Navratri literally means "nine nights." Navratri is celebrated twice a year, once at the beginning of the New Samvatsar (Hindu New year) in Summers and again at the onset of winter. Navratri or Navratra are therefore known as Chaitra Navratra and Shaardey Navratra on the basis of their occurrence. These nights are devoted to the reverence of Goddess Durga (Maa Durga) who exists in many forms and is the manifestation of the absolute energy that pervades the Universe. During these days and nights prayers are offered to Mother Goddess.To celebrate a good harvest and to propitiate the nine planets, women also plant nine different kinds of food grain seeds in small containers during these nine days and then offer the young saplings to the goddess.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, Vijay-ashtami and Mahanavami are worshipped.
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