The Hindu Festival, Navratri, Nava meaning nine, and Ratri meaning nights, is typically observed in the fall between the months of September and October, although specific dates are determined in accordance to the lunar calendar and can vary each year. In some parts of India, a Navaratri festival is celebrated in the spring as well as the fall (Fuller) and is a nine night, ten day festival, in which the Mother Goddess and her various forms are celebrated each day (HEB). “During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshipped, [and are said to] signify various traits that the goddess influences us with” (Navratri). This festival is observed in most parts of India, particularly in northern India, eastern and western India, although the nine Devis worshipped during this time period depend on the tradition of the region in which the festival is being celebrated (Navratri). Consequently, within each region various styles of the Navratri Festival are practiced and ritualized (Sivananda). However, the central, unifying goal of this observance is to “propitiate Shakti, the Goddess in Her aspect as Power, to bestow upon man all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge, … and all other potent powers” (Sivananda). Navaratri celebrates the defeat of the buffalo-demon Mahisasura/Mahishasura by the Great Goddess, Devi or Shakti. In this myth, Mahisasura had preformed severe penances in order to win the favor of the deity Brahma. In doing so, he was granted the blessing of invincibility against all males (HEB). Viewing women as a non-threat, Mahisasura saw himself as immortal and so began to wreak havoc in the heavens and on earth (HEB). “Mahisasura soon ousted the gods from the heavens and [had begun] to destroy the order of the universe” (Fuller). After humiliating defeats by Mahisasura, the supreme gods, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, decided to pool their powers together to create a being powerful enough to stop Mahisasura, the goddess...
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