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Celebrate Diversity: Navaratri

September 26

Celebrate Diversity: Navaratri celebrates the Feminine Divine

A nine-night festival during the Hindu month of Ashwin, Navaratri is a celebration of the Feminine Divine. It is celebrated every year in the autumn. It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian cultural sphere. However, in practice, it is the post-monsoon autumn festival called Sharada Navaratri that is the most observed in the honor of the divine feminine Devi (Durga). Celebrations include worshipping nine goddesses in nine days.

  • Day 1 Shailaputri— The first night of Navaratri is dedicated to Shailaputri, the daughter of Hemavana, who is the king of the Himalayas. Seen as the “mother of nature,” she is depicted riding a bull and holding a lotus flower (representing devotion) in one hand and a trident (representing past, present, and future) in the other.
  • Day 2 Brahmacharini— The second night is dedicated to Brahmacharini, whose name means “one who practices austerity.” Said to bestow success and victory, she holds prayer beads in her right hand and a water pot in her left, representing the practice of penance in pursuit of an auspicious goal.
  • Day 3 Chandraghanta— The third night is dedicated to Chandraghanta, who’s named for the half-moon shaped like a bell on her forehead, which is described as her third eye. With ten hands holding various weapons, Chandraghanta rides a tiger, establishing justice and bestowing strength and courage to devotees.
  • Day 4 Kushmanda— The fourth night is dedicated to Kushmanda, whose name means “creator of the universe.” Usually depicted with eight arms, she rides a lion and is known for bringing energy and light to the world.
  • Day 5 Skandamata— The fifth night is dedicated to Skandamata, who’s named for being the mother of Kartikeya, a deity of yoga and spiritual advancement who’s also popularly known as the “god of war.” Seated on a lotus, emphasizing her divine nature, she has four arms and carries an infant Kartikeya on her lap.
  • Dya 6 Katyayani— The sixth night is dedicated to Katyayani, who is known as one of Durga’s fiercest forms. With wild hair, and depicted with up to 18 arms, all holding weapons, she dispels darkness and evil, bestowing peace among her devotees.
  • Day 7 Kalaratri— The seventh night is dedicated to Kalaratri, who is also known as Shubankari, which means “doing good” in Sanskrit, as she provides both fearlessness and auspicious results to her devotees. Dark-complexioned, with four arms and disheveled hair, she is also among Durga’s most menacing forms.
  • Day 8 Mahagauri — The eighth night is dedicated to Mahagauri, whose name means “extremely white.” Wearing white, she is a symbol of tranquility and serenity, alleviating the suffering of her devotees.
  • Day 9 Siddhidatri— The last night is dedicated to Siddhidatri, whose name means “giver of supernatural powers.” Seated on a lotus flower, she instills devotion into the hearts of devotees, granting them happiness and wisdom.

Stage decorations, recital of the legend, enacting of the story, and chanting of the scriptures of Hinduism, and the public celebration of classical and folk dances of Hindu culture are the different ways of celebrating festivals. Hindu devotees often celebrate Navaratri by fasting.

Though Navaratri is a deeply spiritual festival, specifically about honoring the Feminine Divine, everyone and anyone can participate in whatever capacity best suits them. Navaratri is about inviting and engaging all of the public in honoring the fiery protective and soft-hearted energy of the Divine. It is also about encouraging everyone to realize this energy is within all of us, and that the world is greatly benefited by us becoming more aware of and appreciative of it.

Read more about the cultural significance of Navartri Here

Check out our Navartri displays at cafeteria locations Sept. 23-27!

See other upcoming diversity, equity and inclusion events.

 If you have any questions or require accommodation for a disability to participate, please email diversity@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

Details

Date:
September 26
Event Category:

Organizer

Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Phone:
717-531-1012
Email:
diversity@pennstatehealth.psu.edu
View Organizer Website

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