The festive season has arrived, and Hindus across India are preparing to celebrate Sharad Navaratri, one of the most important festivals of the year. Sharad Navaratri is a nine-day festival dedicated to Devi Durga. Nine avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped for nine days (and nights), with devotees practising traditional fasts, puja, and other practices. People fast for nine days to seek Goddess Durga's blessings.
Navratri: A Celebration of Goddess Durga
Navratri, a nine-day festival (from Navrohi (The sixth day of Navratri) to Ashwin (The seventh day of Navratri) is a celebration of Goddess Durga. The tradition dates back to the Ramayana when Goddess Durga had killed the demon Rahu and his brother. The war with the demon took place during the nine nights of Navratri, when Devi Durga was away in Heaven on Ashwin night. This story is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana.
It is celebrated with great enthusiasm, fireworks, dance, and music. Navratri marks the marriage of Krishna with Rukmini on the fourth day, which is celebrated as Holi. There are many other fun aspects to Navratri too – some of which are mentioned below.
What is Navratri?
Navratri (நார்த்தன், நார்த்துர்) is the 9th and the 10th day of the fortnight that begins with Ashwin month, which is on the night of Vijayadashami. The festival is celebrated during the autumn and is mainly observed by Hindus. The name Navratri comes from the words ‘nav’ (meaning water, and ‘ratri’ (or ‘ratri’), meaning 9) and ‘ratha’ (meaning chariot), since the 9 avatars of Goddess Durga are worshipped during this period.
How do you worship Goddess Durga?
The ritual for worshiping the goddess is done by reciting verses from the holy book of India, the Vedas. The texts instruct on how to perform a fast and how to offer prayers to the goddess. Devotees observe a fast on the ninth day of Navratri, which is called ‘Navratri’.
Traditional, Healthy and Delicious Recipes
During this season, devotees take a vow of abstinence from non-vegetarian food, meat, etc., to express their love and devotion for Goddess Durga. The celebration begins on the third day of Navratri, when many take the goddess Durga in their arms and walk through the street. Sharad Navaratri is celebrated with grandeur in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, among other states in India. This festival is especially celebrated by men.
This year, devotees will be offered Navratri mithai, an offering of sweets, to the goddess. The festival is celebrated throughout India. During the celebrations, people decorate their homes, decorate their houses with colours and various symbols. Devotees also visit temples and listen to stories related to Devi Durga.
Aloo is a popular soup and is eaten in various forms, like poha, dal-chawal, or potato-veg rolls. Naughty with that onion and hot green chillies? Have you tried Aloo Tandoori? This is a vegetarian version that has potatoes cooked with onions in the tandoor. It is basically a doughy roll with spices mixed into it. It is often eaten with curry, sabji, or malpuas. Aloo kothum – which is usually seen at the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations – is one of the most common Aloo recipes in South India.
Green Onion Biryani
In case you didn't know, this is a fusion of Indian and Asian food. It's a vegetable Biryani with green chilies and green onion. It's a rich vegetarian dish made with vegetables, but it is a good idea to pair it with some rice too.
Chana Dal with Amaranth Rice
1.2kg gram, moong or paddy pulses
1 tbsp tulsi (tonga) leaves
1 cup powdered milk
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp red chilly powder
4 tsp ghee, as needed
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1. Rinse and soak the moong/paddy pulses overnight.
2. Place the soaked pulses in a pressure cooker. Add the tulsi leaves, 1 cup powdered milk, the lemon juice and the red chilly powder.
3. Cover and cook on a medium flame for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the flame and let it rest for 5 minutes.
5. Mix in the chilled powdered milk, ghee and chopped cilantro.
6. Serve hot.
It's hard to find a rich, hearty, healthy recipe for Navratri, and Kitchari is the best Navratri dish you can prepare. Kitchari is a delicious rice and lentil dish, prepared in a special way.
Here is a recipe of Kitchari that you can try this Navratri. Take a look.
500 grams of white rice
4 cups of boiling water
200 grams of lentils
1/4 teaspoon of asafoetida
1 teaspoon of curry leaves
1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
3 to 4 green chillies
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
10 to 12 curry leaves
1 teaspoon of jeera powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1. Bring the water and rice to boil.
2. Add lentils and simmer for about 10 minutes.