Chaitra Navratri is one of the four Navratris in a year. The Navratri festival is a big occasion for Hindus, celebrated with great devotion and fervor all over India. Each Navratri festival spans nine nights and ten days and is dedicated to Mother Goddess Devi Durga.
What is Navratri?
Navaratri is an amalgamation of two words, where ‘Nav’ means Nine and ‘Ratri’ means Night. This is a celebration lasting nine nights and ten days. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. Goddess Durga, the symbol of Shakti or ultimate strength, is worshipped during this occasion. Navratri is observed four times in a year, at the onset of four seasons. Thus, there are Chaitra Navratri, Ashada Navratri, Sharad Navratri and Paush/Magha Navratri. Among these, the Chaitra Navratri in the Vasantaritu (season of spring) and the Sharad Navratri in the Sharadritu (season of autumn) are important and are celebrated with fervor.
All these Navratri festivals are dedicated to Goddess Durga. The different manifestations of the Goddess are worshipped on these occasions. Theoretically, the nine forms of Durga are worshipped, namely Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Kaalratri, Katyayani, Mahagauri, and Siddhidhatri.The reasons for observing Navratri and its celebrations vary with various parts of the Indian cultural sphere.
What is Chaitra Navratri?
Chaitra Navratri is the first Navratri festival in the Hindu calendar. Also, the Hindu New Year begins with Chaitra Navratri. This festival is observed from the Pratipada (the first lunar phase after the new moon) of Shukla Paksha (waxing phase) in Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar. Chaitra Navratri is also known as the Vasanta Navratri, as it marks the beginning of Vasantaritu or spring season. This is a grand nine-day festival dedicated to Goddess Durga. It is believed that worshipping Mother Goddess during Chaitra Navratri can help get salvation and seek her blessings. In the Gregorian calendar, this festival falls in the month of March or April.Chaitra Navratri is more popular in North India, where it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The new year festivals of various regional Indian calendars are celebrated under different names. Thus, Chaitra Navratri begins with the Gudi Padwa festival in Maharashtra and Goa, Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, and Navreh in Kashmir. For the Hindus in Indonesia, it is celebrated as Nyepi. Apart from these, Chaitra Navratri celebrations coincide with Ram Navami. Lord Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was born on Navami (ninth lunar day) in the Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month. So Ram Navami, the birthday of Lord Ram, usually falls on the ninth day of the Chaitra Navratri festival. For this reason, Chaitra Navratri is sometimes called Rama Navratri.
Chaitra Navratri Celebrations
Chaitra Navratri, like all other Navratri festivals, signifies the victory of good over evil. The Hindus celebrate Chaitra Navratri by observing fasts and worshipping the nine forms of the Goddess Durga. Most of the customs and rituals followed during Sharad Navratri in the month of September or October are also followed during Chaitra Navratri. The nine days of Chaitra Navratri are dedicated to the nine different forms of Goddess Shakti. The Ghatasthapana Puja Vidhi is the same as that of Sharad Navratri. The Shakta Hindu tradition recommends the recitation of Durga’s legends during the Chaitra Navaratri. Installing the Kalash and lighting a monolithic flame for nine days with a regular recitation of Durga Saptashati is still followed. The ninth day coincides with Ram Navami. So, the commemoration of Ram’s birth preceded by nine days of Ramayana recital can be seen on Vaishnava temples.
When is Chaitra Navratri 2021?
The Chaitra Navratri 2021 Dates and Chaitra Navratri Pujas are as follows.Day 1:13 April 2021 (Tuesday), Pratipada- Ghatasthapana, Chandra Darshana Shailaputri PujaDay 2:14 April 2021(Wednesday), Dwitiya- SindharaDooj, Brahmacharini PujaDay 3:15 April 2021 (Thursday), Tritiya- Gauri Puja, SaubhagyaTeejChandraghanta PujaDay 4:16 April 2021 (Friday) Chaturthi- Kushmanda Puja, Vinayaka ChaturthiDay 5:17 April 2021 (Saturday), Panchami- Naag Puja, Lakshmi Panchami Skandamata PujaDay 6:18 April 2021 (Sunday), Sasthi- Skanda Sashti, Yamuna ChhathKatyayani PujaDay 7:19 April 2021 (Monday), Saptami- Maha Saptami, Kalaratri PujaDay 8:20 April 2021 (Tuesday), Asthami- Durga Ashtami, Mahagauri Puja Annapurna Ashtami, Sandhi PujaDay 9:21 April 2021 (Wednesday), Navami- Rama NavamiDay 10:22 April 2021 (Thursday), Dashami- Navratri Parana
Chaitra Navratri Kalash Sthapana Puja
Kalash Sthapana Puja is an important ritual of Chaitra Navratri. People prefer to do this at their homes and workplace. There is a perfect way to install the Kalash on the first day of Navratri, as follows.
