Sharad Navaratri is an auspicious and popular festival celebrated across the Indian sub-continent to worship Goddess Durga. ‘Nava’ means nine and ‘Ratri’ means nights, a festival celebrated for nine nights and 10 days. The 10th day is called Dusshera (or dussera or also as Vijayadashami). The festival begins on the first day of Ashwin shukla-paksha (1st day of the bright fortnight of lunar month Ashwin). Every night of the festival a new avatar (or cosmic form) of Durga is worshipped. Devotees fast during the day, offer different pujas, read texts such as Durga Saptashati, Lalitashasranama and others that praise the valor and describe the beauty of the Goddess. In the evening devotees sing bhajans, perform puja, offer specially prepared naivedyams (or bhog or navratri recipes) and then distribute naivedyam among other devotees and friends.
Since I come from the Konkan coast, at all Devi temples anna-dana (distribution of cooked food) is a common feature. Similar to puja celebrations in West Bengal, clay idol of the Devi is worshipped mainly in the form of Sharada (Goddess of Knowledge). In Mangalore, at Kudroli Gokarnanathakshetra (temple) clay idols of all 10 forms of Devi, along with Sharada and Ganesha idols are worshipped for a period of 10 days, and on the 10th night these idols are taken on tableaux across the city with lot of pomp and celebration. The tableaux procession lasts for around 12 hours and the idols return to the temple where one last puja is performed before being immersed in a large temple pond. This celebration has been popular in Mangalore since last 20 – 25 years and is popularly referred to as Mangalore Dussera. Sharada pooja is also very popular at Venkataramana Temples in the konkan region and the most popular among them are in Venkataramana Temples at Mangalore, Karkala, and Udupi. Dussera celebrations in Mysore is so famous that people from all over the world visit the city of Mysore to participate in the festivities.
Most of the times winter break at schools coincide with this festival. Given this convenience family get-togethers are very common. Variety of food and snacks are prepared from breakfast to dinner, and everyone has a gala time. The delicacies prepared are usually first offered as bhog to the Goddess and therefore the menu is planned in accordance to its importance to the festival. I have put together a list of main Deities for each day, the main ingredient used in each day’s bhog and its importance according to scriptures. Along with the list you can also find list of recipes from my blog that you may prepare during the festival. Hope you all have a great time this Navaratri with your family and friends!
Importance or Significance of Navratri 9 Days :
Goddess Shailputri (daughter of the mountain) is the deity of worship on the first day of Navaratri. By offering ghee or bhog prepared in ghee, devotees are believed to be blessed with good health.
The ascetic Maa Brahmacharini is worshiped on the second day of Navratri. Just like her pure white saree, she is pleased with bhog prepared in white sugar and blesses devotees family with longevity.
Maa Chandraghanta is worshiped on the third day of this auspicious festival. Chandraghanta mean half-moon shaped like a bell – Maa is believed to adorn a half-moon as jewel in her forehead. Devotees of Maa Chandraghanta are absolved of all sins & mental stress and filled with courage. On this day offer naivedyam prepared using milk.
Maa Kushmanda is the Goddess of health, wealth and strength, and is the deity of worship on the fourth day of Navaratra. Devotees can seek her divine blessings by offering malpua as bhog.
On fifth day of navratra, Skandmata – meaning the mother of Skanda, is worshiped by offering delicacies prepared using bananas. She blesses her devotees with salvation and prosperity.
Daughter of Katyayana i.e., Maa Katyayani is worshiped on sixth day of navaratri. Devotees who offer honey or naivedyam prepared with honey are blessed with good looks.
Goddess Kaalratri or Kalaratri is the fiercest form of Navadurga. Devotees who offer Jaggery or bhog prepared using jaggery are blessed with confidence, and can get rid of all negative energies.
On the eight day of navratri, also called as ashtami or durgaashtami Maa Mahagauri is worshiped. Devotees can seek her blessings by offering coconut or bhog prepared using coconut. Goddess blesses devotees with health and prosperity and fulfills all thier wishes.
On the ninth day Mata Siddhidatri blesses devotees with extraordinary powers. Bhogs prepared using til or sesame seeds are known to please the Goddess.
In South India, many devotees read Lalitasahasranama during Navratri. The verses in this text reveal that Goddess Durga (Lalita) can be pleased by offering rice based dishes on each day of Navratri. I have given below 9 rice dishes , no onion no garlic that I offer as prasadam or bhog to goddess lakshmi.
To check out the recipe click on the image or link below each image. I hope these list is helpful for all my readers. Once again I wish you all a very happy and prosperous Navratri (Dussera)
Navratri Recipes / Navaratri Recipes
Apple Sheera / Pudding by Kushi from Cook with Kushi
Importance of Navratri and Recipes for 9 Days. Click on the image or link below each image to get full recipe