Kerala decked up for Navaratri

via published on October 1, 2006

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:With Ayudhapuja (better known as Saraswathi puja in Kerala) just a day away, schools and colleges have closed for Puja holidays.While children are in an upbeat mood, elders could not have asked for more.

Goddess Kali is worshipped in the first three days of the nine-day-long Navaratri festival; Goddess Lakshmi for another three days and Goddess Saraswathi in the last three days. The last three days are called Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadashami.

In Kerala, the last three days of the Navaratri festival are devoted to pujas and `vidyarambham’ (initiation into learning). Books and working/learning implements are kept for puja on the day.

The festival of Navratri (nav = nine and ratri = nights) lasts for 9 days with three days each devoted to worship of Maa Durga, the Goddess of Valor, Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. During the nine days of Navratri, feasting and fasting take precedence over all normal daily activities amongst the Hindus. Evenings give rise to the religious dances in order to worhip Goddess Durga Maa.

The 9 nights festival of Navratri begins on the first day of Ashwina of the bright fortnight. Seeds are sown, sprouting is watched, the planets are consecrated, and on the 8th and 9th days, Goddess Durga, Vijayashtami and Mahanavami are worshipped. The Devi Mahatmya and other texts invoking the Goddess who vanquished demons are cited.

Navarathri, the ten-day festival in honour of Goddess Saraswathy is celebrated across the nation in October-November. The last three days of the festival – Durgashtami, Mahanavami, and Vijayadasami are very auspicious and significant.

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