Sharad Navratri 2023: The air is buzzing with excitement and spirituality as Sharad Navratri, one of India’s most awaited festivals, is just around the corner. This nine-day festival is celebrated with a lot of zeal in various regions, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra. In the eastern parts of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, Durga Puja coincides with this grand celebration, though with some regional twists in rituals. During this festival, also known as Shardiya Navratri or Maha Navratri, devotees pay their respects to Goddess Durga and her nine incarnations, collectively known as ‘Navdurga’. The tenth day is celebrated as ‘Dashmi’. It’s worth noting that there are four Navratris in a year, but Chaitra Navratri and Sharad Navratri are the most widely observed.
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Sharad Navratri 2023 Date and Timings:
This year, Sharad Navratri is set to kick off on October 15, 2023, and will wrap up on October 24, 2023, concluding with Dashmi, according to drikpanchang.com.
Kalash Sthapana, the ceremonial installation of the sacred pot, will take place on October 15, 2023, starting from 11:44 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Sharad Navratri 2023: Significance And Rituals:
Sharad Navratri carries deep spiritual significance, as it’s believed that during these first nine days, Goddess Durga descends to Earth to be with her devotees. Many followers avoid consuming non-vegetarian food and alcohol during this period, symbolising purity and devotion. Some devotees observe ritualistic Navratri fasts or vrat, which involve a strict vegetarian diet. A more intense version, known as nirjala vrat, forbids even a single drop of water throughout the day. However, please note that this level of fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, the elderly, or children.
Navratri isn’t just about fasting; it’s also a time for joyous celebrations. People engage in folk dances and singing, with Gujarat’s famous garba dancing being a highlight. Dressed in traditional attire, friends and families come together to perform these vibrant dances as an offering to the goddess.
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What To Eat During Navratri Fasting?
Navratri fasting comes with its set of dietary guidelines. Grains, cereals, and non-vegetarian foods are avoided, but you have a wide array of other options to choose from – vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and sweets. Pseudo-grains and pseudo-cereals like sabudana (tapioca pearls) and buckwheat are also permitted, making your fasting journey flavoursome and nutritious. Don’t forget to include makhana (fox nuts) in your vrat preparations; they’re a popular ingredient known for their crunch and versatility.
Navratri Fasting: How To Plan Your Fasting Diet
Devotees follow these guidelines to observe a fast during the Navratri festival:
– Skipping traditional Flours, Cereals, and Grains:
Instead of regular flour, opt for kuttu ka atta (buckwheat flour), singhare ka atta (water chestnut flour), and rajgira ka atta (amaranth flour). Replace regular rice with samak ke chawal (barnyard millet), and include foods like sabudana (tapioca) and makhanas (fox nuts) in your meals.
– Replacing Table Salt With Rock Salt:
Rock salt (sendha namak) is a less processed alternative to table salt and is commonly used during fasting. It not only lightens your meals but also offers cooling properties.
– Choosing Specific Cooking Oils:
Regular oils like refined oils are avoided, and seed-based oils like peanut oil and desi ghee for cooking are preferred.
– Incorporating Milk Products:
Milk, cheese, curd, and other dairy-based products are included in the Navratri diet to replenish your energy and nutrient levels.
– Avoiding Onion, Garlic, and Dal:
During fasting, onion, garlic, rice, dal (lentils), and sooji (semolina) are also avoided.
Additionally, alcohol and non-vegetarian foods are strictly off-limits during this sacred period.
Wishing you a joyful and spiritually enriching Sharad Navratri 2023!