As all the people who celebrate the festival know that Navratri is the only festival in India that celebrates women in different roles. The festival gives importance to women and their contribution to maintain peace and happiness in the world.
The festival comprises of nine days of fun and frolic, where goddess Durga, goddess Lakshmi and goddess Saraswati are worshipped. During the nine days, there are prayers, fasting, rituals, festivities, offerings, songs, dances and many other activities that help people to come together and offer their prayers to the goddesses and ask for their blessings. Navratri symbolize nine days of goddess Durga who has conquered the evil. The most significant day is the tenth day that is known as Vijaya Dashmi or Dussehra etc. On this day everyone is happy and wears new clothes and lavish dishes are prepared at home as it is the day that celebrates victory over the evil.
India being a vast country provides different ways of celebrating Navratri festival. Basically the rituals are different, although they all worship Durga and her forms. The only thing that differs is what they eat, what they offer and the way the daily pujas are taken place.
This festival is the time of the year when grand celebrations are performed with full vigor. Although it is observed in various parts of India, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra and West Bengal are the states where this festival is observed on such a huge scale that people love to visit any of these places during this time. All the cities in Gujarat offer a visual delight as they are dazzle with all kind of decorations and an ambience that is filled with fun, fun and fun! The most important part is these are the days when devout emotions intermingle with enjoyment and making it a favorite for the people of all ages.
The traditional dance called Garba (clapping of hands) and Dandiya Rass (dance with sticks) dance is performed in circles around the earthen pots or Garbo filled with water, where men and women gather and play with songs that are in praise of the Goddess. Every city in Gujarat comes alive with people gatherings and meeting and serving sweets to each other. Various prominent temples are flocked by people who gather to participate in the festival and witness the celebrations too. Fast is observed strictly and they worship the goddess with devotion. Prayers are held to please the Goddess and people are happy as the Goddess in on the earth for a few days. When fasting is there, can feasting stay away? There are lots of delicacies savored during Navratris, To name a few, there are khakraas, dhoklas, theplas khandvi,, chaat , sabudaana wada, kadi, singhaare ke bafree,and aloo khichdi, Navratna Khichdi, Sev Khamani and Handvo.
In Maharashtra all the Hindu homes are decorated and daily puja is performed and fast is observed for nine days. Mumbai and other places in the state conduct Dandiya Raas where young men and women dance to the tune of the music every day for nine consecutive days. The celebrations are held at various places and people love to dress up in their best to play Dandiya Raas the whole night. New clothes, precious items, gold, land and other significant things are bought during Navratri as it is considered auspicious.
In West Bengal Navratri festival is celebrated as Durga Puja with full joy. It is the most important and popular festival in West Bengal. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm, excitement and fanfare.