Navratri is a festival of Hindus celebrated with great devotion, enthusiasm and fervor all over India. In this festival God is adored as a Mother.
Navratri specifically means "Nine nights" (Nav = Nine, Ratri = Nights) devoted to the Goddess Maa Durga who exists in many forms and is the symbol of the absolute energy that prevails in the universe.
During this nine day celebration it is the time to put all routine chores aside and prepare for the gala nine day of festivity, popularly known as Navratri.
Navratri is celebrated twice a year. First in the month of Chaitra (March-April) and the second in the month of Ashwani (September-October). The nine days are devoted to the Mother Goddess worshipped in a female form known as Maa Durga or Mata Sherawali. During these nine days of Navratri is the time of worship, dance, singing prayers (Bhajans) and offering your sincere prayers to the Goddess Durga. The first three days of Navratri are devoted to the Goddess Durga (Goddess of Power) ; the next three days to the Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity) and the last three days to the Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge) . On the first day of the Navratri, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room and barley seeds are sown in it.
The rituals of this festival are that the nine days and nine nights of Navratri are totally dedicated to the Mother Goddess and includes observing a fast, japa (chanting of holy mantras in the honor of the Goddess), chanting religious hymes (Bhajans), prayers, meditating and reciting the sacred texts relevant to Maa Durga. During this period most of the Hindus visit different Mata temples and offer their sincere prayers to the Mother Goddess. The main ritual of this festival is placing images of the Goddess in homes and temples and worshipping them. There is a very grand event of offering flowers to the Goddess and singing religious hymes (bhajans) in the honor of the Goddess to please Maa Durga. For eight days the idols of Mata Sherawali are worshipped and then on the ninth day they are immersed in the sea with great fanfare.
On the eighth and ninth day, Yagna (offerings to the holy fire) is performed to honor the divine Mother Goddess Durga and bid her farewell and request her to bless us always. Navratri is thus, a festival of pure happiness and one of the most auspicious occasions for all Hindus.