NAVRATRI marks one of the most important times of the year in the Hindu calendar.
Here’s everything you need to know about the celebration, including what each of the nine colours means.
What is Navratri?
Navratri, literally “nine nights”, is a multi-day Hindu celebration in honour of goddess Durga.
Technically, there are four Navratri every year – one for each season – but it is this autumn festival which is most celebrated.
For many, the story behind the nine-day celebration is to do with a battle between the goddess Durga and the demon Mahishasura, who represents egotism.
Other Hindus instead celebrate the victory of god Rama over the demon king Ravana during this time.
In all cases, the theme of Navratri is a battle between good and evil, with the forces of good triumphing in the end.
Many devotees will fast for the nine days of Navratri, cutting most everyday foods from their diets and eating potatoes and fruit instead.
Meanwhile, celebrations take place throughout the week, including reenactments of the legendary battle between gods and demons.
Crafts and dances are also popular, as well as the creation of statues symbolising important religious figures.
When does Navratri start and end?
The exact dates are determined by the Hindu calendar, so they can change from year to year.
In 2018, Navratri starts on Tuesday, October 9.
It will run until Thursday, October 18.
What do the nine colours mean?
On each day of Navratri, a colour is assigned which participants are expected to wear while celebrating.
Each day and each colour is dedicated to a form of the goddess Durga. Here’s what it all means:
- Day 1: Red. This depicts the form Shailputri, with red representing action and vigour.
- Day 2: Royal blue. This day is dedicated to Brahmacharini, a blissful figure who is filled with calmness and happiness.
- Day 3: Yellow. This colour represents the beauty and grace of the brave and tranquil Chandraghanta.
- Day 4: Green. The fourth day is dedicated to Kushmunda, who created the universe and filled it with vegetation, hence the green colour.
- Day 5: Grey. This colour symbolises Skandmata, the gods’ commander in the war against demons.
- Day 6: Orange. This day is dedicated to Katyayani, a courageous figure who dresses in orange.
- Day 7: White. The seventh day is dedicated to Kalratri, the fiercest form of the goddess who dresses in white, the colour of peace and prayer.
- Day 8: Pink. Denoting hope and a fresh start, pink the colour of Mahagauri, known for her intelligence and calmness.
- Day 9: Sky blue. The final day is all about Siddhidatri, a supernatural healer whose colour represents the beauty of nature.