The festival of navratri (nav = nine and ratri = nights) lasts for 9 days with three days each devoted to worship of maa durga, the goddess of valor, ma lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and maa saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. During the nine days of navratri, feasting and fasting take precedence over all normal daily activities amongst the hindus. Evenings give rise to the religious dances in order to worhip goddess durga maa.
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, vijayashtami and mahanavami are worshipped. The devi mahatmya and other texts invoking the goddess who vanquished demons are cited.
1st – 3rd day of navratri : On the first day of the navaratras, a small bed of mud is prepared in the puja room and barley seeds are sown on it. These initial days are dedicated to durga maa, the goddess of power and energy.
4th – 6th day of navratri : During these days, lakshmi maa, the goddess of peace and prosperity is worshipped.
7th – 8th day of navratri These final days belong to saraswati maa who is worshipped to acquire the spiritual knowledge. This in turn will free us from all earthly bondage. But on the 8th day of this colourful festival, yagna (holy fire) is performed.
Mahanavami: The festival of navratri culminates in mahanavami. On this day kanya puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of goddess durga are worshiped.