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When is Navratri 2021? Meaning behind the Hindu festival and fasting rules explained


THE nine-day Navratri festival is one of the most important events in the Hindu calendar.

Here is what you need to know, including what is symbolised by the colours worn on each of the celebration’s days.

 The festival runs for nine days, with a different colour for each day

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The festival runs for nine days, with a different colour for each dayCredit: Reuters

When is Navrati 2021?

The exact dates are determined by the Hindu calendar and change from year to year.

In 2021, Navratri starts on Thursday, October 7, and runs until Friday, October 15.

What is Navratri?

Navratri, literally “nine nights”, is a Hindu celebration in honour of the goddess Durga.

Technically, there are four Navratri every year – one for each season – but it is the 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 re-enactments 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.

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 is 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.
 The annual festival is full of singing and dancing

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The annual festival is full of singing and dancingCredit: EPA

What are the rules of the fast?

The fast is meant to last lasts for the full nine days as a means to show devotion to the goddess Durga as well as to detox and rejuvenate the body.

However, fasting rules differs from person to person.

Some people fast for all nine-days while some only do the first day and last day.

The food and drinks items consumed during the fast are meant to be light, easy to digest and rich in nutrients.

They include:

  • Fruits
  • Certain types of vegetables (including potatoes)
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Plenty of water
Indian news coverage showing the Hindu holiday of Lohri being celebrated in Punjab





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