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The name Navratri relates to Nava (meaning nine) and ratri meaning nights. So it means Nine Nights.
In this festival we dance and celebrate the power of woman who is Goddess Durga. She is known as the Goddess of Power.
During these nine days the different forms of Maa Durga are celebrated.
1-3 days Ma Durga – the Goddess of Power & Energy
On the first day of the Navaratri, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room of the house and barley seeds are sown on it. On the tenth day, the shoots are about 3 - 5 inches in length. After the puja, these seedlings are pulled out and given to all at home as a blessing from god. Ma Durga’s different forms such as Kumari, Parvati and Kali are all worshipped during these days. They represent the three different classes of womanhood that include the child (Kumari), the young girl (Parvati) and the mature woman (Kali).
4-6 days Ma Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth
During these days, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped. On the fifth day which is known as Lalita Panchami, it is traditional, to gather and display all literature available in the house, light a lamp or 'diya' to invoke Saraswati Maa, the Goddess of knowledge and art.
7-9 days Ma Saraswati – the Goddess of knowledge
These final days belong to Saraswati Maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna (holy fire) is performed. Ghee (clarified butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa.
9th Day of Navratri is known as Mahanavami
The festival of Navratri culminates in Mahanavami. On this day Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered food which includes black gram (kale chane), puri, halwa, coconut, and a gift (which is optional).