Sharad Navratri is a nine-day Hindu festival celebrated annually in the month of Ashvin or Ashwayuja, according to the Hindu calendar. It is celebrated in honour of the Goddess Durga and her nine forms. It is believed that the Goddess Durga descends to the earth during this period to protect her devotees from evil forces.
The first day of Sharad Navratri is known as Pratipada or Ghatasthapana. On this day, devotees perform a special puja to invoke the blessings of Goddess Durga. The puja is performed in the early morning and involves the installation of an earthen pot called Kalash. This is filled with water and covered with mango leaves and a coconut is placed on top of it. The Kalash is then decorated with flowers, vermillion, and a diya. This symbolizes the presence of the Goddess in the home.
Devotees also perform the Maha Gauri Puja on the first day of Sharad Navratri. This ritual is dedicated to Goddess Gauri, who is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Durga. This puja involves offering flowers, incense, and fruits to the Goddess.
The first day of Sharad Navratri is also a day of fasting. Devotees abstain from eating grains and other non-vegetarian food items. They also observe a strict fast and meditate on the divine power of Goddess Durga.
The festival of Sharad Navratri is a time for celebration and devotion. On the first day of the festival, devotees offer prayers to the Goddess Durga and seek her blessings for peace and prosperity. The festival also reminds us of the power of the divine feminine and the importance of respecting and honoring women in our lives.