The starting of summer and winter
season are two very important junctions of climatic. These two periods
are taken as blessed opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother.
In Sanskrit language the word Navratri exactly means nine nights; Nava
meaning Nine and Ratri means nights. During these nine nights and ten
days, nine forms of Shakti are worshipped. Rishi Markandey that the
first incarnation of Shakti was as Shailputri. Other incarnations of the
Divine Mother are: Brahmchar˝i, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata,
Katyayani, Kalratri, Mahagauri and Siddhidatri in that order.
The festival of Vasanth / Chaitra Navratri (9 nights) begins on the
first day of Ashwani of the bright fortnight. In the Navratri festival
we are worship three days each devoted of Maa Durga, the Goddess of
Valor, Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Maa Saraswati, the Goddess
of Knowledge. During the festival of Navratri (nav = nine and ratri =
nights), feasting and fasting take preference over all normal daily
activities amongst the Hindus. On the 8th and 9th days of Navratri,
Goddess Durga, Vijay ashtami and Maha Navami are worshipped.