The festival of Navratri lasts for 9 days of which three days each are dedicated for the worship of Maa Durga, the Goddess of bravery, Maa Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Maa Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge. During the nine-day, Hindu people give more importance to fasting and feasting compared to other normal daily activities. Evening times are utilized for performing religious dances in order to worship Goddess Durga.
1st – 3rd day of Navratri:
On the first day, one portion of the puja room of the house is allocated to prepare a small bed of mud on which barley seeds are sown. At the end of the festival, on the tenth day, when the shoots become few inches in length, they are pulled out and gifted to devotees as god’s blessing. These three initial days are devoted to Goddess Durga, representing power. Other manifestations of Durga, such as Kumari, Parvati and Kali are worshipped on these days. These three aspects of Goddess Durga represent the three classes of womanhood namely child, young girl and matured woman.
4th – 6th day of Navratri:
During this second phase of puja festival, Lakshmi Maa, the Goddess of prosperity is worshipped. On the fifth day, which is Lalita Panchami, all literature available in the house is displayed, and a lamp is lit to invoke Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge.
7th – 8th day of Navratri:
This final phase is dedicated to worship Saraswati Maa to acquire the spiritual knowledge, which will help to free us from all earthly bondage. On the 8th day a holy fire is ignited. Ghee, kheer and sesame seeds are used as the holy offering to Goddess Durga.
The Navratri festival ends on Mahanavami. Kanya Puja is performed on this day, when nine young girls are worshipped, representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Their feet are washed as a reverence to the Goddess and they are gifted with new clothes. This ritual is performed in many parts of the country.