked closely at the fasting part, now let us discuss the feastings. We suggest you different forms of bhog or prasad that you can offer them.
- Goddess Shailputri
Goddess Shailputri is the first manifestation of Goddess Durga.
Goddess Parvati was born as the daughter of Himalaya. In Sanskrit, Shail means the mountain, hence she is known as Shailputri.
Her aura is charismatic as she beholds a Trishul in one hand and a lotus in another. She rides a bull named Nandi.
Offering: Devotees offer pure ghee on the foot of Goddess Shailputri. It is believed that by offering pure ghee the devotees are blessed with a life free of diseases and illness.
- Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini. The meditative form of this goddess symbolizes Goddess Parvati when she engages in her deep meditation to please Lord Shiva.
The goddess walks bare feet with a rudraksha mala in one hand and a sacred Kamandalu in the other.
Offering: Goddess Brahmacharini is offered sugar for the longevity of the family members.
- Goddess Chandraghanta
The third day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Chandraghanta. She is a fierce 10-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her forehead. This gives her the name Chandraghanta.
She rides on a tiger with a will to destroy all evil and wicked.
Offering: The ferocious goddess is pleased with Kheer. She is known to drive away all pains.
- Goddess Kushmanda
Chaturthi or the fourth day of Navratri is of Devi Kushmanda. The name Kushmanda is derived from three words, ‘Ku’ meaning little, ‘Ushma’ meaning warmth or energy, and ‘Anda’ meaning egg. This signifies that she is the creator of the universe.
Offering: Devotees offer Malpua to Maa Kushmanda to improve their intellect and decision-making ability.
- Goddess Skandmata
Goddess Skandmata who is worshipped on the fifth day is also known as Panchami. Goddess Skandmata carries a lotus in two of her arms with a sacred Kamandalu and a bell in the other two.
She also carries a little Kartikay on her lap seated on a lotus.
Offering: Bananas is the favorite fruit of Goddess Skandmata.
- Goddess Katyayani
The sixth day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Katyayani, who is a form of Shakti. She is the daughter of Sage Katyayan and rides on a lion.
She is considered as one of the most violent forms of Goddess Parvati. Hence, also known as the warrior goddess. She has four arms and carries a sword.
Offering: Devotees offer Honey as prasad to Devi Katyayani.
- Goddess Kaalratri
Saptami or the seventh day of Navratri is of Goddess Kaalratri. She sacrificed her skin color and embraced a dark complexion to kill demons.
She is a four-armed deity who rides a donkey, carries a sword, a trident, and a noose. She has a third eye on her forehead.
Offering: Offer Jaggery as prasad to Devi Kaalratri for relief from pains, obstacles, and bring happiness.
- Goddess Mahagauri
Durga Ashtami or the eight-day of Navratri is dedicated to Goddess Mahagauri. She rides on a bull or a white elephant. She carries a Trishul and a damru in her hands.
Offering: Goddess Mahagauri is offered coconut by devotees.
- Goddess Siddhidatri
The ninth or the final day of Navratri is of Goddess Siddhidhatri. She sits on a lotus, holding a mace, discus, and a book and lotus in her hands. This form of Goddess Durga signifies perfection.
Offering: Sesame Seeds are offered to Devi Siddhidatri for safety and security from unnatural events.
Apart from revering the nine forms of Durga, devotees also pray to the Ten Maha Vidyas. Maha Vidyas or Great Wisdom are the ten aspects of Adi Parashakti in Hinduism.
The ten Maha Vidyas are Kali, Tara Devi, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Chhinnamasta, Tripura Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika.
Navratri is an auspicious Hindu festival that is celebrated by a=everyone across the country alike. It is an awe-inspiring happening wherein everyone involved experiences bountiful divine energies.
Since it is a significant occurrence, there are certain rituals and customs that need to be followed. However, it is unfair to expect anyone to remember all of them.
Hence, we brought to you this article as a complete 101 on Navratri. From the reason why Navratri is celebrated to what should be eaten and what shouldn’t be, we tried covering every possible aspect.
If this article helped you get a clearer picture of this great festival, then do spread the love. Share it with your friends and family.