Vasant Navratri, also known as Vasant Navratras, begins on March 23, 2012. This festival of nine nights in Hinduism is dedicated to Goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is also known as Chaitra Navratras or Spring Navratri or Basant Navratri. As this Navratra coincides with Ram Navami, it also referred as Ram Navratri. The dates are from March 23, 2012 to April 1, 2012.
Vasant Navratri is observed in the Hindu month of Chaitra (March – April). It is believed that Goddess Durga was originally worshipped (Durga Puja) in the Chaitra month and was also referred as Basanti Puja. It was Lord Ram who changed the period of Durga Puja.
Vasant Navratri 2012 dates
- Ghatsthapana – Navratri Day 1 – March 23, 2012
- Sindhara Dooj, Dwitiya - March 24, 2012
- Gaur Teej, Saubhagya Teej, Tritiya - March 25, 2012
- Varadvinayak Chaturthi - March 26, 2012
- Sri Laxmi Panchami Vrat, Naag Vrat Pujan - March 27, 2012
- Skand Shashthi, Yamuna Jayanti - March 28, 2012
- Sashti - March 29, 2012 (There are two Sashti during this period as per Hindu North India Calendar)
- Mahasaptami Vrat, Chaiti Chath, Vijaya Saptami - March 30, 2012
- Sri Durga Mahaashtami, Annapurna Ashtami - March 31, 2012
- Vasant Navratri ends – Ram Navratri Day 9 – April 1, 2012
Lord Ram wanted to get the blessings of Goddess Durga before beginning the war with Ravana. Therefore he invoked Goddess Durga during Ashwin (October – November). This is why the Durga Puja during October is also known as Akal Bodhon or untimely invocation.
The Vasant or Spring Navratri is widely observed in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal), Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Most Hindu devotees in this part of India undertake Navratri Vrat or fasting. The festival occurs during the beginning of summer season. And it is said that the fasting helps in adapting the body to the changing climate.
Some of the important Temple fairs in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are organized during this period.
Almost all the rituals observed during Navratri (held in October-November) are also observed during Vasant Navrati.
One of the important events in Haryana and Punjab is the worshipping of little girls. These little girls symbolically represent Goddess Durga and are known as ‘kanjaks.’ It is performed on the eight day or the Ashtami day.