/ (nævəˈrɑːtrɪ) /
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an annual Hindu festival celebrated over nine days in September-October. Observed throughout India, it commemorates the slaying of demons by Rama and the goddess Durga; in some places it is dedicated to all female deitiesAlso called: Durga Puja
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Word Origin for Navaratri

from Sanskrit navaratri nine nights
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012


What is Navaratri?

Navaratri (or Navratri) is a major Hindu festival primarily observed in India. It occurs in the fall season.

Observance of Navaratri varies by region. In many places, it specifically commemorates the slaying of a demon by the goddess Durga. In some regions, it is dedicated to all female deities.

It usually lasts nine days, but it can last eight or 10 days, depending on where it falls on the calendar and which days are considered part of the festival.

The word Navaratri (which is Sanskrit for “nine nights”) can also be used in a general way to refer to any festival that takes place over nine nights (there are four such festivals throughout the year—one in each season). Still, the name Navaratri is most commonly used to specifically refer to the fall festival.

When this festival (or a portion of this festival) is primarily observed in honor of Durga, it is also called Durga Puja (which means “Durga worship”). Because it overlaps with Navaratri, the names are sometimes used synonymously.

The day after the ninth day of Navaratri is the holiday known as Dasehra (or Dasahara or Dussehra), which is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Dasehra is sometimes considered part of the Navaratri festival (as its 10th day) and the name Dasehra is also sometimes used to refer to the entire festival.

This is why you’ll sometimes see the terms Navaratri, Dasehra, and Durga Puja used interchangeably, even though each one can mean something more specific.

When is Navaratri?

In 2023, Navaratri takes place October 15–October 24 (or until October 25). In 2024, it will take place from October 3–October 12 (or 13).

Navaratri occurs during the Hindu calendar month of Ashvina. Because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar, the corresponding dates change from year to year.

More information and context on Navaratri

Navaratri is Sanskit for “nine nights,” with nava meaning “nine” and ratri meaning “nights.”

Some Hindus fast during Navatatri, but for many it is primarily a time of celebration, with festivities including dances, costumed performances, and the burning of effigies.

The festival is often based around the celebration of the triumph of good over evil—such as Durga’s victorious battle against the buffalo demon Mahishasura or Rama’s victory over Ravana. This celebration of good over evil is the particular focus of the holiday Dasehra.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Navaratri?

How is Navaratri discussed in real life?

Navaratri involves and overlaps with Durga Puja and Dasehra, and those names are sometimes used to refer to the festival. In India, it is associated with the fall season and for many it is a time for celebration.



Try using Navaratri!

True or False?

Navaratri is observed differently in different regions of India.