On the day of installing Kalash, you should wake up early in the morning and take a shower.
Cleaning the idols and the place to install Kalash is the next thing to do.
Make an altar with soil and sow barley seeds on it.
Set the Kalash on the altar and pour water into it.
Make a swastika sign on the Kalash with vermillion paste and tie a holy thread around its neck.
Put betelnut and coin in the Kalash and place mango leaves around the mouth of the Kalash.
Now, take a coconut, tie a holy thread and a red Chunari around it and place it on the top of Kalash, covering its mouth.
Now, the Kalash is ready. You can offer flowers to the deities and worship with devotion.
It is believed that the Kalash Sthapana Puja brings in more health, wealth, and prosperity in your lives.
Chaitra Navratri Vrut
Some devotees observe a strict ‘nirjala’ fast, where the person refrains from even drinking water. Some people observe the ‘phallar’ fast in which they eat only fresh fruits, milk, and water. Generally, during the nine days of the Navratri festival, people do not add onion and garlic to their food. Those who observe fasting prefer to eat some specific food items like Sabudana Vada (Sago Vada), Sabudana Khichadi (Sago Khichadi), Singhare Ka Halwa (Water Chestnut Flour Halwa), Kuttu Ki Poori (Grass Seed Flour or Buckwheat Poori), SinghareKePakore, etc
Legends associated with Chaitra Navratri
The legend of Chaitra Navratri based on Brahma Purana is that Lord Brahma started the creation of the world from Chaitra Pratipada. It is believed that Mother Durga descended on the first day of Chaitra Navratri and Brahma started the creation of the universe at the behest of the Goddess. This is the reason why Chaitra Shukla Pratipada marks the Hindu New Year.Another legend associated is that of Matsya avatar. It is believed that Lord Vishnu took the first incarnation of Matsya and established the earth on the third day of Chaitra Navratri. The next legend is that of Lord Ram’s birth. Lord Ram, another incarnation of Vishnu, was born on Navami or the ninth day of Chaitra Navratri. This day is celebrated as Ram Navami.Also, like Sharada Navratri, some people associate the legend of the slaying of demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga to Chaitra Navratri.
Chaitra Navratri Significances
Navratri is a mix of various cultures and traditions but shares a common meaning, the victory of good over evil. The nine-day festival of Chaitra Navratri signifies this same meaning. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Durga on this occasion showers her blessings, provides inner strength (Shakthi), and fulfills the wishes.The most important significance of is that it marks the beginning of spring, the new season when new flowers and fruits start to blossom. Both Chaitra Navaratri and Sharad Navaratri are celebrated at the time of major seasonal change. So, people are advised to eat light during this time as the body is more susceptible to diseases.
As per Vedic Astrology, it marks the completion of the Sun’s journey through twelve zodiacs and the restart of the next cycle. On this occasion, Sun re-enters into the first rasi Mesa (Aries) to begin the next cycle.
Which are the 4 Navratris?
The four different Navratris in a year are Chaitra Navratri, Ashada Navratri, Sharad Navratri and Magha Navratri. Among these Sharad Navratri, also known as Maha Navratri is most important.The least important Ashada Navratri and Magha Navratri are called as Gupt Navratri.Sharad Navratri is the most significant and most celebrated Navratri festival. It is observed in the lunar month of Ashwin (September–October) and is named after Sharad Ritu (autumn season). In many regions, it falls during or after the autumn harvest. Sharad Navratri or Maha Navratri is dedicated to the nine forms of Maa Shakti – Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika.Chaitra Navratri is the second most celebrated Navratri festival. It is observed in the lunar month of Chaitra (March – April) and is named after Vasanta Ritu (spring season). In many regions, Chaitra Navratri falls during or after the spring harvest. The other two Navratris, AshadaNavratri andMagha Navratri are less observed. Ashada Navratri falls in the lunar month Ashada(June–July) at the start of the monsoon and Magha Navratri falls in the month of Magha (January–February) during the winter season.