Maha Navami, also called Durga Navami, is the 9th day of the Hindu festival of Navarathri or Durga Puja that is celebrated all over India and by the Indian diaspora spread out all over the world. Maha Navami is the last day of worship just before the festival ends the following day, which is called Vijaya Dashami.
In the states in South India, Maha Navami is also celebrated as Ayudha Puja or Astra Puja.
Holiday dates in 2021
Maha Navami is declared as a public holiday in several states in India. The dates may vary from state to state. The dates for the year 2021 could fall on 14 October.
|Maha Navami||Thursday, 14 October||West Bengal Assam, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Bihar|
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Origin and Mythology
The origin of the festival lies in the legendary battle between the Goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura. This is also symbolic of the battle between good and evil that takes place in the world around us and also in the hearts and minds of human beings everywhere.
Maha Navami is considered to be the day during the long battle between the Goddess and the demon when she fatally wounded him. The following day, the 10th day of the battle, called Vijayadashami, is when the demon was finally vanquished by the Goddess. This is why, during Maha Navami celebrations, the Goddess Durga is worshipped in her avatar of Mahishasuramardhini or ‘'She who killed the Mahishasura’'.
Maha Navami is celebrated across India in most states as part of the 10-day Durga Puja festival, but most notably in the states of West Bengal Assam, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Bihar. On these days, the Goddess is worshipped with great fervour, devotion, and enthusiasm.
Goddess Durga is worshipped along with the Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi. The Gods Ganesha and Karthikeya are also worshipped along with the goddesses. The ‘'Devi Mahatmya’' a chant which details the legends of Goddess Durga are also chanted with great fervour on these days.
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Maha Navami in West Bengal
In West Bengal, Maha Navami is celebrated on the third and final day of the Durga Puja festivities. Maha Navami festivities begin with the ritual bath called the ‘'mahasnan’ and special observances called ‘'shodashopachar puja’'. The dates for the celebration of Maha Navami in West Bengal may differ from that of other states in India.
Large tents called ‘'pandals’' are set up which have beautifully sculpted and decorated statues of the Goddess in her avatar as Mahishasuramardini. People visit these ‘'pandals’ as well as temples, dressed in all their finery, along with their family and friends. Sweets and gifts are distributed among loved ones.
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