The Navratri festival started on Wednesday 10 October 2018 and ends on Thursday 18 October this year. Navratri is a nine-night festival that ends with Dussehra, or Vijayadashami, which celebrates the victory of good over evil.
During Navratri, the Goddess Durga, or the mother goddess, is worshipped in each of her nine forms, with each day having a different ritual associated with it. People will dress in a different colour each day of Navratri, which is decided based on what day of the week the festival starts and then it follows a fixed cycle.
The 10 days of Navratri: what colour you should wear each day and why
Day 1: Pratipada (10 October 2018)
The day Navratri begins is marked by the ritual Ghatasthapana which is performed to invoke the energy of the Goddess Durga. The goddess is worshipped on this day as Shailputri is an incarnation of the Goddess Parvati, her name meaning ‘Daughter of the Mountain’ which represents nature and purity. As Navratri starts on a Wednesday this year the colour to wear for this day is royal blue.
Day 2: Dwitiya (11 October 2018)
The goddess is worshipped as Brahmacharini who is the unmarried form of the Goddess Parvati. She undertook great penance to get Lord Shiva to marry her and she is associated with pious strictness. The colour for this day is yellow.
Day 3: Tritiya (12 October 2018)
On this day the goddess is worshipped as the married form of Goddess Parvati: Chandraghanta. The name is derived from the half-moon on her forehead, which looks like a bell. The colour for this day is green.
Day 4: Chaturthi (13 October 2018)
The goddess is worshipped as Kushmanda, who lived inside the sun and is believed to have created the universe, giving it light and energy. The colour to wear on this day is grey.
Day 5: Panchami (14 October 2018)
The goddess is worshipped on this day in the form Skandamta the mother of Kartikey. The colour is orange.
Day 6: Shasthi (15 October 2018)
The goddess is worshipped as Katyayani, which is the form of Goddess Parvati that morphs into to fight and destroy the buffalo demon Mahishasura and this day represents the warrior form of the goddess. The colour to be worn is white.
Day 7: Saptami (16 October 2018)
The goddess is worshipped in the Kalaratri form or the dark night. She is the form of the goddess that is fierce and represents the protection from all troubles, and the colour for this day is red.
Day 8: Ashtami (17 October 2018)
The form of the goddess worshipped on this day of Navratri is Mahagauri which is the younger version of Shailputri who had fair and perfect complexion. She represents beauty, grace and the cleansing of sins. The colour to wear to worship this day is sky blue.
Day 9: Navami (18 October 2018)
Goddess Durga is worshipped as Siddhidatri who embodies all eight siddhis – the supernatural powers. She granted Lord Shiva the powers when he worshipped her and it is believed that she will also bestow them onto her devotees. The colour people wear for this day is pink.
Dussehra: Day 10 (19 October 2018)
The victory of good over evil. On the final day of Navratri people wear any bright and colourful clothing. Navratri is celebrated differently in different regions, for example, in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra people wear different colours of the dress on each day. In South India, the Goddess Durga is worshipped for the first three days of Navratri, followed by Goddess Lakshmi for the next three days and ending with Goddess Saraswati on the final three days of Navratri.
In Western India, the festival is celebrated with nine nights of dancing – the traditional dances of Gujarat (garba and dandiya raas) are performed in circles with dancers dressed in colourful clothes.
Huge effigies of the demon Ravan are burned on Dussehra as according to Hindu mythology in the Ramayana, at the beginning of Navratri, Rama prayed to the Goddess Durga to grant him the power to slay Ravan. Over the course of Navratri people worship by fasting in the mornings, and in the evenings there is feasting and dancing.