Navratri is a nine-day Hindu festival celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm and devotion. The word ‘Navratri’ means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, and during these nine nights, Hindus worship Goddess Durga and her nine divine avatars.
As Navratri approaches, people often have a lot of questions about the festival, its significance, traditions, and customs. This is why I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about Navratri, along with their answers.
Whether you’re a curious non-Hindu looking to learn more about this beautiful festival or a Hindu looking for some clarity on Navratri-related queries, I hope my blog can provide some helpful insights. So, let’s dive right in and get all your Navratri-related questions answered!
Let’s get started…..
Q1 What makes Navratri so special?
Fasting during Navratri is recommended for your body’s detoxification, according to science. One is meant to give the digestive system a break by eating light for a week or perhaps just once a week. The stomach can be cleansed and its lining can be strengthened, according to nutritionists.
Q2 Do you know how many times Navratri occurs in a year?
Navratri is celebrated five times a year! The months in which Navratri can be observed are March/April, June/July, September/October, December/January, and January/February. Among these, the Sharad Navratri held during September and October is the most popular and widely celebrated one.
Q3 Wondering which city in India is known for Navratri festival?
Well, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is definitely one of the top contenders! It’s a holy city and during Navratri, the celebrations are truly magnificent. So, if you’re looking to experience the festival in all its grandeur, Varanasi is definitely a great place to visit!
Q4 Is it okay to wash your hair during Navratri?
The answer is yes! In fact, it’s a good idea to wash away all the sweat and pollution your hair might have accumulated during the festivities. So go ahead and give your hair a good wash to keep it clean and fresh.
Q5 What colours to wear during Navratri?
The nine colours traditionally associated with Navratri are white, red, royal blue, yellow, green, grey, orange, sky blue, and pink. Each colour represents a different goddess that is worshipped during the festival. So, feel free to choose any of these colours to wear during Navratri and join in the festive spirit!
Q6 Can I wear black in Navratri?
Traditionally, people wear colourful attire during Navratri, and black is considered inauspicious or inappropriate for this occasion. If you are considering wearing black during Navratri, it is essential to understand the cultural significance and beliefs behind the festival. It is also worth noting that Navratri is celebrated differently across India, and cultural practices may vary depending on the region.
Q7 Why do some people don’t wear chappals during Navratri?
Well, it’s actually a traditional practice that originated from the idea of avoiding the use of leather or any animal skin during this time. Instead, some people prefer to go barefoot or wear alternative footwear. And if you do decide to go barefoot, a great way to pamper your feet at the end of the day is by soaking them in warm salted water. Your feet will definitely appreciate it!
Q8 Is it possible to get married during Navratri?
Navratri is a Hindu festival that lasts for nine days and is dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga. While weddings are not strictly prohibited during this time, many people consider it inauspicious to get married during Navratri. It is believed that doing so can bring bad luck to the couple and their families. Furthermore, the conclusion of Navratri marks the beginning of the wedding season in some parts of India. It is believed that after the festival, the weather becomes more favourable for weddings, and it is considered an auspicious time to tie the knot.
Q9 What other unique characteristics does Navratri have?
Navratri is celebrated in distinct ways across different regions of India. While some view it as a period of religious introspection and abstinence, others see it as an occasion for revelry and dance. Fasting practices during Navratri include following a strict vegetarian diet and avoiding alcohol and certain spices.
Q10 During Navratri, what items should be avoided by individuals fasting?
It is recommended that those who are fasting entirely during Navratra refrain from consuming legumes, lentils, rice flour, corn flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and semolina (Rava). Additionally, non-vegetarian food, eggs, alcohol, smoking, and aerated drinks are strictly prohibited.
Q11 Why not consume onion and garlic during Navratri?
In Hinduism, onions and garlic are considered Tamasic foods, meaning they are believed to have a negative impact on one’s physical and spiritual well-being. The reason behind avoiding onions and garlic during Navratri is that they are believed to increase negativity, anger, and lustful behaviour in individuals. As Navratri is a time for spiritual purification and self-discipline, avoiding Tamasic foods is seen as a way to maintain a pure and positive state of mind and body.
Q12 Why not cut lemons during Navratri?
It is believed that cutting lemons during Navratri may bring negative energy or bad luck into the home. This belief is rooted in the idea that lemons have a sour and acidic taste, which is associated with negative or unpleasant experiences. During Navratri, many people observe strict dietary restrictions and may avoid consuming sour or acidic foods. As a result, cutting lemons during this time may be seen as going against these restrictions and inviting negative energy into the home.
