Navratri welcomes the autumn season which opens the doors to the harvest month, refreshing weather, cooler climate, and a favorable time for the celebrants to praise the blessings of life. Traditionally, this has been celebrated when everything in the surroundings begins undergoing changes and transformations. Let’s know about the ancient rituals of Navratri and some interesting traditions of Durga puja.
These nine nights of the festivity are considered propitious as these bring in positive energies, more power, and enormous strength in the creation. Besides, accelerate people around to make prayers, chant, recite mantras (shlokas), and other conventional practices profusely. Gone are the days, when the avid followers of NavaDurga used to follow some queer rituals in the course of Navratri to please the Mother of goddesses- Shakti (power). Let’s dig out some of those bygone conventional customs, practiced at the former times to learn the differences.
An act of slaughtering an animal or any other living creature as a sacred offering to a deity is no longer in existence. Hence, is considered an official crime to practice animal sacrifice as a leading sacrament inside the temples during the divine nine nights of Navratri. This practice is now rare in contemporary India even in modern societies at this time. The animal sacrifice folktales in the temples are possibly something from the far past and primal history. However, the offering of Fish as Bhog (Prasada) is still practiced in some Durga temples.
Collecting the Mud from Prostitution Region
Behind every festival in India, there is a great historical background and meaning associated. Bizarre but true! The tradition of collecting soil which is known as ‘Punya mati’ to mold the Goddess idol in front of prostitute courtyards (nishiddho pallis) was considered sanctified in earlier days and restricted merely to the West Bengal state.
Prostitutes are esteemed during Durga puja to reveal the fact that it requires a lot of courage and strength to survive in a male-dominated society.
Durga Reverence only on Astami Tithi
It’s a myth! Veneration of Goddess Durga goes on nine days of Navratri, depending upon how many days; Navratri is falling according to the Hindu Solar-Lunar Calendar (not Gregorian calendar). The sacred adoration can even last for 10 long days or just 7 days (depending upon the apparent motion of the planets including the sun, stars, and the moon). As a matter of fact, the last and the final ‘yagna’ (hawan) can either be conducted on Ashtami or on Navami, determined by the Navami puja timing of the Navratri. Despite that, no religious rites are performed on Dashmi, apart from Durga Visarjan (idol immersion). As it is believed that the Goddess is sent back (‘vidai ceremony) to her divine abode post immersion.
The primitive ardent admirers of Shaktism had faith in the Nine Mukhi Rudraksha in ancient times which symbolize the ultimate power of dynamic Goddess Durga. This Nine Mukhi Rudraksha is known to bless the wearer with energy, success, potential, prosperity, fearlessness, and competence, besides nullifying the destructive influence of Ketu.
Howbeit, devotees nowadays no longer worship these nine Mukhi rudrakshas on Navratri and other significant festivals and do not even wear the holy garlands, made of these rudrakshas.
Hindus in the medieval period believe in venerating the three forms of Goddess throughout the span of Navratri and they are meant to be reformed from the trinity of God (the Trimurti). The trend has changed a bit from then to now to a greater extent and every night one form of Goddess is worshiped differently with isolated rituals in distinct states of India.
Since the celebration and the sacraments vary from state to state while the dedication and devotion remain equal across the world. On account of it, admirers still revere these three goddesses but in their incredible nine manifestations to intensify spiritual, practical, and religious experiences.
The festival of Kshatriya (only)
Unlike today’s tradition, Mythological legends hold the fact: Navratri is religiously celebrated by Hindu Kshatriya and was solely their sacred observance in India during primeval times (reign of Rajputs).
For this reason, the men in their families used to go to battles (wars) and on grounds of this, their family members after their departures, worshiped Goddess Amba (Shakti) for longevity, wellbeing, and overall victory (achievement). Thus, this custom of venerating these nine goddesses comes straight from the Kshatriya folks- one of the caste communities.