Navratri 2020: Puja dates, time and everything you need to know

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Navratri is celebrated for nine nights and ten days during autumn across India. The Hindu festival is celebrated for various reasons in different parts of the country. However, the one thing it has in common is celebrating Maa Durga and her power.


Navratri always occurs in the months of Ashvin or Ashvina, which generally falls between September and October as per the lunar calendar.


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In 2020, Navratri will kick off on Saturday, October 17, and come to an end on Sunday, October 25 — typically celebrated as Dussehra or the tenth day.


The first day is indicated by Amavasya, or a new moon, which marks the beginning of the Navratri puja. The last day of Navratri is also known as Vijayadasami.


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Navratri puja deities

In most parts of the country, the nine nights of Navratri are dedicated to worshipping the nine forms of Ma Durga — Shilaputri, Brahmacharni, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalratri, Maha Gauri, and Siddhidatri.


However, some divide the days between Ma Durga, Lakshmi — the goddess of wealth and prosperity — and Saraswati, revered for knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and nature. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to worship Goddess Durga, the next three days are reserved to worship Goddess Lakshmi, and the third set of three days for Goddess Saraswati.

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How to celebrate Navratri

Navratri puja is usually done daily during the nine days of Navratri, most often in the evenings after sunset. The first Navratri puja is usually the Ganpati puja.


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Following this, the presiding deities of Navratri puja are worshipped on various days, depending on different traditions. The underlying commonality between all forms of the puja is honoring Maa Durga.


During the puja, devotees honor the goddess by performing rituals and worshipping an idol or picture of her. Different dishes are prepared and offered to the deity on each day.


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At the end of the daily puja, prasad is offered, and aarti is conducted — a form of puja where lights/Diya is offered to the deity.


Some choose to perform the puja within their homes, while others participate with the community at a temple. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the imposed norms of social distancing, it's likely that most devotees will avoid leaving the house.


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The biggest and grandest puja of them all happens on the last day of Vijayadashami. It marks the culmination of Navratri.


In pre-COVID times, Navratri's ten-day-long celebrations included dancing, music programs, dramas, fairs, and other events.


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Navratri fasting

During Navratri, some people choose to observe a fast for all the nine days in honour of the deities. The fasting starts in the morning and lasts till the evening. After the daily puja, people break the fast by partaking in the prasad offered to the deity.


Navratri Kolu

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In some regions, Navratri Kolu or the dolls of gods and goddesses are arranged on a multi-tier pedestal made during Navratri.


The number of steps in the whole arrangement can be three, five, seven, or nine. These steps are covered with decorative clothes and dolls of goddesses, gods, humans, heroes, animals, toys, and others in a hierarchical order and decorated for the event.


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The Kolu is arranged on the first day of Navratri with a Kalash or Purna Kumbh. The set up remains in the puja room for nine days and dismantled after the Vijayadashami puja.


The story of Navratri

The legend goes that once upon a time, there was a demon called Mahishasura who had the face of a buffalo. This resulted from a powerful boon he received from Lord Brahma, according to which a male human or animal could not defeat Mahishasura.
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Because of that clause, Maa Durga was the only one who could defeat him and end the atrocities done by the demon to save the world. Maa Durga fought with the demon for nine days, and these nine days are known and celebrated as Navratri. On the final day of Vijayadashami, Maa Durga defeated the demon and saved the world. This is a festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil.



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