Q13 Is it important to do kanya pooja during Navratri?
Kanya Pooja is a significant tradition in certain communities, it is not mandatory for everyone to observe it during Navratri. Whether or not you choose to perform this ritual is entirely up to your personal beliefs and preferences.
If you do decide to observe Kanya Pooja, it is important to do so with respect and reverence. Make sure to follow the traditional practices associated with this ritual and treat the young girls who are being worshipped with kindness and generosity.
Q14 Is there any compulsion to use desi ghee during Navratri or any other oil can also be used?
When we light a diya during Puja, it’s a symbol of our devotion and attracts positive energy. Lighting a diya spreads joy and prosperity around us. Since Navratri is an auspicious occasion for Hindus, we like to use pure and rich items during the Puja. Desi Ghee is considered to be the purest form of ghee. It’s often homemade and rich in content. But don’t worry, there’s no compulsion to use only Desi Ghee during Navratri. You can use any other vegetable oil too, except for mustard oil. So, use whichever oil you prefer and enjoy the Navratri Puja.
Q15 Why are only 9 girls and 1 boy invited and provided food on the last day of Navratri?
During Navratri, individuals fast for nine days and offer worship to Maa Durga in her nine different avatars. Prior to concluding their fast, nine young girls and one boy are invited as representatives of each avatars of the Goddess and Bhairon Nath. They are offered prasad consisting mainly of poori, kala chana, and halwa.
Q16 Is it compulsory to light up “Akhand Jyoti” during Navratri?
There is no compulsion to light an “Akhand Jyoti” (continuous flame) during Navratri. However, it is a common practice and a way to show devotion to the Goddess Durga during this auspicious period.
Lighting a lamp or diya in Navratri is believed to symbolize the victory of good over evil and the triumph of light over darkness. It is also said to represent the power of the divine and the illumination of knowledge.
Q17 Why it is not recommended to shift home in Navratri?
In some parts of India, it is believed that shifting homes during the auspicious period of Navratri is not considered auspicious. The reasons for this belief are based on traditional beliefs and superstitions.
It is said that during Navratri, the atmosphere is charged with positive energy, and any kind of disturbance or change during this period could disturb the harmony and balance of the house. Moving during this period is also thought to bring bad luck and instability to the family.
Q18 What is the famous dance of Navratri?
The famous dance of Navratri is Garba. It is performed during Navratri to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Garba is performed in a circle around a lamp or a statue of the goddess Durga, the embodiment of divine feminine power.
The dance involves rhythmic clapping and graceful movements of the hands and feet, accompanied by traditional music played on instruments like the dhol, a type of drum, and the dandiya, a pair of wooden sticks.
Garba is a colourful and joyous celebration of culture and community, and it is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds.
Q19 What are 5 popular dishes that are prepared during Navratri fasts?
- Sabudana Khichdi – A dish made with tapioca pearls (sago), potatoes, peanuts and spices.
- Singhara Atta Halwa – A sweet dish made with water chestnut flour, ghee (clarified butter), and sugar.
- Kuttu Ki Puri – A fried bread made with buckwheat flour, often served with aloo ki sabzi (potato curry).
- Aloo Jeera – A dish made with boiled potatoes and cumin seeds, typically served as a side dish.
- Samak Rice Pulao – A rice dish made with barnyard millet (samak rice), vegetables, and spices.
Q20 Why it is prohibited to get a haircut during Navratri?
There is no universal prohibition on getting a haircut during Navratri. However, in some communities and traditions, it is believed that cutting hair, nails, or any body part during this period is considered inauspicious.
Navratri is a nine-day festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, and devotees observe fasts, perform prayers, and engage in spiritual activities. Some people refrain from cutting their hair during this time as a symbol of respect and devotion to the divine.
It is also believed that cutting hair or nails during this period may bring bad luck and negativity.
Q21 Are men allowed to fast during Navratri?
Yes, Men are encouraged to participate in Navratri fasting, as it is believed to help them strengthen their spiritual connection with the goddess and receive her blessings. However, the decision to fast is a personal one and should be made based on individual health and dietary needs. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any fasting or dietary changes.
Wishing you a joyful and blessed Navratri filled with love, peace, and prosperity!