The full moon day in this month is associated with the star “Aswani”. Hence it is called the month “Aswayuja”. From “Paadyami”(1st day) to “Navami”(9th day), i.e., the first nine days are called “Navarathri”.
Dasara festival is the combination of two festivals:
- Navarathri and
From this month, rainy season ends and winter season begins. In this month, Devi puja(worship) has paramount importance. These nine days, many people eat only once(Upvas). During these nine days, Devi (Goddess) took nine incarnations.
- As Mahamaaya, she helped Lord Vishnu in killing the demons named Madhu and Kaitabha read here for story
- Second avataar is Mahishasura Mardhini (killing the demon called Mahishasura)
- Third one is Maha Saraswathi (Goddess of Education). From her face, Chaamundi took birth, and destroyed the demons Sumbha, Nishumbha and Rakthabeeja
- In her fourth incarnation, she was born to Nanda and Yasoda. When Kamsa wanted to kill her(he lifts her up), she reminds Kamsa that his rival who was going to kill him was growing up in Nanda’s house happily
- In the fifth avataar, her name is Raktadanti
- The sixth one is Saakambhari. Once, when there was a famine upto 100 years, she gave vegetables to the world
- In the seventh avataar, she killed the demon durga and that’s why she is called as Durga
- Eighth one is Maatangi
- In the ninth one, she killed the demon Arun with the help of insects which got her the name “Bhramari”
The Dashami, which is with the Sraavana star must only be called as Vijaya. Even when Sraavana star is not there on that day, the first 48 minutes after the sunset is called as “Victory time” in Puranaas. During that particular time, if Puja(worship) for Goddess is performed, then it is said that there will be no defeat and we can reach our goals easily.
In these nine days, people do Puja to married women and to unmarried girls and do “Homa”s and particular pujas. In Maharashtra and Bengal, “Shakthi” is worshipped. In Bengal, Durga puja will be performed on a large scale. Navarathri puja tells us that victory comes only to good and evil gets destroyed eventually.
In olden days, there has been historical evidence that in Europe, Middle east and in Kaamaroop also, this puja has been performed. Some southern states in India(such as Tamil Nadu), dolls will be on display(it is called “Bommala kolu” or “Golu”) and on the nine days, women and children are invited to get together and sing songs.