Legend has it that the Hindu god Lord Shiva had allowed his wife Parvati to visit her parents for nine days around this time. Hindu scriptures also say that the period of Chaitra is when Goddess Durga had killed the buffalo-headed demon Mahisasura. The nine nights of celebrating Shakti, thus came to be known as nava (nine) ratri (nights) or Navratri.
The nine-night long festival falls four times in a year. Even though Sharada Navrarti (September-October) is the one which is celebrated with the most pomp and grandeur, Chaitra Navrarti, which falls between March and April, too is observed in many parts of the country.
The other Navratris celebrated in India are the Magha Navratri and the Ashada Navratri.
Vasant or Chaitra Navratri 2020
The festival is named after the spring season and is observed on the lunar month of Chaitra. In many parts of the country, it is celebrated as the spring festival. This year, Chaitra Navratri falls between 25 March and 2 April.
According to the Hindu mythology, the nine goddesses who are worshipped across the days of the festival are Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, Sidhidatri
People usually fast during this period and perform elaborate pujas at home and offer fruits, milk, flowers and traditional prasads to the deity.
For those fasting, they can eat sabudana khichdi, kuttu ki poori, aalo ka halwa during the festival.
How to celebrate Chaitra Navratri 2020
With the ongoing coronavrius pandemic, it is advised people do not congregate in large numbers thus curbing the spread of the virus.
With many practicing self-isolation and social distancing, those who are fasting should make sure they eat a lot of protein rich food like nuts and fruits during the period of the fast.
Also, one should thoroughly clean whatever fruits and vegetables prior to consumption and sanitise their hands before having any prasad.