Navratri is a nine day-long festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This is the longest Hindu festival celebrated in India. When Navratri word is stricken in the ears, GARBA is the most prompt word followed. Navratri is a festival which is observed all over India and beyond the celebrations, Gujarat have always been the center of attraction for Navratri.
The people of Gujarat comes together for playing Dandiya, shunning all barriers of caste and creed, no matter where they live in the world. The festival is not only for playing garba, all the people worship Goddess AMBA for her victory on demons. In other states of India this particular festival is also referred as DURGA PUJA. This festival is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu calendar month Ashvin, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of September and October.
Practices being done during Navratri in various states:
As method of tradition, fasting for a day, or partially every of the nine days such as by not eating grains or just taking liquid foods, in remembrance of one of nine aspects of Shakti goddess.The prayers are dedicated to a symbolic clay pot called Garbo, as a remembrance of womb of the whole universe as a family. The clay pot is lit with Dias inside, and this is believed to represent the one Atman. This is being done in every houses of Gujarat with a great charm and grace.
After completing puja at home people use to go for playing Garba accompanied by live orchestra. They sing seasonal raga and devotional songs. Females here in Gujarat wear traditional dress called chanyacholi and males wear choini-angdi. 1000s of people are gathered together wearing the traditional stuffs in a big ground and play garba for the whole night with full devotion.
The Navratri is celebrated as the Durga Puja festival here in West Bengal. Durga Puja is the most important annual festival to Bengali Hindus and also a major religious event for eastern and northern India. The occasion is celebrated with thousands of stages called pandals. It is also observed by some eastern Hindus celebrate this as a private, home-based festival too.
The last five days of Navratri are marked as the popular practices during Durga Puja. The festival begins with Mahalaya, a day where Shakta Hindus remember the loved ones who have died, as well the advent of warrior goddess Durga over the demons.After nine nights, on the tenth day, called Vijayadashami, a great procession is held where the clay statues are ceremoniously walked to a river or ocean coast for a solemn goodbye to Durga.
The Navratri celebrations vary across Maharashtra, and the specific rites differ between regions even if they are called the same and dedicated to the same deity the whole state comes together, united for the same. Same as Gujarat, the women in Maharashtra too worship the pot called Garbo for nine days by offering rituals and a garland of flowers, leaves, fruits, dry-fruits, etc. with a naivedya, and water is offered in order to get the seeds sprouted.
Some families also celebrate Kaalipujan on days 1 and 2, Laxmipujan on days 3, 4, 5 and Saraswati puja on days 6, 7, 8, 9 along with Ghatasthapana and yagna.
Hence this is how nation is UNITED by the festival of NAVRATRI.