Chaitra Navratri 2019 | Chaitra Navratri is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Mahagauri, Durga Ashtami and is celebrated on the eighth day of the festival. Navratri (nine-day) festival started from April 6 and ends on April 14 this year.
Each day of Chaitra Navratri 2019, which in Sanskrit means the celebration of nine nights is dedicated to various incarnations of Goddess Durga believed to descend on earth to be with her devotees during the nine-day-long festival.
Devotees offer flowers, fruits and bhog to the deity with some even opting for a vegetarian satvik diet and forsaking non-vegetarian food, onion and garlic during the festival.
The devotees also abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol.
Durga Ashtami is being celebrated on April 13 (tomorrow) this year and will be followed by Ram Navami (ninth day) of Navratri.
Ram Navami: What is the Significance of Kanya Pujan
The day, dedicated to the worship of Goddess Mahagauri, is marked by people waking up early, bathing and praying to the deity and offering her bhog.
In many states, people also hold the special 'Kanjak' or Kanya Puja (worshipping of girls) by inviting nine girls to their home and washing their feet with water. The hosts put red threads (moli) around their wrists before serving their guests delicious bhog is a mix of fluffy poori, kala chana, halwa and coconut.
Gifts like fancy plates, pencil box and hair clips are also distributed among girls who have not attained puberty and are seen as an embodiment of Goddess Durga in her purest and feminine form. The ritual celebrates the feminine power vested in a girl child. Some families observe the ritual of Kanya Pooja on Navami too.