One can feel the drums beating as the beautiful sound resonates in the air, with the advent of Goddess Durga on Earth. To celebrate her return to Earth along with her children, Saraswati, Ganesh, Kartik and Laxmi, ‘Navratri is observed year in the season of Autumn. Navratri in Sanskrit means ‘nine nights’ and each day is celebrated to mark Goddess Durga’s nine forms or avatars. The country rejoices with much cheer and joy and pandals are constructed in various parts of the country. People overseas also celebrate this auspicious festival to spread the message that good always prevails over evil. The nine forms of Durga or ‘Nava Durga’ are offered special food and prayers. We have listed down the nine forms of Durga and the special food that is offered to them each day.
Day 1: Goddess Shailputri
The first form of Goddess Durga is Goddess Shailputri who adorns a Trishul and a lotus in her hand and is also seen riding a bull called Nandi. Devotees offer pure desi ghee to the first form of Durga on the first day.
Day 2: Goddess Brahmacharini
The second day marks Durga’s second avatar, Goddess Brahmacharini. This monastic goddess is a symbol of penance, renunciation and nobility. She is served a bhog of sugar and fruits on the second day.
Day 3: Goddess Chandraghanta
The third manifestation of Durga is Goddess Chandraghanta who is a fierce, 10-armed Goddess with anger in her veins. She is served kheer or sweets made from milk.
Day 4: Goddess Kushmanda
Goddess Kushmanda is worshipped because she is known to create the universe or ‘cosmic egg’ with her energy and warmth. People observe a fast on this day and offer Malpua as bhog .
Day 5: Goddess Skandmata
Goddess Skandmata is the fifth avatar of Durga and the day is known as Panchami. She is depicted as a four-armed deity with a lotus in one hand and a Kamandalu and a bell in another. This calm and serene Goddess is offered bananas as a sign of good health.
Day 6: Goddess Katyayani
Worshipped on the sixth day or Shashti, Goddess Katyayani blesses a sweet life to the people and is a symbol of true devotion. She is served honey as a prasad that signifies sweetness.
Day 7: Goddess Kaalratri
On Saptami or the seventh day, Goddess Kaalratri is worshipped is known to bestow her true devotees with protection from evil spirits and powers. She served jaggery as prasad on the day.
Day 8: Goddess Mahagauri
Goddess Mahagauri is the deity who rides on a bull or a white elephant and is a symbol of deep penance and perseverance. She is offered coconut as bhog on the eighth day that also signifies life.
Day 9: Goddess Siddhidatri
Goddess Siddhidhatri is worshipped on the ninth day or ‘Navami’ and her form of Shakti signifies knowledge, wisdom and accomplishment. Her name also signifies perfection. Goddess Siddhidhatri is served til or sesame seeds as prasad.