Navratri (‘nav’ means nine and ‘ratri’ means night) is a festival of worship, dance and music extending up to nine nights. It is celebrated from the first day to the ninth day of the Hindu month Ashwin Shukla Paksha (October and November). The triumph of
Goddess Durga over Mahishasur (demon) is memorized on Navratri. Fasting and prayers for a healthy and prosperous life are made on this occasion. 'Devi-sthaapna' is performed in homes and does 'puja-path' for nine days.
Goddess Durga is highly revered in her different forms during these nine days. It is divided into three days each for Durga, Goddess of valor; Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth; and Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge and art. Out of the nine days, Durga,
Bhadrakali, Amba or Jagdamba, Annapurna, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika or handi and Lalita, different incarnations of the goddess is worshiped on each day. On Laitha Panchami (fifth day) Saraswati is invoked by traditional rituals of gathering books and lighting lamps. Eighth and ninth day is used to conjure Divine Mother by performing Yagna (sacrifice offered to the fire).
The idols of Goddess Durga intricately decorated and worshipped for nine days in ‘pandals’ is immersed into ponds or rivers, on the tenth day. The tenth day is also celebrated as Vijayadashami, day of Victory over evils.
Dussehra is another festival celebrated on the tenth day signifying the victory of Lord Ram over the demon Ravana.