Hindus celebrate Navratri festival to worship Hindu Goddess Durga. In Sanskrit Navratri means Nine Nights, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. Navratri is an important major festival and is celebrated with great zeal all over India.
During these 9 nights, 9 forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. After Navratri the 10th day is commonly referred as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra” (also spelled Dasara). Vijaya Dashami day is considered auspicious for initiating the children into writing and reading, which is called Vidyarambham.
Navratri festival corresponds to a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is observed primarily by the ethnic Chinese of Min Nan linguistic group in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and also the Riau Islands called the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.
Navaratri represents a celebration of the Goddess Amba (the Power). Navaratri is celebrated 5 times a year. They are Ashadha Navaratri, Vasanta Navaratri, Sharad Navaratri, and Paush/Magha Navaratri.
Navaratri is celebrated in different ways throughout India. In North India, all three Navaratris are celebrated with much fervor by fasting on all nine days and worshiping the Mother Goddess in her different forms. The Dussehra of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh is particularly famous in the North. Navratri festival in Gujarat is one of the main festivals. Garba is a dance which people perform on all nine nights, after the Durga Pooja, in groups accompanied by live orchestra or devotional songs.
In Western India, particularly in the state of Gujarat and Mumbai, Navratri is celebrated with the famous Garba and Dandiya-Raas dance. Government of Gujarat has been organizing the “Navratri Festival Celebrations” on a regular basis for the 9 days of Navratri Festival in Gujarat. People from all over Gujarat and even abroad come to participate in the 9 days celebrations. It is also popular throughout India and among Indian communities around the world including the UK, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and USA.
In Karnataka, Ayudha Puja, the ninth day of Mysore Dasara, is celebrated with the worship of implements used in daily life such as computers, books, vehicles, or kitchen tools. The effort to see the divine in the tools and objects one uses in daily life is central to this celebration, so it includes all tools that help one earn one’s livelihood. Knowledge workers go for books, pen or computers, farmers go for the plough and other agricultural tools, machinery for industrialists and cars/buses/trucks for the transportation workers—all are decorated with flowers and worshiped on this day invoking God’s blessing for success in coming years. It is believed that any new venture such as starting of business or purchasing of new household items on this day is bound to bring success and prosperity.
In Telangana state people celebrate Bathukamma festival over a period of nine days. It is a kind of navratri celebration.