What is the Difference between Chaitra and Sharad Navratri?

Navratri the nine days of spirituality, peace and power is celebrated with great pomp and show all over the country. With the name of Navratri the first thing that comes to our mind is the nine days of celebration which is observed in winters. Yes, those nine days of celebration is Navratri, but there are three more Navratris that are celebrated every year. Well, a great observance is for two Navratris only; one is Vasant Navratri and the other one is Sharad Navratri. The Navratri which is celebrated in winter season mostly in the month of September or October is called as Sharad Navratri and the nine days celebration in March or April month is called as Vasant Navratri and also Chaitra Navratri. However, Sharad Navratri is more popular than Vasant Navratri, but both carry the same religious values and sentiments. There are people who only know about Sharad Navratri or the celebration during winters. There is much need to know the difference between the two.

Chaitra Navratri or Vasant Navratri: It is observed in the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu Month of Chaitra which is in between March to April. As it is celebrated in Chaitra month hence called as Chaitra Navratri. As per the Hindu lunar calendar the first day of Navratri is also considered to be the first day of Hindu New Year as per lunar calendar. In Maharashtra the first day of Navratri is celebrated as Gudi Padwa, whereas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir it is celebrated as Navreh.  Mostly northern and western part of India celebrates this Navratri. The main purpose of celebrating Chaitra Navratri is to observe the seasonal change. The ninth day of celebration is Ram Navami which is considered to be the birthday of Lord Rama. Although the celebration is aimed at worshipping Shakti, but the ninth day is dedicated to Lord Rama and Hanuman.

Sharad Navratri: Also known as Maha-Navratri this celebration is observed during the lunar month of Ashvin which is in between September and October month as per Georgian calendar. This Navratri is celebrated with different names and aims all around the country, few celebrate it Durga Pooja whereas as Durgastami in other parts. There are different ways of celebrating the festival but the motto remains the same and it is worshipping Shakti. Durga, Bhadrakali, Jagadamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika are the forms of Maa Durga that are worshipped during the festival. This Navratri is celebrates the slaying of demon Mahisasur by Goddess Durga and the tenth is celebrated as VijayaDashmi. Southern part of India celebrates it in another form with worshipping goddess Laxmi three days and goddess Saraswati on other three days.

Navratri is a very prominent celebration as per Hindu mythology. The nine days of celebration is significant. There are hardly few people who actually know the basic difference between the two days. The celebration is full of elan where people exchange Navratri gifts and goodies with their loved ones. Whether, it’s Chaitra Navratri or Sharad Navratri both are significant.


How Durga Pooja is celebrated in Different Parts of India

durga poojaIndia is a land well known for its colorful traditions and cultures. It is the festivals of India that gives it a global identity. Across the country there are different ways of celebrating the festival. There are several names and stories behind the celebration of this very special festival of India. People fast for nine long days and they enjoy every moment of the festival. Durga Pooja is commonly known as Navratri in northern and western India. The meaning of Navratri is nine nights, as the festival lasts for nine nights and ten days hence the precious nine nights are celebrated with full devotion. There are different ways of celebrating Navratri across India. We are mentioning here four very special Navratri or Durga Pooja celebrations in India.

West Bengal, Bihar, Assam: Here the festival is called as Durga Pooja. The Shakti roop of Maa Durga is worshiped during the nine days. The festival celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahisasur.

Punjab: Punjab observes a great pomp and show of Navratri. Punjabis fast for the first seven days of the Navratri.  Honoring of all the reincarnated forms of goddess is the main inclusion of their pooja.  They spend whole night by singing bhajans for Devi.  On the Astami or the Navami, fasts are broken by inviting nine young girls from the neighborhood, who are honored with gifts including money, food etc. These girls, known as ‘kanjak’, are considered to be representations of the nine different avatars of Maa Shakti.

Gujarat: The western part of Gujarat celebrates the festival with nine days fasting and worshiping Maa Durga. Dandiya and Garba are the main attractions of the festival. In the evening, a garbi, an earthen pot with diyas symbolizing the source of life, is used for the evening arti. Garba and Dandiya dance performed by men and women are followed after arti.

Maharashtra: Navratri festival symbolizes new beginning in Maharashtra. It is considered the best time for buying property or making new business deals. Married women invite their married friends over; they apply haldi and Kumkum on their forehead and exchange Durga Pooja gifts.

Durga Pooja festival brings much vibrancy and enthusiasm in people. Everyone immerse themselves in the love and devotion of goddess Durga the avatar of Shakti. Exchanging Navratri gifts with loved ones is another auspicious tradition of the festival.


Durga Pooja Gift Ideas

durga poojaWinters are around the corner and so as the approaching festival of Navratri. Navratri which is also known as Durga Pooja is one of the very pious festival of Hindus. Navratri is celebrated twice a year and the one celebrated in autumn season is known as ‘Sharad Navratri’ which is observed in the month of October or November.  It is the festive time to worship goddess Durga and her nine avatars. The literal meaning of Navratri is ‘nine nights’. Each and every day of the festival is dedicated for nine different avatars of Devi.

durga pooja2Durga Pooja like any other festival in the country is accepted by a mass. It is though a religion centric festival but there are many instances where people from other religion and beliefs celebrate Navratri with enthusiasm and zest and they even exchange Navratri gifts with their loved ones. If you have a Hindu friend or Hindu employee whom you wish to convey your best wishes for Navratri, but are lacking in gift ideas, then we will provide you few very brilliant Durga Pooja Gift ideas. It is a day to rejoice the supreme power in earth, hence the gift should also be something in relevance to that.

durga pooja3There are many things that could be picked as Durga Pooja gifts. If you wish to stick strictly to the theme of the day then you can opt for spiritual gifts for Navratri. In this series you can go for Durga idol, Durga brass idol, ‘Mata ki Chatar’, Pooja thali, Pooja essentials, Mata ka Shringar items, chunri etc. However it is really not mandatory to present only these items. One can select items beyond this as well describing it in the category of spiritual gifts.

durga pooja2Other thing that is more pleasant for the day is fruits and dry fruits hamper, or you can also classify this category as ‘vrat ka khana’. Navratri is a time to fast. People fast for nine long days in order to complete the rituals of the festival alive. Hence ‘vrat food’ as gift is a rocking idea for Durga Pooja gift. Other than these things, you can also present sweets, as they are all time hits for the festivals. Other than this present Dandiya sticks, Navratri special dresses, items of home decor for the festival etc. You can also send Navratri gifts online to India or anywhere across the globe wherever your loved ones are residing.